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Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

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Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

The new home construction industry is well-positioned to play a significant role in the post-COVID-19 recovery in the GTA, Ontario and Canada, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

“Working with our colleagues at the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations, we have put together a roadmap for simple changes that will have a great impact to the economy,” says David Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD.

The CHBA, OHBA and BILD submitted a 20-point plan to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee to help kick-start the Canadian economy post pandemic.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Canada, Ontario, and the GTA, the groups say. Millions of people lost their jobs and the economy has all but ground to a halt. As governments at all levels start to look at recovery, they will need to focus on the GTA, as the region is the engine of Canada’s economy, accounting for 20 per cent of Canada’s and 50 per cent of Ontario’s GDP.

The residential and commercial building and development industry, and the professional renovations industry, are major contributors to economic activity in the region. Collectively, they employ more than 360,000 people in the GTA, paying $22 billion in wages and generating $42 billion in investment value annually.

Unlock investments

“With all levels of government facing financial challenges and funding requests, we are providing ideas that will unlock consumer and industry construction investments that will kick-start the economy,” says Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the OHBA.

Proposed measures include transferring mortgage tenancy to the date of occupancy for new condominiums, eliminating security deposits for Ontario Land Transfer Tax on affiliated transfers and freezing municipal increases to Property Tax Reassessment and development charges.

Another proposed recommendation is to free up monies that would otherwise be stuck in such things as municipal agreements (refundable deposits paid by developers) and replace them with surety bonds, freeing up billions in potential investments that otherwise would have been parked.

Stimulate growth

“To help stimulate economic growth and keep Canadians properly housed, we will need to foster housing supply while also ensuring demand-side measures are adjusted to reflect the times,” says Kevin Lee, CEO, CHBA. “Accordingly, we recommend 30-year amortizations for insured mortgages, and adjusting the mortgage stress test for both insured and uninsured mortgages. Removing the GST on new homes purchased for 2020 and 2021 would also be a timely catalyst for new home construction.”

RELATED READING

GTA homebuilders upbeat about post-COVID-19 recovery

Municipalities and building industry working together now to ensure housing essential after COVID-19

 

 

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GTA new home market understandably slow in April

GTA new home market understandably slow in April

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GTA new home market understandably slow in April

The GTA new home market saw record low new home sales numbers in April, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

It was the lowest April for total new home sales, as well as single-family and condominium unit sales, since Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence, started tracking in 2000.

“As we expected, the April new home sales numbers reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the GTA economy,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “The good news is, the residential and commercial building and development industry, along with the professional renovations industry, is positioned to play a significant role in the recovery of our region and Ontario. In the coming weeks, we’ll be putting forward recommendations for all three levels of government that can accelerate the healing of our economy.”

A total of 771 new homes was sold in April, down 80 per cent from April 2019 and 78 per cent below the 10-year average. Single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), accounted for 301 new home sales, down 62 per cent from last April and 79 per cent below the 10-year average.

Sales of new condominium suites, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, at 470 units sold, were down 85 per cent from April 2019 and 78 per cent below the 10-year average.

“The plunge in new home sales in April came as both builders and potential buyers stepped back from the heated activity of the first quarter, adjusting to the new reality ushered in by COVID-19,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “Most planned new project launches were put on hold, sales programs for existing projects moved to virtual or by-appointment-only models, and short-term homebuying plans were disrupted by employment uncertainty, as well as the challenges of stay-at-home routines.”

Benchmark prices for both new condominium apartments and new single-family homes increased slightly in April, compared to the previous month. The benchmark price for new condo units was $984,369, up 29.8 per cent over the last 12 months. The benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1.11 million, down 0.2 per cent over the last 12 months.


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Top honours at 2020 BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

Top honours at 2020 BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

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Top honours at 2020 BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) handed out their annual Renovation and Custom Home Awards to the GTA’s top renovators and custom home builders by video conference on April 8th.

Created by BILD in 1999, the Renovation and Custom Home awards recognize professional renovators and custom home builders for their innovation, quality of work, customer service and industry leadership.

BILD received a record 117 submissions for 25 categories that included Best Overall Space, Best Overall Renovation, Best Overall Custom Home, Custom Home Builder of the Year and the coveted Renovator of the Year award. All submissions were evaluated by 28 industry professionals who served as volunteer judges.

