Tag Archives: Bryan Tuckey

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Industry Report: Ontario Housing Plan Not Slowing Down GTA’s New Home Market

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Industry Report: Ontario Housing Plan Not Slowing Down GTA’s New Home Market

The Province’s Fair Housing Plan is having little real effect on the new housing market in the GTA.

The market continued to climb in June and condominium sales reached another record high and the supply of new housing remains exceptionally low.

Sales of new condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes jumped 59 per cent from May and the price of available units also rose, according to our partners at Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence.

New home sales rose 23 per cent from June 2016. So far this year, 28,889 new homes have been purchased, which is a 14 per cent increase from the same period in 2016 and 44 per cent above the 10-year average.

The Provincial Government introduced the Fair Housing Plan in April, saying it was an effort to help more people find affordable homes, increase supply, protect buyers and renters and bring stability to the real estate market. Since its introduction there has been a slowdown in the region’s resale housing market, but overall prices in the new homes market continue to rise and the supply of new homes — the number of homes available to buyers in builders’ inventories at the end of the month — continues to drop.

The supply of new homes dropped by almost 20 per cent in June to 8,661 as highrise inventory continued to fall and inventory in lowrise single family homes remained very low. In June, 10,820 new homes were available — a dramatic difference from the 18,063 new homes available a year earlier. In June 2007 there were 30,300 new homes available.

Three out of four new construction homes purchased in the GTA so far this year have been condo apartments, highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, and about 91 per cent of the 6,046 new homes sold in June were multi-family condo apartments. June’s sale of 5,495 units surpasses the previous sales record set in March and represents an 89 per cent increase from a year ago and it is more than double the 10-year average of 2,550 units sold.

The average price tag of an available new condo apartment in builder inventories in the GTA was up more than $22,000 from May to June and that’s on the heels of an increase of more $30,000 from April to May. June’s $627,000 average price marked a 34 per cent increase from a year ago. In the same period, the average price per square foot of units has gone from $587 to $742.

For many homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, condo apartments are the only affordable option for owning a home in this region. The price acceleration in the condo portion of the market is especially worrisome since it not only represents the lion’s share of new housing in the GTA, it’s also making it difficult for condos to remain the affordable option.

The ongoing drop in new housing inventory demonstrates how difficult it is for the industry to bring new homes to the market. Barriers include lack of developable land that’s serviced with critical infrastructure, excessive red tape, out-of-date zoning, and NIMBYism. With changes coming to the Ontario Municipal Board it is going to be even more challenging for the industry to bring needed new housing product to the market and the supply situation is likely to get far worse.

The record number of condominium apartment sales in June was the result of a ‘perfect storm’ of factors, Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president of Research Consulting Services, tells us. These factors include the sizeable number of units in new condo projects opened in May and June (over 8,500); demand from end-user buyers who might have preferred a single-family home but have adjusted their expectations due to lack of affordable supply; and heightened investor interest due to the rapid price increases for condo apartments in recent months.

In June, prices of available lowrise single-family homes — which included detached, semi-detached and townhomes — were also up. The average price of new lowrise single-family homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories reached $1,250,262. While this was only a slight increase from May, it was more than a 40 per cent increase from a year ago when the average price was $887,543.

BRYAN TUCKEY is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and is a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments. He can be found on Twitter (twitter.com/bildgta), Facebook (facebook.com/bildgta), and BILD’s official online blog (bildblogs.ca).

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Industry Expert: First Things First

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Industry Expert: First Things First

by Bryan Tuckey

Simplify the building permit process by entrusting your renovation to a professional

Now that you’ve decided to renovate your home, the first step is to do your homework and determine what building permits you might need.

Most construction, renovations, alterations and demolitions require a building permit. For instance, in many municipalities you need a permit for constructing separate rooms in your basement, but you probably don’t need one if you are building a fence, unless it is one that will enclose a pool.

Too often people question the importance of permits and sometimes they are tempted to undertake projects without having required permits in place. However, that is very short-sighted. Permits help protect you, your home and your community by making sure your project is structurally sound and follows all regulations.

