Tag Archives: David Wilkes

cl_aug20_industry_report_fi

Delayed construction projects in the GTA will hurt government revenues

Latest News


Delayed construction projects in the GTA will hurt government revenues

The residential construction industry was granted essential workplace status under Ontario’s emergency orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry was able to finish homes that were near completion and work on important infrastructure projects such as hospitals. Nevertheless, overall development and building projects across the GTA were delayed. This will have farreaching impacts on housing supply in an already tight market, as well as negative financial impacts on government coffers.

You may be thinking: If the industry was permitted to work, why are there delays? The response is a little complicated. Some municipalities had to adjust to working remotely, which slowed or stopped processing of planning and building applications that stalled developments and construction projects. Worksites had to adjust to COVID-19 protocols as social distancing rules negatively impacted productivity.

To get a better understanding of how the pandemic affected the building industry, BILD surveyed is members to understand how they were impacted. The survey found that there were 498 active projects in the GTA, representing 156,000 units at various stages of the development process. In Toronto alone, 276 projects were affected. The survey found that 65 per cent of active pre-construction projects reported delays of three to six months, and 32 per cent were greater than six months. Eighty-three per cent of not yet above grade projects reported delays of three to six months, and 11 per cent are greater than six months. Eighty-five per cent of projects under construction permitted for above grade reported a delay of three to six months, and five per cent are greater than six months.

The Altus Group examined this survey data and concluded that these delays will result in the loss of about 9,000 housing starts over the course of the next 18 months. This will delay occupancy of more than 8,000 units by the end of 2021, potentially exacerbating an already existing shortage of housing in the city of Toronto, reduce construction activity and see the loss of 10,000 jobs per year.

Federal, provincial and municipal government revenues will be detrimentally impacted by the loss of housing starts throughout 2020 and 2021. Lost revenues include $340 million in lost development charges, $13.5 million in lost education development charges (TCDSB), $26 million in property taxes, $364 million in HST, $53.8 million in provincial land transfer tax and $52.5 million in lost municipal land transfer tax.

Now more than ever, all levels of government must work together to make sure that proper measures are in place to remove barriers that will unlock consumer and industry construction investments to help kick-start the economy.

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

SHARE  

Featured Products


BILD construction survey

Survey shows almost 500 projects delayed due to COVID-19

Latest News


Survey shows almost 500 projects delayed due to COVID-19

A majority of residential construction projects in the GTA have been delayed due the COVID-19 Pandemic, according to a survey from The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

BILD construction survey

The survey covered 498 active projects (276 in Toronto) representing 156,000 units at various stages of construction. These interruptions will have far reaching impacts on housing supply in an already tight market and will have negative financial impacts on government coffers.

The residential construction industry was granted essential workplace status under Ontario’s emergency orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the industry was only able to complete homes that were near completion. Nevertheless, overall development and building projects across the region were delayed.

Slowed processing

“One might ask, if the building industry was granted essential workplace status, why are there new housing slowdowns,” says BILD President and CEO Dave Wilkes. “The response is a bit complicated. Disruptions to the supply chain negatively impacted the ability of the industry to secure vital building materials. Worksites had to appropriately adjust to COVID-19 protocols, as social distancing rules negatively impacted productivity and some municipalities had to adjust to working remotely. This slowed processing of planning and building applications and stalled developments and construction projects.”

The survey found that 65 per cent of projects in Toronto reported interruptions of three to six months, and 32 per cent were greater than six months. Eighty-three per cent of not yet above grade projects reported delays of three to six months, and 11 per cent are greater than six months. Eighty-five per cent of projects under construction permitted for above grade reported a delay of three to six months, and five per cent are greater than six months.

Significant losses

Altus Group estimates that these holdups will result in the loss of about 9,000 housing starts over the course of the next 18 months. This will set back occupancy of more than 8,000 units by the end of 2021, potentially exacerbating an already existing shortage of housing in Toronto, reduce construction activity and see the loss of 10,000 jobs per year.

“Now more than ever, all levels of government must work together to make sure that proper measures are in place to remove barriers that will unlock consumer and industry construction investments to help kick-start the economy,” adds Wilkes.


SHARE  

Featured Products


Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Latest News


Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Unlock investments

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

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

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

Stimulate growth

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

RELATED READING

GTA homebuilders upbeat about post-COVID-19 recovery

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

 

 

SHARE  

Featured Products


cl_jun20_industry_report_2

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

Latest News


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

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the government of Ontario had earlier decided to include construction sites as essential workplaces, permitting our industry to continue working on homes that were close to completion, while practicing social distancing. And on May 19, all construction was allowed to resume.

The earlier reduction of construction activity, particularly where it is seasonally dependant, could negatively impact housing supply in an already tight market. All municipal governments must continue to put the proper processes in place now, so that the industry can hit the ground running to meet the region’s pressing housing needs when things return to “normal.”

