Tag Archives: Dave Wilkes

h_dj19_build_for_growth_fi

Affordability Is A Challenge

Latest News


Affordability Is A Challenge

Housing supply is not rising in response to increased demand

Every fall, BILD invites experts on economics and housing to join us for breakfast and speak to our members about what the GTA housing market will look like in the coming year. This fall was no exception and I was heartened by much of what I heard about current and future trends from Patricia Arsenault of Altus Group and Dana Senagama of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). I also saw we have much left to do around housing supply and affordability in our region.

There’s no doubt we have a lot to look forward to in the GTA. Economic conditions are expected to be solid in the short term, with the employment growth rate projected to be 1.8 per cent in 2019, according to Arsenault, who is Altus Group’s executive vice president, data solutions.

More GTA households than last year are planning renovations of over $5,000 in the next year, and the percentage of GTA households that currently rent but plan to buy a home in the next year has rebounded after softening last summer, according to Altus Group’s survey.

But these survey results only indicate what homeowners and potential new homebuyers intend to do, not what they are ultimately able to do, and Arsenault noted that households may take longer to save for that first home in the face of new mortgage hurdles and housing affordability challenges. The prices of condo apartments, which used to offer potential homebuyers a more affordable choice than single-family homes, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option. In September, the benchmark price of new condo apartments was $789,643 and the benchmark price of new single-family homes at $1,119,533.

Despite rapid price gains in both ownership and rental markets, the supply response has been weak or inelastic, said Senagama, who is CMHC’s manager of market analysis. That means our housing supply is not rising in response to increased demand for housing and the corresponding increase in the prices of homes, as the law of supply and demand would lead us to expect. In fact, Senagama showed that Toronto is one of the markets in Canada that are not at the risk of overbuilding.

I was not surprised to hear this. BILD has consistently delivered the same message. We have said that we are not building enough housing to accommodate the 115,000 new residents who are arriving in our region every year. We should be building 50,000 homes every year, and last year we only built 38,000. A big reason for this supply shortfall is the lengthy development process that housing projects face in the GTA, slowed down by outdated regulation and red tape.

We should be updating zoning bylaws and official plans and streamlining the list of conditions for municipal approvals, so that we can build the housing our growing region needs. Only then will potential homebuyers be able to afford to make their dream of owning a home a reality.

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

SHARE  

Featured Products


THE INDUSTRY INSIDER: Affordability is a challenge

Affordability is a challenge: The prices of condos have been rising

Latest News


Affordability is a challenge: The prices of condos have been rising

The prices of condos, which used to offer homebuyers a more affordable choice, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option.

Every fall, BILD invites experts on economics and housing to join us for breakfast and speak to our members about what the GTA housing market will look like in the coming year. This fall was no exception and I was heartened by much of what I heard about current and future trends from Patricia Arsenault of Altus Group and Dana Senagama of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). I also saw we have much left to do around housing supply and affordability in our region.

There’s no doubt we have a lot to look forward to in the GTA. Economic conditions are expected to be solid in the short term, with the employment growth rate projected to be 1.8 per cent in 2019, according to Arsenault, who is Altus Group’s executive vice president, data solutions. More GTA households than last year are planning renovations of over $5,000 in the next year, and the percentage of GTA households that currently rent but plan to buy a home in the next year has rebounded after softening last summer, according to Altus Group’s survey.

But these survey results only indicate what homeowners and potential new homebuyers intend to do, not what they are ultimately able to do, and Arsenault noted that households may take longer to save for that first home in the face of new mortgage hurdles and housing affordability challenges. The prices of condo apartments, which used to offer potential homebuyers a more affordable choice than single-family homes, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option. In September, the benchmark price of new condo apartments was $789,643 and the benchmark price of new single-family homes at $1,119,533.

Despite rapid price gains in both ownership and rental markets, the supply response has been weak or inelastic, said Senagama, who is CMHC’s manager of market analysis. That means our housing supply is not rising in response to increased demand for housing and the corresponding increase in the prices of homes, as the law of supply and demand would lead us to expect. In fact, Senagama showed that Toronto is one of the markets in Canada that are not at the risk of overbuilding.

