Tag Archives: Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD)


Providing homes for hardworking individuals

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Providing homes for hardworking individuals

In hindsight, the signs were there all along: A rapid escalation of land values, the slowing of new development across the Greater Toronto Area, and a rise in community resistance against new development in existing neighbourhoods. This is the legacy of the previous provincial government’s Growth Plan and housing policies in the GTA. Our current challenges around housing supply and affordability are the result.

The new provincial government is looking to make much-needed changes, even as critics raise predictable objections. Never mind that these same critics never supported any development plan nor are likely do to so, and never mind the disheartening prospects confronting those looking for a new home or apartment in the GTA. Nor does it matter to these pundits that the region is growing annually by 115,000 people, all requiring housing, places to work, schools, and commuting infrastructure.

The fact is, despite the critics’ objections, the changes proposed by the government are quite measured and focus on two areas. The first is a housing supply action plan that outlines how we get more homes for rent and purchase built faster. The government is looking at proposals to remove barriers and speed up development, as it currently takes more than 11 years to complete an average lowrise development and 10 years to complete an average high rise development in the GTA.

The government is also looking for proposals on ways to encourage “missing middle housing” – the townhomes and low and midrise apartments that provide gentle density in existing neighbourhoods and can serve as starter homes at a lower price point. Finally, the government is looking for proposals to lower the cost of development by addressing the cost of land and the charges added to new developments. This in turn will positively impact the affordability of new homes.

The second area the government is focusing on is adjusting the Growth Plan, the policy that guides where and how development occurs across the GTA and the Greater Golden Horseshoe. One matter under consideration is adjusting density targets — the number of people and jobs required per hectare — a direct determinant of built form and housing mix. The current government has rightly pointed out that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, and that treating development in communities such as Brantford, Hamilton and Waterloo in a manner similar to Toronto makes no sense. Other proposed changes include giving municipalities some flexibility to develop housing on lands that have previously been designated as employment areas and on small pieces of land that are currently outside their settlement area boundaries, and continuing to encourage density around major transit station areas. If adopted, these changes will give more flexibility to municipalities and will encourage the right types of homes to be built and the right density based on the infrastructure available.

These proposed changes are all about one thing: Providing homes for hardworking individuals and families across a growing region. Our current generational housing challenge has been 14 years in the making, and through these actions the provincial government is making good on its promise of working to increase housing supply in our region while continuing to protect the environment.

DAVE WILKES is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). bild.ca


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Should I renovate or rebuild?

Should you renovate or rebuild?

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Should you renovate or rebuild?

The beginning of spring offers a sense of renewal; I know it does for me. The warmer weather often has many of us thinking of spring cleaning, home improvement or a home renovation. If you are thinking of a renovation, you can choose to renovate your kitchen or bathroom, or be bold and add an addition to your home. Adding square footage not only enhances the enjoyment of your home, but can increase the value of your property.

When you embark on a large renovation project to add more space, you should ask yourself if you require an addition or a complete re-build. There are many things that need to be considered when making this decision, such as your budget, the state of your existing home and regulatory approval processes.

Reasons to do an addition to your existing home

  • If you are only looking to add a little more floor area, you may want to extend the rear of the house to help make your ground floor living area larger. A small and simple addition is a practical way of creating more space.
  • If you want to add a second storey to your bungalow, and the structure can handle the additional load, building a simple vertical addition can avoid costly work like a new foundation.
  • Heritage, conservation or site density regulatory restrictions may mean that it is impossible to tear down your home and build a new one, so therefore your only choice is to renovate the existing structure.

Reasons to demolish and build a new home

  • The structure isn’t strong enough to handle a second floor addition. A lot of older bungalows are built with very little structure on the ground floor. This would include exterior walls that don’t meet today’s building standards. In this case, you would have no choice but to undergo a costly and invasive structural upgrade, or build new.
  • The quality of your existing home may become too costly to repair. When a home has undergone a series of renovations, there may be a number of construction challenges to be dealt with before creating the new envelope. There is the possibility of illegal or non-conforming work that will need to be brought up to current building code requirements. Other considerations are a damp basement, the state of services (water, sanitary, and hydro) to the home, or general quality of existing finishes.
  • The layout of the house you want is dramatically different from the one you currently have. There is a tipping point where the amount of work to create new or different layouts overwhelms the savings of working with an existing one. Working with an existing structure generally means losing the opportunity for higher ceilings or a fresh start on floorplans. It can quickly become more favourable to build a new home.
  • A strong factor in the matrix of evaluators for decision making is location. Aside from the amount of work or time commitment, staying in the same place may feel right for you.