BILD is working closely with GTA municipal governments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry representatives are engaged in regular calls with GTA city officials, and we have seen success in unlocking doors that were initially closed to the industry. This is imperative progress towards ensuring that we can meet the demand of new homes once normalcy returns.

Many, but not all GTA municipalities, have adopted exceptional best practices, or have enhanced existing ones, and have created new protocols to allow for online building permit application submissions, virtual inspections and construction permit issuance. Some municipalities have facilitated vital communication between the public, the industry and city committees and councils to promote important stakeholder consultations. It’s not business as usual, but this type of virtual public and industry consultation has allowed the approval process to continue keep the industry moving.

Most municipalities had the technical capacity prior to COVID-19 and have been in a position to easily enhance these capabilities to best adapt to changing priorities. For example, city council meetings are live-streamed on city websites or available on YouTube, keeping the public and industry engaged. Residents and industry groups have been encouraged to email submissions and make deputations at virtual town halls. Larger delegations have participated via telephone or by virtual conferencing.

Zoom meetings have moved out of the boardroom and onto construction sites, as homebuilders are working with municipalities to schedule remote video inspections to ensure that newhome buyers can take possession of their homes as soon as possible while protecting workers and the public. It is this type of resourcefulness that will allow the building industry and the economy to bounce back more quickly.

Unfortunately, this type of proactive engagement is not universal to all municipalities, and housing supply and affordability will suffer in some of the GTA’s cities as a result.

The innovative measures taken by some municipal governments to continue with construction has been encouraging and we applaud and appreciate their efforts. However, as we get closer to opening the economy there are processes that can be put into place now. All municipal governments must provide a form of an online permit portal, continue with the approval processes as requests come in and continue with inspections so that the building industry can continue to make significant contributions to building communities and help rebuilding the economy.

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

SHARE  

Featured Products


GTA new home market understandably slow in April

GTA new home market understandably slow in April

Latest News


GTA new home market understandably slow in April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SHARE  

Featured Products


cl_may20_industry_report_fi

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

Latest News


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bild.ca

SHARE  

Featured Products


Successful renovation

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

Latest News


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

Photography: Courtesy of Alair Homes

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

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

Articulate your wish list

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

Pick a pro

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

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

Outline budget & potential permits required

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

Get it in writing

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

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

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

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


SHARE  

Featured Products


DIY or hire a pro?

DIY or hire a pro?

Latest News


DIY or hire a pro?

Photography: Sosna Total Contracting

Renovating your own home looks so easy in all those design TV shows, magazines and Instagram stories, doesn’t it? Appearances can be deceiving, though. Before you try your hand at redoing your bathroom or finishing your basement, think through a few simple questions to determine whether you will be better served by calling in a professional RenoMark renovator.

Kitchen and Main Floor renovation by Sosna Total Contracting
Kitchen and Main Floor renovation by Sosna Total Contracting

Do you have what it takes?

The first question to answer is whether you have the skills and knowledge needed for your renovation project. Can you carry out the work safely and effectively? Do you know what permits you need to obtain? When it comes to renovations involving plumbing, electrical, gas appliances, structural changes or roofing, unless you know exactly what you are doing, it’s safer to leave the work to the professionals.

Is time on your side?

If you have the skills and knowledge to tackle your renovation project, the second question to ask yourself is whether you have the time, given everything else you are doing. If the work is extensive and you don’t have enough time to devote to it, you could end up disrupting your home and your daily routine for weeks or months. A RenoMark professional, on the other hand, can give your project the time and attention it deserves.

Budget constraints

Finally, ask yourself whether your main motivation for wanting to tackle the renovation on your own is saving money. If so, talk to a RenoMark renovator before you decide. He or she may be able to suggest ways to reduce the cost of your project while still using professional services.

Buy some peace of mind

Working with a RenoMark renovator has many other benefits, too. RenoMark members commit to a Code of Conduct that requires they provide a written contract for all jobs, carry all applicable licenses and permits, offer a minimum of a two-year warranty on work, carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance, and work only with contractors who are properly insured.

The RenoMark Program, established in 2001 by the Toronto-based Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), identifies professional contractors who have agreed to abide by renovation-specific Code of Conduct and to provide superior level of service.

Is it worth the risk?

You may know someone who promises to do the work under the table for cheap, but working with a renovator who does not adhere to the high standards outlined in RenoMark’s Code of Conduct could cost you more in the end. For instance, if a renovator does not provide a written contract, what recourse do you have if some of the work doesn’t get done? And if a renovator is not adequately insured, who will pay in case of property damage or injuries on the work site? Hiring a RenoMark renovator gives you peace of mind that these important details are covered.

As part of our ongoing efforts to make the RenoMark program the best it can be, in 2020 we are adding a requirement that RenoMark renovators complete a certain amount of professional education every year to keep up with changes in regulations, practices and materials in the industry. You can have confidence that your RenoMark renovator is providing you with the very latest information and advice.