Unprofessional renovators may be willing to do work without obtaining permits. Forgoing required permits may seem like a way to speed up your renovation and save money upfront, but it could very likely result in renovation deficiencies and added costs down the road. You could be faced with substantial fines and then having to redo the work. Lack of required permits may affect your home’s insurance coverage and you could also run into problems when you sell your home.

Local municipalities issue permits and application processes, and the rules governing building permits, can vary depending on where you live. Getting a building permit can be a complicated process. It can take several weeks or even months to obtain, and it can be a bit overwhelming, so a good approach is to work with a professional renovator who is experienced with permit applications.

RenoMark professional renovators are very experienced with permits and they will guide you through the process. They will assess your project and explain whether or not a permit is needed and what it will take to get one and they will work on your behalf to acquire them.

A critical step in obtaining your permit is ensuring that your project complies with the Ontario Building Code, municipal zoning and other applicable laws. Working with a professional renovator is the most efficient way to obtain permits. Your renovator is the project manager for your renovation and he/she will bring in the right people such as architects or engineers to get any necessary drawing for the permit application process. Make sure that the costs for additional professional services are discussed upfront and included in your renovation contract.

After you’ve obtained your permit and started construction, your renovator will arrange for all inspections required under the permit.

BILD created the RenoMark program in 2001 to help homeowners distinguish professional renovators from underground contractors. A key feature of the program is the RenoMark Code of Conduct by which all members agree to abide. It mandates that they provide written contracts for all jobs, have at least $2 million in liability insurance and offer a minimum of two years warranty on all work. Find a RenoMark professional at renomark.ca.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association and a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments.

Follow him on Twitter @bildgta, facebook.com/bildgta, and bildblogs.ca.


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Home Builder: Innovative Designs For Small Spaces

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Home Builder: Innovative Designs For Small Spaces

Our industry is constantly innovating and working to offer homebuyers design choices they want and at prices they can afford. To acknowledge the importance of these efforts, BILD last year introduced two special innovative-design awards as part of our annual BILD Awards program.

The Best Innovative Home Design and Best Innovative Suite Design categories distinguish excellence and innovation in suite design and in the design of single-family homes that increase home choices for entry-level consumers. The suite award is open to suites smaller than 750 square feet in midrise and highrise developments, while the home award is for design of detached or semi-detached houses or townhomes that are part of a new development.

Since affordability often comes in smaller spaces, key judging criteria for both categories includes functionality and use of space.

Last year’s winners were the amazing 274-square-foot Smart Studios micro condo unit that is part of a project that Building Capital is developing in Oshawa, and Mason Homes’ ingenious Oakwood plan, part of its Courtyard Collection in Peterborough, which was crafted so that it could be built as either a townhome or semi-detached or detached house.

This year there we again had many creative designs submitted for both categories, and our judges did not have an easy job selecting winners.

The award for Best Innovative Suite Design went to Laurier Homes for its Kingswood unit at Upper Beach Club, a 41-unit six-story midrise building that the company is developing on Kingston Rd. just east of Victoria Park Ave.

Designed by OneSpace Unlimited, the Kingswood is a 705-square-foot, one-bedroom unit that makes the most of every bit of available space. The layout for the corner unit on a compact floor plate is open and airy, with the bedroom off to one side. It has an open kitchenette that has the major appliances neatly dovetailed into a niche created by the structural walls.

One of the unique features of the design is the bank of windows that runs the entire length of the unit and looks out on to the unit’s 480-square-foot private terrace. There are two entrances to the terrace, one from the open concept living/dining room and one from the bedroom.

This year’s winner of the Best Innovative Home Design was Arista Homes’ the Briarwood unit at Boxgrove Village in Markham, a unique offering that features a commercial flex space and two separate living spaces all within one townhouse.

Designed by Hunt Design Associates, the 4,000-square-foot design allows homeowners to have the ability to work where they live. The Briarwood’s commercial space could be used for anything from a hair salon, a dental practice or an office for a lawyer or accountant. Meanwhile, the townhome’s second suite can be used for other family members or caregivers, or it could be utilized as a rental unit. Both openconcept living spaces have two bedrooms and two terraces and the homes come with four parking places.

These are just a few examples of how the building and development industry continues to innovate and help provide affordable options for today’s homebuyers.