I encourage you to visit renomark.ca and educate yourself on the RenoMark Code of Conduct that gives homeowners peace of mind. RenoMark renovators must abide by the RenoMark Code of Conduct. It requires renovators to offer a minimum two-year warranty on all work, carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance and provide a detailed written contract.

David 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, Facebook, BILD’s official blog.


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In Conversation With Cheryl Shindruk, BILD Chair, & Executive Vice-President, Geranium

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In Conversation With Cheryl Shindruk, BILD Chair, & Executive Vice-President, Geranium

Homebuyers may not realize or appreciate it, but hard at work behind the scenes on their behalf are industry organizations such as the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). In the last few years, given the challenging affordability, supply and policy issues facing the GTA housing market, BILD is not just important but essential to protecting the public interest.

Charged with building on this momentum for the next two years as BILD Chair is Cheryl Shindruk, who also is executive vice-president of land development at homebuilder, Geranium.

HOMES Magazine spoke with Shindruk to get her insights on these and other issues.

HOMES Magazine: You recently spoke at BILD’s Chair’s Dinner, with your topic being “leading change.” How do you, or BILD, plan to lead change in your tenure as Chair?

Cheryl Shindruk: The continued success of BILD, and our reputation as an industry, depends on our commitment to professionalism and excellence. We must be principled and fact-based in our approach; determined to have a voice and communicating our message loud and clear.

One way we can achieve change is to continue to focus on educating the public on the role our industry plays in contributing to the high quality of life this region offers, and the challenges we have delivering housing that people can afford, where and when it is needed.

HM: What were some of the other key messages in your address?

CS: Our advocacy agenda with government achieved some great momentum in 2018. We need to continue our work to help government create a regulatory environment and approvals process that is fair and streamlined, free of duplication, while protecting the public interest, and creates positive conditions that allow our members to build and renovate homes, and places for people to work and play. Collectively, we need to work to restore balance and stability in the housing market.

HM: The industry – through BILD, the OHBA and TREB – has made great strides over the last few years in getting governments to understand the challenges facing builders and developers, and therefore homebuyers. What’s your outlook for these relationships – how do you see things progressing over the next year or so.

CS: I believe in the power of partnership and collaboration with all levels of government, with the financial institutions, sister construction associations, chambers of commerce and BIAs, with our colleagues in the environmental and resource sectors and, with the media. We will continue to strengthen these partnerships as a means to achieving regulatory environment that allows us to meet the housing, commercial and industrial building needs of this region.

HM: Try to look ahead to a year or so from now. What accomplishment would signal your tenure as BILD Chair as a success you would be proud of?

CS: Our organization is poised to take on the challenges of 2019. The staff and board of BILD are highly qualified when it comes to talent, experience and work ethic. Advancing our advocacy agenda with government; further educating homeowners and prospective buyers; and restoring balance and stability in the housing market will signal to me that we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.

BILD Chair
BILD Chair Cheryl Shindruk, centre, with BILD President Dave Wilkes, left, and William Moore, president, Solutions Ink.

HM: Through this interview with HOMES Magazine, you’re also speaking directly to prospective homebuyers – who are growing increasingly concerned about affordability in the GTA. What would you say to them on this and other topics they need to be aware of, to keep their homebuying hopes realistic?

CS: Two things: Educate yourselves on the issues contributing to affordability, and get involved. In conjunction with traditional media channels, the Internet provides an abundance of information about our industry. Be sure to check sources and subscribe to different outlets for a balanced picture.

Ensure that your elected officials understand your concerns and viewpoint, at all levels of government.

We are committed to working with government and stakeholders so that our industry can do its part in delivering an ample supply and mix of housing options, and achieving balance and stability in the housing market. We need a regulatory environment and approvals process that allows this to happen.

HM: How has your work at Geranium prepared you for your position as Chair of BILD?