I was not surprised to hear this. BILD has consistently delivered the same message. We have said that we are not building enough housing to accommodate the 115,000 new residents who are arriving in our region every year. We should be building 50,000 homes every year, and last year we only built 38,000. A big reason for this supply shortfall is the lengthy development process that housing projects face in the GTA, slowed down by outdated regulation and red tape.

We should be updating zoning bylaws and official plans and streamlining the list of conditions for municipal approvals, so that we can build the housing our growing region needs. Only then will potential homebuyers be able to afford to make their dream of owning a home a reality.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of BILD.

SHARE  

Featured Products


INDUSTRY EXPERT: Stress Buster

Stress Buster: Avoid needless home improvement stress with these simple steps

Latest News


Stress Buster: Avoid needless home improvement stress with these simple steps

Regular communication between you and your renovator is essential and may avoid problems.

Canadians love their homes. So much so that homeowners spent nearly $73 billion in 2017 on renovations, according to the Altus Group. That’s $20 billion more than is spent annually on building new homes across the country.

Unfortunately, everyone has a horror story about a home renovation gone wrong, from losing their deposit, spending more than you anticipated, or a project that took too long to finish. The reality is that the average homeowner doesn’t know all they should know when undertaking a renovation project.

Photography: Bigstock.com
Photography: Bigstock.com

To avoid disappointment and to set you on a path toward a successful renovation, RenoMark has come up with five steps to a worry-free renovation.

  1. Define your project. The more you know what you want out of the renovation, the more accurately the renovators can help you achieve that goal.
  2. Set your budget and expectations on the same path, if they are not realistic or in alignment, then you will be disappointed before you even start.
  3. Select the right renovator, you should look to reputable organizations such as RenoMark as a source of professional companies. Plus, these companies must adhere to the RenoMark code of conduct and the Association’s code of ethics, this alone means that they are a professional and not a fly-by-night company.
  4. Sign a contract. The contract should be reviewed by a lawyer and it will be the basis of understanding for the work moving forward. At a minimum, it should include costs, payment schedule, construction timeline, product-specific details, a communication protocol, warrantee clause, and a close-out plan. Avoid renovators who offer to do work without a contract in an attempt to avoid paying the HST. This type of renovator may also not be paying worker’s compensation or carry adequate insurance, leaving you at financial risk.
  5. Check on Progress. Regular communication between you and your renovator is essential and may avoid problems. During the course of a renovation, it is common for the homeowners to request changes or ask for additional work. These requests may affect the cost and time it takes to complete your project. It is important that you have a signed change order for all changes. Finally, remember to ask questions. The last thing anybody wants is to make an assumption or a guess that may lead to an error and then disappointment.

RenoMark.ca is a great resource to help you find the right renovator. RenoMark was established by the GTA-based Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) to identify professional contractors that have agreed to abide by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct. The RenoMark program has been endorsed by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association.

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, and bildgta.ca.


SHARE  

Featured Products


cl_nov18_industry_report_fi

Building condos in urban areas requires the use of traffic lanes

Latest News


Building condos in urban areas requires the use of traffic lanes

We often joke in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that we have two seasons, winter and construction. Most people can do without winter, but construction is essential to city building. We put up with it because we know that infrastructure like roads, sewers and watermains, must be continually maintained to ensure the viability of our growing cities. The same can be said when it comes to new condo construction.

On occasion large construction projects like condos in the downtown core can take up traffic lanes and create traffic slowdowns. Unfortunately, to keep up with the influx of the 9.7 million people that will call the GTA home by 2041 and to build to Growth Plan policy, our industry will be building highrise buildings in urban areas that may slow down your daily commute.