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

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Price of new detached homes in the GTA approaching $2 million

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Price of new detached homes in the GTA approaching $2 million

In May, the GTA’s new housing market showed few signs of slowing down, especially the condominium segment, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced Monday.

Sales of new multi-family homes, condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes continued to be strong and the prices for available units increased substantially, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence.

Prices of available homes in the lowrise single-family sector were also up but the pace of increase was not as dramatic as in recent months.

“For the new homes market, the province’s fair housing plan has had little real effect,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “Prices continue to increase and supply, especially for single-family lowrise homes, continues to be low. The price acceleration in the condo portion of the market is especially worrisome since it not only represents the lion’s share of new housing in the GTA, it’s also making it difficult for condos to remain the affordable option.”

About 86 per cent of the 3,902 new homes sold last month were multi-family condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, while only 14 per cent were lowrise single-family homes.

There were 3,357 sales of new condos in May, slightly fewer than a year ago, but 61 per cent above the 10 year average. The 545 sales of new single-family lowrise homes was a 76 per cent drop from last year and 68 per cent off the 10 year average.

This year is proving to be a very strong year for sales of new homes, with record year-to-date sales. Three out of four of the 22,814 new homes purchased in the GTA so far this year were condo apartments.

The average price of available new condo apartments was up more than $30,000 from April. May’s $604,683 average price marked a 33 per cent increase from a year ago. The average available unit was 814 square feet and the average price per square foot was $743. A year ago, the average price per square foot was $573.

In May, the average price of available new lowrise homes was $1,222,699, an increase of about $10,000 from April and a 40 per cent increase from a year ago.

For the first-time, the average asking price for available new townhomes surpassed the million-dollar mark. Available new detached homes reached that milestone only 14 months ago. In May, the average asking price for available detached homes in the GTA was $1,942,316, while the average price for available semi-detached was $919,231 and for townhomes was $1,002,220.

The supply of new homes, the number of homes available to buyers in builders’ inventories at the end of the month, increased modestly in May but it was still far below a healthy level and it was 8,000 units less than a year ago.

At the end of May, there were 10,820 new homes available to buyers in the GTA, of which 9,406 were condo apartments and 1,414 were lowrise single-family homes. Last month there were 9,387 new homes available to buyers and a year ago there were 19,209 available in builders’ inventories. In May 2006, there were 29,754 new homes in builders’ inventories, of which 16,420 were low-rise single-family homes.

“The combination of lower sales, some increase in inventory and slower price growth in May compared to April was the first hint we have had of some hesitation among potential buyers of single-family homes,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of research consulting services. “But in the condominium apartment sector, it was still full steam ahead in May. Sales were steady and prices posted strong increases, meaning the increase in available inventory in May was not due to wavering demand but rather the burst in new condo project openings. Over 4,900 new units were brought to the market, almost twice as many as in the previous month, and many were in projects that launched near month end.”

http://www.bildgta.ca/

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Home Builder: Why It’s High Time For Midrise Developments

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Home Builder: Why It’s High Time For Midrise Developments

The industry has repeatedly asked for more predesignation and pre-zoning of land to encourage more of this type of development. Some people are suggesting the construction of more midrise residences to potentially ease housing supply challenges in the GTA.

Midrise development typically refers to structures up to 11 storeys that can be built in walkable, transit-oriented neighbourhoods. Done well, midrise is people-friendly housing that fits into existing neighbourhoods and doesn’t overpower the lower density that usually surrounds main streets.

In 2010, the city of Toronto released “The Avenues and Midrise Buildings Study,” which called for more growth along arterial corridors known as “The Avenues,” and gentle intensification in the form of midrise buildings that would be compatible with the adjacent neighbourhoods.

While the study itself was admirable, the city has yet to take the necessary actions to enable the development community to readily deliver midrise buildings. The city’s planning department has not taken the critical next steps to update zoning bylaws in support of midrise development. Our industry has repeatedly asked for more pre-designation and pre-zoning of land to encourage more such development, but it has yet to happen.