CS: I have been fortunate to have been able to pursue a career that merges my passions for city planning, community building, business and volunteerism. Since joining Geranium in 2003, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many complex and challenging files, receiving guidance and mentorship from outstanding business partners and Geranium’s principals, who lead by example. I’m inspired by our land development team, and we’ve all embraced a strong commitment to communication, consultation and collaboration. This is what helps me most in my role with Geranium and prepares me for the position of Chair of BILD.

Chair’s Dinner
Shindruk at the podium, delivering her keynote address at the 2019 Chair’s Dinner.

HM: Let’s talk more about Geranium… What’s in store for 2019?

CS: On the sales and marketing side, we will continue to sell and build our design-forward new homes in Aurora, Stouffville, Toronto East and Pickering. With our partners in Friday Harbour, Innisfil, we’re bringing this resort community to fruition on Lake Simcoe. We expect to launch new home communities in Port Perry and Pickering. We’ll also be continuing our planning and development processes on existing land holdings, working with government and agencies to create places which contribute to the diversity of housing styles, employment and lifestyle opportunities, while enhancing the communities we have the privilege of working in.

HM: How do you think your work at BILD will benefit you in your day job at Geranium?

CS: I value the work of BILD, OHBA and CHBA, which is why Geranium is a member. Our President, Boaz Feiner was a two-term BILD board member, and Louie Morizio, senior vice-president of construction, has served on RESCON’s board of directors. Whether through a formal role, or in other ways, Geranium and I will continue to have a voice in our industry.


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Millennials Concerned About Housing

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Millennials Concerned About Housing

Poll shows they lack confidence in the affordability of homes in the GTA

Surveying 1,503 GTA residents on behalf of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), a recent Ipsos poll shows there is great concern among GTA millennials that they will be unable to afford a home in the GTA. However, there is some optimism from this group regarding their views on housing supply for new residents.

GTA residents also expressed a lack of confidence about the likelihood their children will be able to remain in the communities where they grew up.

Here are some key findings from the Ipsos poll:

Interestingly, although millennials are concerned about the ability to own a home, they are also the most optimistic group regarding housing supply, with 41 per cent of them believing that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for the number of new residents that settle here every year. That is substantially higher than those aged 35 to 54 (31 per cent) and those over 55 (27 per cent).

When choosing a new home, 60 per cent of GTA residents say they value a neighbourhood that is walkable and bikeable in addition to being within close proximity to shopping, entertainment and government services. This is closely followed by those who prefer access to convenient transit (56 per cent) and close proximity to work and school (54 per cent).

Nearly 7 out of 10 respondents feel that their children will be unable to afford a home in the community where they grew up. This group of respondents agrees that it is important for young families to be able to afford to live and work within the GTA without having to deal with long commutes.

When asked, “To what extent do you strongly or somewhat agree or disagree with the following”:

  • 92 per cent agree that the dream of homeownership is becoming more difficult to achieve for young people living in their city.
  • 86 per cent agree that it is important that young families can afford to live and work within the GTA without having to commute over an hour to get to work.
  • 39 per cent agree that there are enough homes being built in their city to help keep housing affordable.
  • 33 per cent agree that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for roughly 115,000 new residents that settle here each year.
  • 33 per cent agree that their children (or their friends’ children) will be able to afford a home in my community when they grow up.

The best public policy is proactive, not reactive. We hope these poll results demonstrate that the time for municipal decision makers to start thinking about housing choice and supply for all GTA residents who want to own a home is now.

The results of the poll are accurate to within +/- 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all adults in the GTA been polled.

Garry Bhaura is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.


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Home Realty: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

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Home Realty: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Context is key when seeking to understand the GTA real estate market

If you only pay attention to what is reported in the mainstream media about the GTA real estate market, it’s likely you’ll be getting an inaccurate picture of what’s actually happening.

This past March saw a total of 1,960 new home sales across the region, according to Altus Group. Of those sales, 1,649 were condominium apartments in lowrise, midrise and highrise buildings and stacked townhouses. This was down 67 per cent from March 2017, and down 21 per cent from the 10-year GTA average.

In the single-family home market, there were just 311 sales of detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses). This was up from the 265 homes sold in February, but down 77 per cent from March 2017, and down 79 per cent from the 10-year average.