This year, the Renovator of the Year award went to Eurodale Design + Build for their commitment to customer service and their contribution to the overall image of the renovation industry. Eurodale Design + Build also won Best Innovative Renovation.

“Eurodale customers were impressed with the renovator’s quality workmanship and professionalism,” says Dave Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD. “True to the RenoMark brand, Eurodale clients were provided with a warranty for the work done and clients felt that the renovator went out of their way to deliver an outstanding project with excellent service and followup.”

The award for Custom Home Builder of the Year went to Luxor Home Corporation. Luxor Homes’ clients felt that the builder went above and beyond to provide great quality of work and outstanding customer service. Luxor Home Corporation also won Best Custom Home Kitchen.

Profile Custom Homes won the Best Overall Custom Home award for their project in Mississauga. The design and flow of the home blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living areas. The modern design is softened by the use of wood and the integration of views of nature from every room of the home. They also won Best Custom Home over $2 million, Best Custom Home Washroom, and Best Renovation (No addition) over $500,000.

Best Overall Renovation went to Carmelin Design + Build. Carmelin Design also won Best Condominium Renovation under $200,000, and Best Renovation (No addition) under $250,000.

Both of these award-winning projects utilize high-contrast colour features in the kitchen, while softening the floor through the continuous use of hardwood floors throughout the home. The integration of large windows, which are expertly orientated in the design, maximizes the infiltration of sunlight throughout the home.

Lifestyles by Barons Inc. won Best Overall Space Renovation. This beautifully constructed whole home renovation is a testament to Lifestyles by Barons’ attention to detail and listening to the desires of their client. The integration of the soft-coloured stone and tile throughout the home provides an ambience of strength, while relaxing and easing the homeowner’s state of mind. Lifestyles by Barons Inc. also won Best Basement Renovation over $125,000, and Best Washroom Renovation.

“This year’s winners exemplify the quality, innovation, creativity and integrity that homeowners can expect when working with professional RenoMark renovators and custom builders,” says Wilkes.

All award winners are members of the national RenoMark program, which connects homeowners with professional renovators who have agreed to abide by a renovation-specific code of conduct. Contact information for all RenoMark renovators is accessible on renomark.ca. A complete list of winners can be found in the latest blog on the RenoMark website as well.

BILD would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists.

A complete list of winners can be found in the blog section of renomark.ca.


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BILD report April 20 issue

New-home building and renovation industry acts to protect workers, customers

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New-home building and renovation industry acts to protect workers, customers

In times like these, people’s health and well-being are of the utmost importance. This extends to workers in Ontario’s new-home building and renovation industry and to our industry’s customers. For many residents of the GTA, this is a period of heightened anxiety and concern, so I want to take the opportunity to let readers know how our industry is striving to be part of the solution.

BILD report April 20 issue

I have been in regular contact with our members to understand what actions they are taking and to co-ordinate responses with provincial and municipal authorities. Without fail, BILD members are taking action to help meet community needs and respond to the health crisis, guided by the best information available, that is, information from the public health authorities in the municipali- ties and regions where they operate.

Individual company actions may vary based on their own unique situations. Companies are enabling work where possible. Many are opening sales centres by appointment only, or closing them entirely for now. They are taking steps to ensure increased hygiene, sanitation and cleaning for locations that remain operational.

Working diligently

We all know that the current situation is not normal and that as we all work to address and overcome this global pandemic, there will be impacts. Global supply chains, movement of goods and productivity are all affected. Our industry is working diligently to ensure that we continue to fulfil our responsibilities to our customers. We also recognize that eventually the effects of the current situation will extend to the delivery of new homes and completion of renovations, as well as any warranty work that might be required under builder warranties and Ontario’s New Home Warranties program.

In this regard, Tarion, Ontario’s body for consumer protection and administration of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and regulations, has recently issued an advisory for home builders and new-home buyers on what to expect during the COVID-19 situation. This material can be accessed at tarion.com. It provides solid guidance, but should not replace direct dialogue with your builder.