Despite the challenges, BILD members are finding ways to deliver midrise housing options. According to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market insight, 39 per cent of the new condo apartment projects that were launched in the GTA between 2014 and 2016 were in buildings of nine storeys or less. While 25 per cent of the new condominium apartment buildings in Toronto were under 10 floors, 61 per cent of those were in 905 municipalities.

Many BILD members have been constructing midrise buildings for years. Ronald Herczeg at Insoho Developments, for instance, has made an art of designing midrise buildings. The loft conversion of The Malthouse at the Distillery District, for instance, is one of Insoho’s signature developments. It features 10 unique units that exemplify the building form. Insoho is now selling Imagine, at Kennedy Rd. and St. Clair Ave. E., which features striking contemporary architecture along one of the city’s designated main streets.

As the Altus numbers showed, the industry is building midrise developments across the entire GTA. PACE on Main, by Geranium Corp., is currently under construction in Stouffville and SigNature Communities brought Triumph, a seven-storey midrise in the heart the old village of Schomberg, to the market with great success.

Last year we changed many of the categories in our annual industry awards program, BILD Awards, to better reflect our members’ work in midrise. Among the advances was the introduction of a new category for Best Midrise Building Design.

It was won by the VANDYK Group of Companies for The Craftsman Condominium Residences in Mississauga’s Clarkson Village. The project includes almost 300 homes, in one- to three-bedroom units ranging in size from 602 to and 1,750 square feet.

The finalists in the category this year are all located in Toronto and range from luxury developments to a project featuring a range of housing units, including some priced for firsttime buyers. The winner for 2017 was George Condos + Towns, located in Leslieville on Queen Street East, by the Rockport Group. It is an eight-storey condo with 80 suites and eight towns, priced from $360,000 to $1.2 million, with suites ranging in size for 525 to 2,065 square feet.

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

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Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

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Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

In April, demand for new homes in the GTA continued to outpace supply and prices for all types of available new homes were up significantly, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced May 24, 2017.

There were 4,680 new homes sold in the GTA last month, an increase of 7 per cent from a year ago according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Year-to-date sales of new homes in the GTA have been exceptionally strong. In the first four months of this year, 17,977 new homes were sold, 24 per cent more than during the same period in 2016 and 48 per cent above the 10-year average.

Meanwhile, the supply of new homes, the number of homes available to buyers in builders’ inventories at the end of the month, continued its unabated decline. At the end of April, there were only 9,387 new homes available to buyers across the entire GTA. This is the first time that overall inventory has dropped below 10,000 units since BILD and Altus Group began tracking such data more than a decade ago. A year ago, there were 21,056 new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories.

“Builders are not able to keep up with the demand for new housing,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “The product that builders are able to bring to the market is quickly purchased and prices for all types of new homes keep increasing as a result.”

In April, the average price of available new lowrise single-family homes, which includes detached, semi-detached and townhomes, was $1,212,297. That is 40 per cent more than the average price of such homes in April 2016.

Last month, the average asking price for available new detached homes in the GTA reached $1,810,232, while the average for available semi-detached was $856,036 and for townhomes was $946,496.

Prices of available new multi-family homes, condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, were up nearly 24 per cent from a year ago. The average price of available units hit $570,226 in April, with the average price per square foot at $685, and the average unit size 832 square feet.

Prices of available condo apartments were up due to both an increase in average unit size and a substantial increase in average price per square foot. Average price per square foot was up 17.5 percent from a year ago.

“The declining number of new homes available to purchase is not a question of less product being brought to market,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of Research Consulting Services. “There were more than 11,000 units in projects opened in the first four months of this year – that’s about one-third higher than the average for the previous two years.”

Approximately 70 per cent of the new homes that were purchased in the GTA in April (3,265 units) were multi-family condo apartments in highrise, midrise or stacked townhomes, while 30 per cent (1,415) were new single-family lowrise homes including detached, semi-detached and townhomes.

Single-family lowrise sales were down 39 per cent from a year ago while sales of multi-family condo apartments were up 61 per cent from April 2016.

