Outlook 2020 – Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing, Solmar Development Corp.
Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives
Condo Life: What is the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?
Marotta: We’re very optimistic, as national averages increase together with market demand and population growth, especially as employment opportunities increase. We see growth in the outer cores of Toronto, namely Mississauga, Vaughan and Scarborough, as price surges in Toronto make it unaffordable for some to own. We see an increase in lower density housing, as condo prices continue to increase, making a townhouse, semi or detached in some municipalities more affordable and desirable to own.
CL: And for Solmar?
Marotta: We have almost 1,000 units across two highrise projects hitting the market this spring – Oro at Edge Towers in Mississauga, and our final tower at Park Avenue in Vaughan. The first two towers at each of these projects are sold out, so these new towers at each project are the final ones. We’re planning new mixed lowrise density developments for 2021 and into 2024 in various areas across the GTA, including Niagara on the Lake, Caledon and Erin – all of them master- planned communities.
CL: What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?
Marotta: We are building in various parts of the GTA and surrounding areas, which allows us to plan and build various types of housing at various price points. Master-planned communities are in preliminary stages in Caledon and Erin, which sees us building mixed lowrise, together with employment lands which will continue to attract new homebuyers. Some of our other lands within the GTA will be designated highrise density, as we foresee this continuing to be a growing market.
It will be interesting to see how the First-Time Buyer Incentive program impacts the market, as most properties in the GTA cost more than $525,000 and with a minimum required income of $120,000, I’m not sure if these homebuyers can afford to carry the property, even with the assisted down payment of 10 per cent. It would require a lot of lifestyle changes that perhaps most people are not willing to make. Increasing the RRSP withdrawal cap to $35,000 is a great incentive for first-time homebuyers, as down payment is an issue even if qualifying for a mortgage isn’t.
Solmar will continue to promote homeownership, as it remains a stable investment opportunity for all and gives great sense of pride.
CL: What more could the industry do to address these issues?
Marotta: It’s difficult because there are a lot of regulatory costs, increased development levies and other costs that are not unique to us as a developer and builder. The end consumer will ultimately be affected by growing end costs, and this results in increased prices across all housing types, regardless if they’re high- or lowrise.
At Solmar, we try to be as efficient as possible during the planning stages of development, but we are all at the mercy of regulatory and political authorities. As an industry, we also need to look at providing more product that is more “affordable” to encourage homeownership across all sectors. This would push development out of the city core, so municipalities need to focus on infrastructure and transit to allow for this expansion, which in turn could allow for growth of more affordable product.
CL: What should prospective new-home buyers know about your company for 2020?
Marotta: Oro, the third and final tower at Edge Towers in Mississauga, is set to open in early spring, with pre-registration now open. It will rise to 50 storeys and have 630 residential units. Indoor and outdoor amenity space stretches over two floors with views over the city. A mix of one bedroom, one plus den, two- and three-bedroom suites are available, including three luxury penthouses across the top floor. It is the only new project that borders the future LRT transit line.
The third and final tower at Park Avenue in Vaughan is slated to open this spring, with more than 24 floors and about 250 suites, located in a prime area of Vaughan surrounded by a park setting. It is a luxury condo project with a similar mix of suites as Oro at Edge.
Bellaria Phase 2 in Vaughan will be an exciting project, following in the footsteps of Bellaria Phase 1, which was the first highrise condominium project in Vaughan, with four towers. We are in design stage and plan for launch in 2021.
CL: Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?
Marotta: Solmar homeowners have seen healthy increases in overall value, which has them purchasing from us again and again. This is based on the location of our communities, proximity to transit, design and quality of their home, our continued in excellence with Tarion Warranty Corp. and referrals from past Solmar homeowners. Our reputation with the industry and consumers alike is very important, and we have worked very hard over the past 30 years to attain it and cherish it!
Special Report: Outlook 2020