At first glance, this might seem like a drastic drop in sales and the media tends to cite these sorts of figures as evidence that the GTA market could at long last be experiencing a correction.

But context is tremendously important here when it comes to understanding what is really going on.

For example, some of the demand that might have been seen in the early part of this year was brought forward last year, largely in anticipation of new mortgage restrictions. This contributed to a record year for condo apartment sales in 2017, the fourth strongest year for GTA new home sales since Altus Group started tracking the market in 2000.

And it’s likely that the cumulative effects of the government measures to cool the housing market are continuing to keep potential buyers out of the housing market, with many purchasers opting to take a wait-and-see approach. But the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and Altus Group say they expect home sales to be up relative to 2017 in the second half of this year.

While new home sales may have dropped compared to last year — again, 2017 was a record year and somewhat of an anomaly — prices have remained more or less consistent, although in the case of condos, they have been rising significantly.

In March, the benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1,207,832, which was 7.4 per cent above last year, and the benchmark price for new condos rose to $742,801, 39.4 per cent above last March.

But again, context is important here.

It’s primarily the low supply of new housing that is keeping prices high. The supply of both condos and single-family homes dipped in March, with the total new home remaining inventory at 12,457 units (8,756 condos and 3,701 single family homes). This represents about four months of inventory. A healthy new home market would have nine to 12 months of inventory available for sale.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) notes that in order to fix the region’s housing supply problem, it’s essential that we remove barriers to development, including outdated zoning that doesn’t support intensification, government red tape and a lack of critical infrastructure.

New home sales have dipped, but rest assured they’ll be back up again soon. And if supply issues are rectified in accordance with BILD’s recommendations, price increases will moderate, as well.

So don’t believe everything you hear from the media: the GTA housing market is strong, resilient and — in the long run — as good a bet as they come.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years.



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In Conversation With: Dave Wilkes

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In Conversation With: Dave Wilkes

The new President and CEO of BILD

By Gale Beeby

Dave Wilkes has the municipal election at the top of his mind.

The new president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) believes that it is imperative for his industry to inform the candidates and the public about the main issues surrounding housing. And he wants to remind everyone that the GTA is growing, and growing fast.

“There are two numbers everybody should remember: 9.7 million and 2041.

“Those numbers represent the population of the GTA in 2041. All that growth is good for the economy, but the municipalities in the GTA have got to start thinking about rezoning for all that growth and make sure that we can live, play and work in communities that work.

“I am impatient to do more,” said Wilkes, who grew up in Scarborough and was most recently the senior VP of the government relations and the grocery division at the Retail Council of Canada.

Needless to say, Wilkes has a passion for government relations.

“We’re going to be very aggressive in the coming municipal election, which will be held on October 22. We want to make sure each candidate is educated on housing issues. We’re going to ask them to sign a ‘Housing Pledge’ and hold all-candidates meetings and virtual town halls so the public knows where each candidate stands on the issues of affordable housing.”

BILD has 1,500 members, including builders and developers, renovators, manufacturers, suppliers, trade contractors, service and professional companies as well as financial and legal providers.

Q: What are some of the things BILD is going to undertake in the upcoming election?

A: Well, I have a column in a number of GTA-area media outlets (including this magazine), so they will be focused on the issues surrounding the election as they pertain to housing. It’s not just about development charges and the various land transfer taxes, it’s also about the types of housing that we need to build in order to house the 100,000-plus migrants into the GTA every year.

Q: Beyond the election, what else do you have planned?

A: I want to tell the story of the GTA. BILD can certainly take a leadership role in telling the civic building story. We have already produced one video and plan on making many more. (You can see “Creating a Community – The Challenge” on BILD’s YouTube). It’s not just about creating housing, but also healthcare, road, greenspace, education and parks.

We need to speak louder — I need to speak louder — and use every opportunity to get our voice out there and make an impact on consumers and come up with real world solutions.

Q: What is going to be the focus of that messaging?

A: Well, first we have to determine what we should own; everything can’t be a priority. Land availability, the cost of developments and proper infrastructure are our priorities. And we need to align those policies across the regions so that we can have smart growth into 2041.



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