A recent City of Toronto motion was put forth to consult with the development industry to eliminate the practice of occupying sidewalks and traffic lanes for construction purposes. While this might help ease traffic congestion, it does very little to help keep the cost of new homes down. If the development industry is forced to build off-site staging areas, instead of using the already in place and legal City right-of-way, the extra cost incurred by the industry will ultimately make new homes more expensive.

A construction staging area is a physical location used for the storage of construction related equipment and materials such as vehicles and stockpiles. The City has policies to deal with this issue and the construction industry pays hundreds of thousands of dollars per project to be able to use City property for this legally allowed and long standing purpose.

The provincial Growth Plan calls for more intensification in urban areas where transit is available and where people work. Therefore, the City of Toronto has urban design guidelines that allow for the construction of tall buildings very close to the property line. These are the challenges of building in an urban environment. There is little or no room to do anything on the site and the only way to build safely is to take a lane of public traffic.

The industry is constantly looking for ways to alleviate traffic construction by avoiding closing down lanes and keeping costs down by side-stepping building off-site staging sites that would ultimately increase the cost of a new home or condo.

Developers often reach out to residents for solutions. A developer of a midtown 70,000-square-foot condo was considering an underutilized park adjacent to the highrise as an alternative to using the street. Having to build a separate staging site at a cost of $1,000,000 would have increased the price of a condo by $20,000 or $30,000. Using the street is the best way to keep the development affordable.

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

SHARE  

Featured Products


Toronto Oct 25 18

GTA new home market shows some improvement in September

Latest News


GTA new home market shows some improvement in September

Toronto Oct 25 18

The GTA new home market saw increases in September over the previous month, both in terms of new project openings and new home sales, particularly sales of condominiums, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

There were 1,747 new homes sold in September, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence – a sizeable increase over August’s 974 new home sales. Condominiums in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units accounted for 1,494 new home sales in September, down 20 per cent from September 2017 and down 20 per cent from the 10-year average. Single-family home sales, with 253 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were down 28 per cent from last September and down 77 per cent from the 10-year average.

MORE PROJECT OPENINGS

With 10 condominium apartment projects and seven single-family home projects opening in September – a significant increase from August’s two project openings – remaining inventory increased to 13,952 units, comprised of 8,820 condo apartment units and 5,132 single-family units. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings.

“It appears more buyers – and builders – are starting to come in from the sidelines,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “The increase from August in both new condominium apartment sales and the number of units in new projects launched was somewhat stronger than the typical September bump alone would suggest.”

NEW HOME SUPPLY

David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO, says it’s all welcome news, but points out that consumers still lack a range of options in the new home market, due to lack of supply. The 8,820 units remaining in the condo apartment inventory represent about five months’ worth of inventory, based on the pace of sales in the past 12 months. A healthy new home market should have nine to 12 months’ worth of inventory.

This shortfall in the supply of condominiums partly accounts for the closing gap between the prices of condos and single-family homes in the GTA. In September, the benchmark price for condo apartments rose again, to $789,643, up 19.4 per cent over the last 12 months. The benchmark price for single-family homes softened again to $1.12 million, down 7.1 per cent over the last 12 months.

MUNICIPAL PARTNERS

“In the lead-up to the municipal elections, BILD succeeded in raising housing supply and affordability as major election issues,” says Wilkes. “Now we look forward to working with our municipal partners to address the barriers that stand in the way of building the housing our region needs to accommodate growth. Some straightforward steps include making sure that government charges on new homes are fair, funding and building critical infrastructure, cutting red tape and speeding up building permits and inspections.”

RELATED READING

GTA mayoral elections – who won and where they stand on housing

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

GTA new home market quiet in August

 

SHARE  

Featured Products


THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Province needs to revisit GTA West Corridor plan

Ontario needs to revisit the GTA West Corridor plan

Latest News


Ontario needs to revisit the GTA West Corridor plan

By Dave Wilkes

My workday has me driving across the GTA to attend meetings with stakeholders and I often find myself sitting in traffic on Highway 401 going nowhere fast. I see drivers commuting to work, trucks transporting goods across the region and many like me trying to get somewhere on time.