The GTA’s new-home building industry, professional renovators and land developers are doing their best to continue to meet the housing needs of residents, while at the same time doing their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. At times like these, we must all pull together by working collaboratively and taking care of each other. That is our industry’s commitment to our colleagues, our customers and each other.

h_mar20_industry_report_1

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

bild.ca

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BILD February new home stats

GTA new home sales strong in February

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GTA new home sales strong in February

In what might be the last surge for a while, GTA new home sales were exceptionally strong in February, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

BILD February new home stats

There were 4,665 total new home sales in February 2020, which was up 211 per cent from February 2019 and 57 per cent above the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. It was the highest number of new homes sold in February since 2002 and the third highest in the past 40 years.

Single-family surge

It was also the strongest February since 2004 for sales of new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses). With 2,247 new single-family homes sold, sales were up 228 per cent from last February and 44 per cent above the 10-year average.

Sales of new condominium apartments, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, at 2,418 units sold, were up 197 per cent from February 2019 and 48 per cent above the 10-year average. It was the second strongest February of the past 40 years for new condominium apartment sales, after the record high of February 2017.

February new home sales by municipality

February 2020

Condominium units

Single-family homes

Total

Region

2020

2019

2018

2020

2019

2018

2020

2019

2018

Durham

89

21

4

489

97

49

578

118

53

Halton

227

22

46

380

275

113

607

297

159

Peel

545

127

103

289

193

35

834

320

138

Toronto

1,300

587

1,050

10

4

6

1,310

591

1,056

York

257

57

641

1,079

117

55

1,336

174

696

GTA

2,418

814

1,844

2,247

686

258

4,665

1,500

2,102

 Source: Altus Group

“Following on a month of strong new home sales in February, our industry and our customers are facing a time of challenges and uncertainty due to COVID-19,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “We are working diligently to coordinate responses with provincial and municipal authorities, protect workers and customers and ensure that we continue to fulfil our responsibilities to new-home buyers. One of those responsibilities is building enough homes to top up depleted inventory and ensure our region’s new home supply keeps up with demand.”

Pent-up demand

“Prior to the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 situation, the new-home sector in the GTA was on track for a strong sales performance in 2020,” adds Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “Low mortgage rates were triggering the release of pent-up demand that had been building on the back of strong employment and population growth, which helped boost February sales.”

In February, the benchmark price for new condo units was $961,268, which was up 21.3 per cent over the last 12 months, and the benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1.09 million, down 2.2 per cent over the last 12 months.

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GTA resale sales see drastic drop in March due to COVID-19

GTA home price growth to hit 10 per cent this year: TRREB

Get ready for a hot market in the GTA this spring

 

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Local Focus - Toronto

Toronto – in demand and on the rise

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Toronto – in demand and on the rise

Largely considered the pinnacle of the condo boom we’re seeing these days, Toronto still does boast some good lowrise home options. Supply and pricing of those homes, however, is another matter.

That’s what happens when you combine a strong economy and rising population with limited new and resale home supply.

Indeed, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) is forecasting at least 10-per-cent price growth in the GTA this year to $900,000, up from $819,319 in 2019. And on the new home side, 2020 began on a strong note, with 2,106 total new home sales in January, up 65 per cent from January 2019 and 14 per cent above the 10-year average, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). The benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1.09 million.

Booming economy

“Toronto’s booming economy has brought with it housing affordability challenges that will continue throughout the next decade,” says Frank Clayton, senior research fellow, Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research & Land Development.

“Both the provincial and municipal governments must support a massive increase in the supply of all types of housing and tenures as priority number one and quickly transform the land use planning system to make this happen.”

Long considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world, Toronto boasts a collection of distinct communities, including East York, North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke.

Some of these areas, in fact, now represent areas of growth for new lowrise housing, given that larger master-planned communities of single-detached homes are fewer and farther between. Much of the focus now is on the socalled missing middle, those smaller developments such as townhomes that represent a real opportunity for new ground-oriented homes in the city.

Culture and entertainment

Find a way to buy and live in Toronto, however, and you likely will love it.

Toronto offers a vast array of culture and entertainment options, from the National Ballet of Canada, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum and more.

For the sporting sort, Toronto has a handful of pro sports teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts – and is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is an annual event celebrating the film industry and attracts many movie stars and a-list players. And the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, formerly known as Caribana, attracts more than one million people every summer.

Other points of interest include the Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Science Centre, Harbourfront, Fort York, the Distillery District, Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower and the Canadian National Exhibition.