If you have thought through the questions I mentioned earlier and have decided to work with a RenoMark renovator for your home renovation project, look for one in your area at renomark.ca. It’s your best start to a successful home renovation.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA. For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta, or visit bildgta.ca.


SHARE  

Featured Products


cl_feb2020_industry_report_fi

2020 must be the year of action on housing in the GTA

Latest News


2020 must be the year of action on housing in the GTA

“May you live in interesting times,” goes the expression, and we may well live through very interesting times in 2020 when it comes to housing and the economy. The coming year needs to be the year that governments and citizens focus on dealing with the housing supply shortage in the GTA. Fortunately, 2020 may provide several opportunities to start to address this generational challenge.

Let’s first look at some of the challenges we face in the housing market and in the economy. Sales data for the GTA’s new home and resale markets for the last two quarters of 2019 show a return to inflationary pressure on prices, after a moderation in 2018 and persistent housing supply shortages. Simply put, demand is picking up, prices are responding and supply continues to fail to keep up with demand.

The Canadian economy is showing signs of slowing, including the shedding of more than 70,000 jobs in November and the slowing of GDP growth due in part to trade tensions amongst large Canadian trading partners. Interest rates lowered somewhat in 2019, lowering mortgage rates. With the economy slowing, the Bank of Canada is likely to maintain its neutral to negative bias. Shortages of skilled labour and trades are a persistent issue for the building and land development industry in our effort to increase supply.

Still, I am optimistic for 2020, because I believe these challenges will also present opportunities to close the housing supply and affordability gap. First of all, there is now a broad consensus that the building of much-needed new housing supply has been inhibited by layers of time-consuming bureaucracy and slow approvals. These barriers should start to lessen in 2020, as municipalities update their policies to meet new requirements under the Ontario government’s Housing Supply Action Plan and changes to expedite Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearings, which aim to increase housing supply by cutting red tape and speed up approvals.

Lower interest rates provide prospective homebuyers with lower borrowing costs, easing the barrier to entry. In a slowing economy, government spending on infrastructure and job skills training provides stimulus and a bridge back to growth and job creation. All three levels of government have the perfect opportunity in 2020 to focus on city-building infrastructure such as transit, water main enhancement and waste water capacity and treatment, which in turn supports and enables housing creation.

To help more Canadians find good jobs, governments could give more support to training for the skilled trades. The building industry is one of the few where well-paying jobs are unlikely to be moved offshore. Building houses, townhouses and condo apartments provides jobs, tax revenue and investment opportunities, in addition to providing the housing supply required to ensure the GTA remains an attractive and desirable place to live.

The signals in our economy and the housing market point to interesting times in 2020. Let’s seize all opportunities to make this year the year of housing.

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

bild.ca

SHARE  

Featured Products


Provincial Government's housing supply action plan is necessary to balance housing market

Provincial Government’s housing supply action plan is necessary to balance housing market

Latest News


Provincial Government’s housing supply action plan is necessary to balance housing market

Like all markets, Ontario’s housing market is driven by the laws of supply and demand. Strong demand for housing has created a persistent housing supply challenge that can only be solved by boosting the number of new homes being built. This approach makes common sense and has also been supported by numerous economists and academics. This is why BILD is encouraged by the provincial government’s focus on boosting housing supply.

Every month, BILD releases the previous month’s new home sales data, gathered by Altus Group, tracking the relative health of the new housing market as reflected in sales, inventory, price per sq. ft. and comparisons to historical trends.

The data we released for September 2019 pointed to a modest recovery from the slump of the previous year, but, given that new home sales and inventory increased in tandem, underscored that the GTA continues to experience a significant housing supply crunch.

In many previous columns I have highlighted that the GTA is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in North America, with an average of 115,000 net new residents per year. Our population is expected to reach 9.7 million by 2041. Given this robust growth in population, demand for housing of all types, to buy or rent, is strong and will remain so.

The challenge is that the supply side of the housing equation in Ontario is highly regulated and dependent on factors that can make it less responsive to demand signals. The first of these factors is the supply of land designated for residential construction and serviced with the appropriate infrastructure. Within the cities of the GTA, the amount of available lands for new residential construction has been steadily decreasing.

Another factor that restricts our housing supply relates to planning and approvals. New housing cannot simply be built anytime, anywhere. All new housing projects go through a complex and lengthy approval process, subject to multiple pieces of provincial regulation, which is interpreted and administered by municipal governments. This slows the supply side from being able to meet demand signals. As a result, in the GTA it takes on average 10 years to complete a typical highrise project and 11 years to complete a typical lowrise project.

Like a growing number of governments around the world, the Ontario provincial government has recognized that achieving balance in the housing market starts with increasing supply. The government recognizes that adding new homes helps moderate prices, creates trickle-down housing opportunities for those looking to enter the housing market and has a beneficial impact on the rental market.

BILD is highlighting some of the benefits of the province’s Housing Supply Action Plan in a public education campaign called The Math is Simple. I encourage you to learn more at bildgta.ca/themathissimple.

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.


SHARE  

Featured Products