April New Home Sales by Municipality:

April 2017

Highrise

Lowrise

Total

Region

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

Durham

19

33

16

362

356

441

381

389

457

Halton

129

87

123

84

342

476

213

429

599

Peel

872

170

106

474

908

822

1,346

1,078

928

Toronto

1,621

1,391

1,262

52

119

88

1,673

1,510

1,350

York

624

351

294

443

611

868

1,067

962

1,162

GTA

3,265

2,032

1,801

1,415

2,336

2,695

4,680

4,368

4,496

Source: Altus Group

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Housing Plan Does Little To Address The Real Problems With New Housing Supply

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Housing Plan Does Little To Address The Real Problems With New Housing Supply

While we are glad that the Ontario government has finally taken some action on our housing crisis in the GTA, something we have been urging for many months, it is unfortunate that they are not doing enough to address the underlying causes of our housing supply problems.

The measures announced by the government are largely aimed at addressing the symptoms of our housing problems. They do little to address the underlying issue, which is that not enough new housing and not the right mix of housing is being built to keep up with consumer demand or the housing needs of this region.

The supply of new housing is critical to the overall health of the housing market. The only way you create more homes is to build them and since this is a fast growing region we need to build a lot of them.

On the new housing side of things we track the status of supply by measuring how much inventory there is available at the end of the month. Every month builders bring product to the market for buyers to purchase and they sell some of it. By looking at what is still available at the end of the month for home buyers to purchase we get a very clear indication of how healthy supply is and whether or not we are meeting the needs of the market and supplying buyers with what they want and need.

BILD has been tracking this information consistently for more than 15 years and what we have seen in recent years is a scary drop in inventory with each month bringing a new record low for available supply. Over the past year we have seen supply drop in half. The number of new homes available to buyers in builder inventories dropped from 21,006 at the end of March 2016 to 10,153 homes last month, to according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence.

The ongoing decline in new housing inventory is a direct reflection of how difficult it is for the industry to bring product to the market. The hurdles builders face keep getting higher. There were few tangible measures in the government’s plan to deal with the many systematic barriers currently limiting supply such as the excessive red tape around approvals and getting permits, out-of-date zoning bylaws, and the lack of infrastructure needed to make land developable.

Moreover, the government’s plan does little to deal with or even acknowledge that a critical root cause of our current housing challenges is the disconnect between market demand for low-rise single family homes and the Province’s policies requiring higher density development.

The industry is following the Province’s intensification policy and we are building and selling far fewer low-rise homes, which includes detached, semi-detached and townhomes, than we were a decade ago, but demand for those homes has not dropped.

The available supply of single-family low-rise homes has taken a nosedive since intensification policy was introduced in 2006. There were only 932 new low-rise homes available to buyers in builder inventories at the end of March, whereas a decade ago there were 17,854 available. The scarcity is especially pronounced in the number of single-detached homes. In March 2007 there were 11,802 new detached homes available to buyers in the GTA. Last month there were 233.

March was the biggest month for sales of new condo apartments in the GTA with 4,500 units sold. Until last month, May 2016 held the record for the most condo apartments sales with 3,820 suites sold.

The record number of condominium apartment sales in March was boosted by recent launches of product in prime locations — more than half of March sales were in projects opened in February or March. Demand continues to be fueled by end-user buyers who are shifting their expectations towards more attainable product, as well as by investors whose presence will help ensure a steady stream of new rental housing supply in the years to come.

Nearly 80 per cent of the new homes that were purchased in the GTA in March were condo apartments in high-rise and mid-rise buildings and stacked townhomes. The skyrocketing number of condo apartment sales was a stark contrast to sales for new single family ground-oriented homes. In March there were only 1,175 low-rise homes sold in the GTA, which is down 45 per cent from a year ago and 24 per cent off the 10 year average.

The story the inventory numbers are telling is very clear. Not enough new housing and not the right mix of housing is being built to keep up with consumer demand or our housing needs.

BRYAN TUCKEY is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and is a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments. He can be found on Twitter (twitter.com/bildgta), Facebook (facebook.com/bildgta), and BILD’s official online blog (bildblogs.ca).

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Industry Expert: Best of Both Worlds

Industry Expert: Best of Both Worlds

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Industry Expert: Best of Both Worlds

by Bryan Tuckey

Cost-effective and a clever use of land, new forms of housing are stacking up in the GTA

The GTA land development and home building industry is constantly innovating and looking for ways to meet housing demands and provide consumers with affordable housing options while still complying with provincially mandated Growth Plan density targets.