And of course, as a large metropolitan city, great shopping areas include the St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, the Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens and Yorkdale Mall.

Though a subject of some debate due to the challenges with keeping up with all the growth, transit and highway infrastructure is undergoing major expansion all over the city. The TTC moves almost two million people throughout the city every day on subway, buses, streetcars and LRT lines, while GO Transit links Toronto with the surrounding regions of the GTA. Highways include the 400 series (401, 403, 404, 407 and 427), the Don Valley Parkway and the Queen Elizabeth Highway.

Location, location, location

This provincial capital of Ontario and the most populated city in Canada is located on the shores of Lake Ontario; Population 2,954,024

Key landmarks

  • CN Tower
  • High Park
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Ripley’s Aquarium
  • Toronto Eaton Centre

Select housing developments

East Station by Mattamy Homes

Fairfield Towns by Plaza

Lake & Town by Menkes

Origins of Don Mills by Mattamy Homes

Terraces at Eglinton by Nascent Developments

The Belmont Residences by Caliber Homes

The New Lawrence Heights by Context Dev. Inc.

The New Lawrence Heights by Metropia

Twelve on the Ravine by Geranium


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Successful renovation

At the crest of the busy renovation season, here is a guide to planning a successful one

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At the crest of the busy renovation season, here is a guide to planning a successful one

Photography: Courtesy of Alair Homes

Spring is a great time to turn your attention to begin that renovation you’ve been putting off. If you are planning an upgrade or renovation, you are in good company. Based on Statistics Canada’s Canadian Housing Survey (2018), over one million Canadian homes are in need of major repair.

Renovations and repairs may include a smaller job, like a bathroom refresh or finishing a basement, to meet changing life needs, or maybe it’s something more substantial. Regardless of the project, understanding the process and planning is a key factor in achieving the results you want.

Articulate your wish list

Your first step should be to develop a very clear vision of what is required. Take time to articulate what goals you want to achieve with your renovation and develop a clear description of what you want to change. Write down your priorities and items that you’d like to have if your budget allows. Make sure everyone in your home participates in the discussion so you have a complete picture of what is needed.

Pick a pro

Then it’s time to find a professional renovator that will guide you through the process. The good ones get booked up months in advance, so it is in your best interest to start this process early. You will be putting a lot of trust in this person, so look for a renovator that is a member of BILD’s RenoMark program. This means that they have committed to the RenoMark code of conduct and BILD’s code of ethics. To find a RenoMark renovator, visit the website.

For most people price is an important consideration when choosing a renovator, but it’s important to note that you often get what you pay for. Make sure to consider the renovator’s experience, construction schedule and references. You should verify that the renovator has the appropriate licences, WSIB coverage and insurance. Take the time to check three references to get a good understanding of how the company operates.

Outline budget & potential permits required

Once you have selected your professional renovator, he or she may bring in a designer or architect, and together you will work through your project outline and create plans and specifications. This will help determine the budget estimate and any building permits and approvals you will need. In some municipalities, obtaining building permits and approvals can take many weeks and even months. This is another reason to start the process early.

Get it in writing

When you are comfortable with the preliminary design, budget and timetable, you’re ready to draw up a written contract with your renovator. The contract sets out the precise scope of the work, the price, a schedule of payments, a reasonable timetable for completing the work, product-specific details and a warranty clause. The contract should be reviewed by a lawyer. A RenoMark renovator will provide a contract for all projects. Remember good contracts provide protection to both parties in the event of a dispute or problem.

For more information about the nuances of planning a renovation, BILD has recently compiled a new Reno Guide to assist homeowners through the process. The Reno Guide is published with the support of the City of Toronto Environment & Energy Division and can be found on the BetterHomesTo website.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta, or visit bildgta.ca.


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The numbers don’t lie

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The numbers don’t lie

Now is the time to fix the housing supply problem in the GTA

Every month, BILD reports on new home sales in the GTA. This data is collected and compiled by the Altus Group and provides us with important information on how many new homes were sold, the average asking price and the remaining number of new homes in builders’ inventory. It is an important tool that gives those involved in housing, real estate and development real time insight on how government housing regulations, fiscal policy, economic conditions and consumer confidence influence the housing market in the region.