Earlier this year, the Ontario government decided on the advice of an advisory panel’s recommendation not to go forward with the GTA West Corridor; instead, a narrower corridor that is approximately one-third of the size of the analysis area of the environmental assessment will be protected from development.

While there have been some improvements, there have been no significant new highway additions to the western part of the GTA since Highway 407 nearly 20 years ago. A recent Metrolinx study notes that traffic congestion will cost GTA residents and businesses $7 billion a year by 2031.

Something must be done to improve traffic congestion in our region. Transportation infrastructure is vital to each and every one of us as it links people to where we live, work, shop and play.

Where does the cancellation leave the residents of the GTA? The GTA Corridor West was not just a proposed highway. It was a means to unlock both commercial and residential land for development. Its central location, running from Highway 400 in Vaughan, across Caledon and Halton Hills and connecting to highways 401/407 in Milton, would have been a pressure relief for existing highways. The economic benefits of the corridor would have been enormous. In Peel Region alone $1.8 billion in goods is moved to and from the area every day. Furthermore, four in nine jobs in Peel depend on the movement of goods.

The corridor would connect urban growth centres, facilitate the growth of new employment and business areas and create greater economic competitiveness. Much of the recent development in the Town of Milton happened around Highways 401 and 407. The GTA West Corridor would have had the same economic growth potential, bringing new housing to the GTA that will see its population grow to 9.7 million by 2041.

BILD strongly supports a transportation network like the one the GTA West Corridor would enable. It plays a significant role in sustaining the type of development that is in line with the province’s intensification policies. It would allow us to plan and create complete communities within the area, which is needed to meet future population growth.

During the 2018 provincial election campaign, the new provincial government made a commitment to re-visit the environmental assessment for the GTA West Corridor. It is important for the residents of the GTA that the provincial government make good on this promise.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Associatio (BILD).

SHARE  

Featured Products


Millennials Pic

Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

Latest News


Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

Millennials Pic

There is great concern among GTA Millennials that they will be unable to afford a home, according to a new poll from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). 

The fear goes deeper, as 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.

“According to a recent Centre for Urban Research and Land Development study, there are about 730,000 Millennials living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area who may be planning to move on from living in their parents’ homes and from sharing a dwelling with roommates in the next 10 years, potentially creating 500,000 new households,” says Dave Wilkes, BILD President and CEO.

KEY POLL RESULTS

When considering the issues in the municipal elections on Oct. 22, GTA residents say they are concerned with the ability of today’s youth to afford a home in the GTA, including:

  • 94 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 35
  • 84 per cent of respondents between the ages of 35 to 54
  • 80 per cent of respondents age 55 plus
  • 88 per cent of women and 82 per cent of men

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. This is substantially higher than those age 35 to 54 (31 per cent) and those over 55 (27 per cent).

GTA residents are pessimistic in terms of their ability to achieve home ownership, as well as their children’s future abilities to afford homes in their communities. There is also a consensus among residents that the GTA has an inadequate supply of affordable housing being built, or that the city will be able to accommodate the 115,000 new residents that enter every year.

Source: 2018 Ipsos
Source: 2018 Ipsos

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

Nearly seven out of 10 respondents feel that their children will be unable to afford a home in the community where they grew up. These respondents agrees 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 home ownership is becoming more difficult to achieve for young people living in my 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 my 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 my children (or my friends’ children) will be able to afford a home in my community when they grow up

 

MILLENNIALS MOVING OUT

The best public policy is proactive, not reactive,” says Garry Bhaura, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. “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.”

“In the next decade, we are likely to be part of a significant housing shift in our region, as a large wave of Millennials start looking for a place to live of their own,” adds Wilkes. “Add the estimated 115,000 new residents that come to the GTA every year, and the area will see itself in a housing crisis. I urge voters and candidates to learn more about BILD’s recommendations at buildforgrowth.ca.”

“With a municipal election just a few short weeks away, the public has an opportunity to ask candidates to commit to policies that will make it easier to fill their housing needs,” says John DiMichele, chief executive officer of TREB. “GTA homebuyers do not have adequate choice in housing available for sale or rent, and municipal government policy is one of the key reasons.