One way we have risen to the challenge is by introducing gentle density in the form of stacked and back-to-back townhomes. All this while creating unique and liveable communities that feature great architecture and offer lifestyle amenities.

Stacked towns are becoming more popular around the GTA, especially in tight infill lots that are too small for a mid-rise or high-rise building. By stacking one unit on top of another, residents have the advantage of a two-storey house-style layout with the added convenience of a condo. The lower unit typically has outside access in the form of a patio or terrace, while the upper unit usually boasts a balcony or rooftop terrace.

Photo: bigstock.com
Photo: bigstock.com

Back-to-back towns are different than regular row housing as the backs of each home touches the back of the house behind it.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), traditional row housing allows for 14 to 18 units per acre, while stacked townhomes can be built at 26 to 27 units per acre. The higher but still gentle density means it costs developers less to build and they can pass the savings on to the homebuyer. With stacked townhomes the industry is meeting the insatiable demand for ground-related housing at an affordable price point.

Stacked and back-to-back townhomes give consumers a larger selection of home styles to choose from. They are also great places for families to grow together, empty nesters to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle and where first-time buyers can afford something other than a unit in a high-rise condo building.

Innovative townhome developments are taking shape across all corners of the GTA. The town of Stouffville is a case in point. Although Stouffville has traditionally been a community of detached housing, townhouses now account for a large proportion of the housing under development. BILD member Geranium, for example, has been building out their master-planned community of Cardinal Point and recently introduced Vista Flats and Towns. The stacked units offer living space up to 1,300 square feet over two floors with a rooftop terrace. The second level one-storey flats have a spacious balcony, and the first-level flats a patio. Prices for these units started in the mid $400,000s.

While back-to-back row housing is common in England, the concept is relatively new to the GTA. With some innovative rethinking of the Victoria-era housing form, several BILD members have brought back-to-back and stacked townhomes to the market with great success.

Menkes’ Dwell City Towns in Etobicoke, for example, offered back-to-back units of 1,000 square feet to over 1,600 square feet with starting prices from $300,000. The 196 open-concept units—boasting patios and rooftop decks— sold out quickly. At Queen’s Landing in East Gwillimbury, Minto is about to launch the second phase of back-to-back townhomes after phase one sold out in three hours.

These are just a few examples of the many ways our industry is offering innovative options to homebuyers as we try and meet the housing needs of the GTA’s ever-growing population in our highly regulated new home market.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association and a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments.

Follow him on Twitter @bildgta, facebook.com/bildgta, and bildblogs.ca.


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Home Builder – Without The OMB The GTA’s Housing Supply Crisis Would Be Worse

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Home Builder – Without The OMB The GTA’s Housing Supply Crisis Would Be Worse

The provincial government is currently conducting an in-depth review of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the independent arbitration body that provides a public forum for appeals on local land-use planning matters.

The OMB is an important part of the checks and balances that make our land-use planning process, fair, transparent and accountable. It functions in a similar way to other entities that the government has in place to provide checks and balances, such as the Human Rights Tribunal.

While it plays an important role, the OMB is an organization that people love to vilify. With the review underway, some have voiced concerns about how the OMB functions and others have called for its outright disbandment.

Although we believe that an independent appeal body like the OMB is absolutely necessary, there is always room for improvement and we believe there are some valid concerns that need to be discussed. For instance, the OMB could provide planning resources to ratepayer groups to facilitate mediation and settlement. Hiring and training more experienced mediators is another example that would help improve efficiencies and expertise.

Some people mistakenly blame OMB decisions for the intensification that we have experienced across the GTA and most especially in downtown Toronto over the past decade. The reality is that intensification is the result of the provincial policy and the OMB is just doing its job.

The OMB makes decisions based on provincial plans and policy, including the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, using submissions made by experts in land planning and development. The Growth Plan, introduced in 2006, mandates intensification and requires that a significant portion of all development in the GTA occur within existing communities.

Toronto and other parts of the GTA are facing significant pressure to comply with provincially mandated intensification. If municipalities, local politicians or members of the public feel there is too much intensification in the GTA, then the remedy lies with the province and its policies, not with the building industry or the OMB.