BILD recently released the 2019 year end new homes sales data, showing that GTA new home sales rallied from the 22-year low of 2018. Overall in 2019, there were 36,471 new homes sold in the GTA. Only 24,855 new homes had been sold the previous year, which made 2018 the year with the lowest number of new home sales in the GTA since 1996.

There were 26,948 condominium apartments, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, sold in 2019, up 27 per cent from 2018 and 16 per cent above the 10-year average. Singlefamily homes, including detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), accounted for 9,523 new home sales, up 157 per cent from 2018 (the lowest year for new singlefamily home sales since comprehensive tracking started in 1981), but still 30 per cent below the 10-year average.

So what do these numbers mean? At first glance, it looks like new home sales were solid for 2019, but that was not the case. That’s what happens when the market recovers from the 22-year low of the previous year and new home sales remain 30 per cent below the 10-year average. What we saw in 2019 was a release of pent up demand from 2018.

We need to keep our focus on increasing housing supply, making sure that there’s a solid inventory base to ensure that housing prices remain stable. Consumer demand has not diminished; in fact, as the region continues to grow, we can be sure it will remain robust and we must make housing more affordable for the average person living in the GTA by eliminating barriers and build homes faster. We have to accept that demand will continue to increase, and both the building industry, municipal governments, and the provincial government must work together to keep all types of housing (rental and ownership) within reach.

On average, it takes 10 years to build a typical highrise project and 11 years to complete a lowrise project in the GTA. New homes must be built faster. Layers of bureaucracy, outdated zoning, and complex policies and procedures have created barriers to the efficient operation of the housing market that have resulted in a generational shortfall of housing. These obstacles have delayed the development of new homes, and have contributed to the increase in housing costs experienced over the past decade.

In addition, demand for new housing has increased as the Greater Toronto Area has become one of the most desirable places to live. The GTA is the fastest growing region in North America, with an estimated 115,000 new residents arriving every year. The population of the GTA is set to grow by 40 per cent, or an estimated 9.7 million people, by 2041; that timeline is not far away.

In May, 2019, the Ontario government announced the Housing Supply Action Plan, representing the first major step by any provincial government to address the supply challenges facing the housing market and their effects on affordability. The proposed changes also acknowledge the cumulative effect that taxes, fees and charges have on housing affordability. Land transfer taxes, HST, parkland fees and development charges collectively add $124,000 to the cost of an average new condo in the GTA, and $222,000 to the cost of an average new singlefamily home.

This is not a time for small plans. The numbers don’t lie. This year, all levels of government and our industry must continue to work together so we can fix the housing supply problem in the GTA.

Dave Wilkes is president and CEO of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), and can be found on: Twitter.com/BILDGTA Facebook.com/BILDGTA YouTube.com/BILDGTA and BILD’s official online blog: BILDBlogs.ca

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Now is the time to fix the housing supply problem in the GTA

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Now is the time to fix the housing supply problem in the GTA

Every month, BILD reports on new home sales in the GTA. This data is collected and compiled by the Altus Group and provides us with important information on how many new homes were sold, the average asking price and the remaining number of new homes in builders’ inventory. It is an important tool that gives those involved in housing, real estate and development real time insight on how government housing regulations, fiscal policy, economic conditions and consumer confidence influence the housing market in the region.

BILD recently released the 2019 year end new homes sales data, showing that GTA new home sales rallied from the 22-year low of 2018. Overall in 2019, there were 36,471 new homes sold in the GTA. Only 24,855 new homes had been sold the previous year, which made 2018 the year with the lowest number of new home sales in the GTA since 1996.

There were 26,948 condominium apartments, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, sold in 2019, up 27 per cent from 2018 and 16 per cent above the 10- year average. Single-family homes, including detached, linked, and semidetached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), accounted for 9,523 new home sales, up 157 per cent from 2018 (the lowest year for new single-family home sales since comprehensive tracking started in 1981), but still 30 per cent below the 10-year average.

So what do these numbers mean? At first glance, it looks like new home sales were solid for 2019, but that was not the case. That’s what happens when the market recovers from the 22-year low of the previous year and new home sales remain 30 per cent below the 10-year average. What we saw in 2019 was a release of pent up demand from 2018. We need to keep our focus on increasing housing supply, making sure that there’s a solid inventory base to ensure that housing prices remain stable. Consumer demand has not diminished; in fact, as the region continues to grow we can be sure it will remain robust and we must make housing more affordable for the average person living in the GTA by eliminating barriers and build homes faster. We have to accept that demand will continue to increase, and both the building industry, municipal governments, and the provincial government must work together to keep all types of housing (rental and ownership) within reach.