DiMichele suggests GTA residents visit UnlockMyHousingOptions.ca to send messages to candidates.

RELATED STORIES

Build For Growth: Housing Affordability

THE ANALYST : Premier Ford: Seven steps to housing affordability

Housing sector calls on Queen’s Park to take immediate action to address home affordability

 

SHARE  

Featured Products


h_oct18_build_for_growth_fi

Build For Growth: Housing Affordability

Latest News


Build For Growth: Housing Affordability

Band-Aid solutions will not address a generational challenge

It seems that every month or so, a new poll is released that shows that housing affordability is top of mind for GTA residents, and almost every week media covers the issue from a variety of angles. Commentators examine residents’ ability to purchase a home, the percentage of income spent on rent, the impact of new government rules, housing availability and the far-reaching societal consequences of the current situation.

So far, government interventions have focused on the demand side, including efforts to keep rent down through rent control, increasing the cost of housing for non-residents through the Non-Resident Speculation Tax, and more stringent mortgage qualification requirements. These steps have had the desired cooling effect but, as evidenced by experience in other markets, the effects may be transitory as the market adjusts. These are Band-Aid solutions that address the symptoms but do not deal with the fundamental issue. If we are to truly solve the challenges facing the GTA housing market, governments also need to address the supply side of the equation.

Unfortunately, it takes a long time to add new housing in our region. The rules and processes that worked in the past now struggle to keep up. That means that these days it takes approximately 10 years to complete a new highrise or lowrise project in the GTA. It is not just a question of the actual construction, but also the planning, zoning, approvals, infrastructure and servicing of land required to support development. This slow pace of bringing new homes to market has two practical implications. First, it exacerbates tight supply in a high-demand region, keeping prices up. Second, it means that unless current population projections of 9.7 million people in the GTA by 2041 are wrong, or there is a significant increase in migration away from the region, affordability challenges will be with us for some time.

As the municipal election campaigns unfold, we have heard pledges focused on increasing housing supply. These campaign promises have tended to focus on increasing the supply of affordable rental properties rather than on increasing housing supply overall. There are two problems with this approach. Almost two-thirds of Canadians live in homes they own rather than rent and these efforts do little for those aspiring to own. More importantly, and sadly for those trying to put an affordable roof over their heads today, given the lead time for adding new housing stock, these campaign pledges will not materialize as new homes any time soon.

If there is to be a meaningful solution to the generational housing challenge facing the GTA, governments must focus on removing the barriers to adding new housing supply, at the pace required, in the density desired under provincial growth plans, and preferably with access to transit.

That is why, as the municipal elections approach, we are encouraging GTA residents to have conversations with their local candidates about housing affordability and supply. You can send an email to your candidates at BuildForGrowth.ca

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

SHARE  

Featured Products


INDUSTRY EXPERT: Toronto's Future Now

INDUSTRY EXPERT: Toronto’s Future Now

Latest News


INDUSTRY EXPERT: Toronto’s Future Now

by David Wilkes

Facilitating renovations and custom-building in the GTA to increase housing supply

I am always glad when I notice renovation and custom-home building in our neighbourhoods. It not only benefits homeowners but when secondary suites are added, they can play a small yet important part in increasing our region’s housing supply. This is just another reason we should try to make the renovation and custom-home building process as easy as possible for homeowners.

Some people create secondary suites in their homes by finishing their basement or converting their attic. These spaces can then be used to house a family member—perhaps an elderly parent—or a tenant. Other homeowners in the GTA have a garage or another structure in their backyard that they can convert to a secondary unit.

Photography: Bigstock.com
Photography: Bigstock.com

OPTIMIZING URBAN SPACE

Sometimes, homeowners even have space on their lot for a second, small dwelling. These homes typically face onto public lanes—Toronto, for instance, has more than 2,400—and draw their water and electricity from the main house. Laneway housing, as this type of home is known, has many proponents in the GTA, our industry among them, because it has the potential to provide muchneeded affordable rental housing in established neighbourhoods.