Lack of municipal decision making and the absence of council making a timely decision, gives our members no other choice than to go to the OMB. Sometimes municipalities don’t want to make difficult decisions and look to the OMB as their solution.

According to City of Toronto figures, only about 4 per cent of proposed development projects ever end up at the board. The majority that do go never make it to hearing because they are settled through a mediation process where all parties agree to the final outcome.

When there is a hearing, the board makes decisions in the interest of the public based on sound planning principles, not local political pressures. The board provides value to the public good because sometimes local interest is not the public interest.

The OMB is often criticized for siding with developers, yet independent research by a leading University of Toronto expert on public policy found that in fact the OMB most often favoured the expert testimony of municipal planners. Without the OMB we would not have celebrated projects like the Distillery Historic District.

The OMB also provides protection against NIMBYism. “Not-in-mybackyard” sentiments are not new, but they are stronger today because Toronto and the rest of the GTA are intensifying as per provincial policy. One of the few things that can counter the “not in my backyard” reaction to a new development is the OMB appeal process.

Currently, housing demand is outstripping supply and our industry is struggling to meet the needs of our growing population while complying with the density targets set by the province. Without an independent appeals board like the OMB, it would be next to impossible for us to provide the housing this region needs.

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

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Housing supply crisis continues to shatter market records

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Housing supply crisis continues to shatter market records

In March, the GTA’s housing supply challenges resulted in record smashing prices, continued unprecedented inventory scarcity, and a never seen before level of new condo apartments sales, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced last week.
The number of new homes available to buyers continued to drop to unprecedented levels of scarcity. Across the entire GTA there were only 10,153 homes available to buyers in builder inventories, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.
The available builder inventory has dropped by half in just one year. In March 2016, there were 21,006 homes available to buyers.


“The ongoing decline in new housing inventory is a direct reflection of how difficult it is for the industry to bring product to the market,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “The hurdles builders face keeps getting higher.
“There are ongoing major challenges with a lack of serviced and permit ready developable land and out-of-date zoning bylaws. The complexity and time it takes to get the vast numbers of approvals and permits necessary to build have increased dramatically in recent years,” he added.
The available supply of new single-family lowrise homes, which includes detached, semi-detached and townhomes, has taken a nosedive since 2007. There were only 932 new lowrise homes available to buyers in builder inventories at the end of March, whereas a decade ago there were 17,854 available.
The scarcity is especially pronounced in the number of single-family detached homes, which has seen supply drop by 98 per cent in a decade. Last month there were 233 detached homes available for purchase compared to 11,802 in March 2007.
“The inventory numbers are telling us very clearly that not enough new housing, and not the right mix of housing, is being built to keep up with consumer demand or our housing needs,” Tuckey said. “The industry is following the province’s intensification policy and building and selling far fewer lowrise homes than a decade ago, but demand for single-family homes has not dropped.”
The average price for available new lowrise homes was $1,124,600 in March, up more than $40,000 from February and an increase of 32.4 per cent from a year ago. The price for available new detached homes hit $1,783,417 in March, an increase of $716,711 in just one year.
Prices of available condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes were up 14 per cent from a year ago. The average price of units in March was $532,792, with the average price per square foot at $666, and the average unit size 800 square feet.
Last month was the biggest month for sales of new condo apartments in the GTA with 4,500 units sold. Until last month, May 2016 held the record for the most condo apartments sales with 3,820 suites sold.
“The record number of condominium apartment sales in March was boosted by recent launches of product in prime locations – more than half of March sales were in projects opened in February or March,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of research consulting services. “Demand continues to be fuelled by end-user buyers who are shifting their expectations towards more attainable product, as well as by investors whose presence will help ensure a steady stream of new rental housing supply in the years to come”
Nearly 80 per cent of the new homes that were purchased in the GTA in March were condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes. The skyrocketing number of condo apartment sales was a stark contrast to sales for new single-family ground-oriented homes. In March, there were only 1,175 lowrise homes sold in the GTA, which is down 45 per cent from a year ago and 24 per cent off the 10 year average.

http://www.bildgta.ca/

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