On average, it takes 10 years to build a typical highrise project and 11 years to complete a lowrise project in the GTA. New homes must be built faster. Layers of bureaucracy, outdated zoning, and complex policies and procedures have created barriers to the efficient operation of the housing market that have resulted in a generational shortfall of housing. These obstacles have delayed the development of new homes, and have contributed to the increase in housing costs experienced over the past decade.

In addition, demand for new housing has increased as the Greater Toronto Area has become one of the most desirable places to live. The GTA is the fastest growing region in North America, with an estimated 115,000 new residents arriving every year. The population of the GTA is set to grow by 40 per cent, or an estimated 9.7 million people, by 2041; that timeline is not far away.

In May, 2019, the Ontario government announced the Housing Supply Action Plan, representing the first major step by any provincial government to address the supply challenges facing the housing market and their effects on affordability. The proposed changes also acknowledge the cumulative effect that taxes, fees and charges have on housing affordability. Land transfer taxes, HST, parkland fees and development charges collectively add $124,000 to the cost of an average new condo in the GTA, and $222,000 to the cost of an average new single- family home.

This is not a time for small plans. The numbers don’t lie. This year, all levels of government and our industry must continue to work together so we can fix the housing supply problem in the GTA.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

bildgta.ca

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The Power Seat – building industry CEOs call for government change

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The Power Seat – building industry CEOs call for government change

The Power Seat is a new feature series in which we put one pointed question to a select, specific audience.

We asked CEO level executives among the homebuilding community:

“You have been invited to a meeting with representatives of municipal, provincial and federal governments, and it’s your turn to speak. What do you say to them?”

linebreak

This year is one of continual growth, which presents the opportunity to respond to the current and future challenges Ontarians face. All levels of government project an increase in Ontario’s population of 2.6 million #homebelievers by 2031. Change is where need meets opportunity.
We need more housing supply and choice across Ontario, and that means housing can be a cornerstone solution to climate change, the employment skills gap and the economy. Instead of viewing growth as a problem, let’s view it as the change opportunity for the type of future, communities and neighbourhoods that Ontarians want to call home.

Joe Vaccaro
CEO, Ontario Home Builders’ Association

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All three levels of government need to work collaboratively, rather than in silos, and with one agenda, rather than competing ones. With a housing affordability and supply problem impacting the GTA, we need solutions-oriented collaboration.
We need to make it simpler to bring new homes to market by streamlining the process, faster to build new homes by reducing approval times, and fairer by making sure fees and taxes are equitable

Dave Wilkes
President and CEO, BILD

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Help us do our job to create new housing. We have a shortage of housing because of the lack of supply. Don’t look at new housing as a golden goose that you can keep laying on more and more municipal charges. Right now, about 24 per cent of the cost of all new housing is going to some level of government in the form of taxes, levies, charges and fees.

Gary Switzer
Chief Executive Officer MOD Developments, Toronto

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The three levels of government, as well as builders and developers, may all have different constituencies, but our objectives are remarkably similar.

Affordable housing works for all of us. Good planning works for all of us. Good design works for all of us. Building Green buildings works for all of us. Governments working together with developers works for all of us and can help facilitate all of this.

At The Rose Corporation, we accomplished exactly this, working with York Region, the Town of Newmarket and the federal government (CMHC). Together, we are now building a sustainable, complete and better overall community for having worked in close consultation with each other.

Daniel Berholz
President, The Rose Corporation

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The largest issue surrounds climate change, GHG emissions and resilience in new housing. Over the next decade, these may be some of the biggest changes our industry will face. Our building code is about to be changed to begin steering the industry towards net-zero homes.

Government needs to support the R&D side of the construction industry so that new and better products can be developed. Net-zero homes are achievable. There are a number of builders that have already constructed a discovery home and are looking at the ability to market this in a production capacity. Although from a technical perspective this is achievable, it will come at a significant cost. Net-zero homes will not be cheap.