LANEWAY HOUSING UPDATE

While a basement or attic renovation requires only a simple building permit, until recently, homeowners who wanted to build laneway housing had to go through a complicated approvals process. This is the reason Toronto has only a few laneway homes. Things are changing though. Recently, Toronto City Council voted in favour of allowing laneway houses.

Whether you are planning to refurbish a basement or add a laneway house, a RenoMark renovator is your best ally in navigating the process. This renovation professional will share with you his or her knowledge of the rules and regulations that apply in your case and the permits you need. He or she can even submit the application to the municipality on your behalf. Find a RenoMark renovator at renomark.ca.

PERMIT & APPROVAL PROCESS

Unfortunately, even with the help of a RenoMark renovator, the permit and approval process can take months for basic home additions and more than a year for larger renovations and custom homes. That is why BILD created a Standard of Service Excellence that municipalities can adopt. Under the Standard, municipalities would commit to reasonable turnaround times and specific timeframes, provide an online permitting portal for transparency and accountability, and improve service by building inspectors.

By adopting a Standard of Service Excellence for the permit and approval process, municipalities would not only make life easier for homeowners who are undertaking a renovation or building a custom home, they would also help speed up the building of the secondary units that help increase housing supply in our region.

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, and bildgta.ca.


SHARE  

Featured Products


THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Where did the money go?

THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Where did the money go?

Latest News


THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Where did the money go?

by Dave Wilkes
BILD

Parkland dedication fees should be used to build parks in the GTA.

Did you realize that when you sell and buy a new home in the GTA, as much as a quarter of the price consists of fees, taxes and charges imposed by the three levels of government?

Given how much these government levies add to the cost, it makes sense that we want governments to be responsible and transparent about how the funds are spent. Unfortunately, this is not always the case — and new homebuyers may be left wondering: “Where did the money go?”

One example is the parkland dedication fee. Ontario’s Planning Act allows municipalities to require that each new development contribute land for a park, or pay a fee to be used to purchase parkland, or to pay for buildings and machinery for parks or other recreational purposes. The idea behind parkland dedication is that adding new homes and offices applies additional pressures on existing parks, which can be relieved by asking development to contribute new ones.

Our industry supports the expansion of parkland in the GTA to accommodate growth. Parks provide enjoyment and recreation for residents, workers and visitors, as well as habitat for wildlife. But what happens when you pay for a park and don’t get one? We question whether parkland fees are always invested properly.

The City of Toronto, for instance, requires that a residential development in a parkland acquisition priority area — which covers most of the city — contribute 0.4 hectares per 300 units, with a cap of 10 to 20 per cent of the site area, or payment in lieu. Because development sites in the city tend to be small, many developments contribute money instead of land. This parkland fee can add almost $20,000 to the cost of a new highrise condo suite unit in Toronto. And parkland fees are even higher in other municipalities in the GTA.

According to an 2017 report from city staff, Toronto collected $482,930,013 cash-in-lieu-of-parkland payments from residential and industrial development for the 10 years between 2006 and September 2016. As of the end of September 2016, $196,454,624 in the city’s parkland reserve funds remained uncommitted. Shouldn’t this money actually be used for parkland acquisition and development? The city needs a realistic plan for how they are going to spend the money and provide residents with the parks they paid for.

Now there’s a proposal to update the rate of cash-in-lieu-of-parkland in many areas where significant development is happening — including the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood, and downtown Toronto. All of the proposed formulas would increase costs for new homeowners, further eroding housing affordability in the city. When you pay for a park, you should get one, or you should at least know how the money will be spent. All government fees imposed on new homeowners should be invested in a transparent and responsible manner. The upcoming municipal elections are a great opportunity to contact your local candidates about this and other housing issues.

Go to buildforgrowth.ca for more information.

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, and bildgta.ca.


SHARE  

Featured Products