The bigger question, then, is, will such initiatives be affordable? This is what governments will have to balance. When they regulate such a high minimum standard, our industry will be forced to meet the requirements. This is where R&D pays back. We need materials and products that are approved and available at the best price points possible to adopt into our building program.

Government should keep a close eye on the timing for mandating high standards of construction, and be mindful that affordability must be a top priority in the implementation.

Johnathan Schickedanz
General Manager, FarSight Homes, President, Durham Region Home Builders’ Association

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Housing affordability is one of the most important issues facing Canadians today. TREB remains diligent, along with other real estate boards and associations across Canada, in urging all levels of government to remove barriers and reduce the cost of homeownership.

With all levels of government in Canada, plus reputable international bodies acknowledging that we have a housing supply problem, and specifically the affordability pressures facing the GTA, it’s imperative for the growth of our city and region that we have flexible housing market policies that will help sustain balanced market conditions over the long term.

The time is now and policymakers need to translate their acknowledgment of supply issues into concrete solutions in 2020 to bring a greater array of ownership and rental housing online. As always, TREB will be there to help policymakers have the right impact on the market and Canadians.

John DiMichele
CEO, Toronto Real Estate Board

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The bottom line is this: Unless we can shorten the time it takes to bring developments through the approval process and to market faster, demand is going to continue to outstrip supply.

There have been some very positive enhancements the provincial government has put through to try and reduce these timeframes, by reducing red tape and other changes, and we’re grateful for that.

But in many cases the Province and the municipalities do not see eye to eye on how policies should be applied, and this constant fighting continuously thwarts the positive efforts and mires the process.

We have to work together – the politicians, building industry and public – to accept growth, have growth pay for growth, and not for unrelated municipal spending as well. We need to plan to have adequate supply of all types of housing, but especially what is missing in our urban areas today – the two- and three-bedroom midrise condos – the “missing middle.”

 cl_feb2020_the_power_seat_bob_finniganBob Finnigan
Principal and COO of Acquisition & Housing, Herity, Toronto

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It’s vital that all three levels of government work together to address the housing affordability issue by increasing the supply of housing to meet demands of growth in the GTA for decades to come.

Sustained infrastructure growth requires multi-level government support partnering with private enterprise to foster innovation in procurement and delivery and that the planning approval process is streamlined to avoid increased costs which impact housing affordability.

The cities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe need to actually adopt and implement provincial policies on development densities near transport nodes. Ultimately, the homeowners carry the burden of the increased costs from a lack of land supply, approval delays and development charge increases.

Niall Collins
President, Great Gulf Residential, Toronto

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Canadian economists and politicians have spent the better part of the last decade sighing with relief and sharing kudos for having skirted the U.S. housing crisis. Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadians are on a rollercoaster ride, as a result of government intervention and other factors. We’ve experienced record-high housing prices, record-low interest rates, economic downturns, and domestic speculators and foreign investors pushing people out of their homes because they can’t afford to live there anymore. We’ve seen housing inventory drop, and new development hindered by red tape and mounting development fees.

We need to keep up with housing demand to maintain sustainable housing values. It’s a complex issue with many moving parts.

To Mayor John Tory: Eliminate the municipal Land Transfer Tax, or at the very least, cap it. With Toronto’s ever-increasing property values, this tax is prohibitive in an already unaffordable market. The prospect of having to pay double LTT is deterring some move-up buyers from listing their homes, further straining the already low housing supply. How do you intend to stimulate housing market activity?

To Premier Doug Ford: Domestic and foreign immigration to Ontario is critical to a healthy economy, but as you work to continue attracting the biggest and best businesses to the province, where will you house the employees and their families? Housing supply is critically low, with developers stuck behind red tape and buried under development fees, preventing them from building the homes Ontarians so desperately need.

To Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Canada needs a National Housing Strategy that addresses inventory and affordability in our cities. Many Canadians, especially Millennials, new immigrants and those employed in the so-called “gig economy” feel homeownership is becoming less tangible by the day. While politicians of all stripes acknowledge the mounting urgency of affordable housing, few are offering any timely or compelling solutions. Focus on creating supply and affordability in a sustainable way, instead of continuing to support corrective measures that have constrained Canadians from participating in the economically beneficial practice of homeownership.

Christopher Alexander
Executive Vice-President and Regional Director, ReMax of Ontario- Atlantic Canada

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