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Outlook 2020 – Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing, Solmar Development Corp.

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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.

Angela Marotta
Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing Solmar Development Corp

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

Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year

Outlook 2020 – Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes High Rise

Outlook 2020 – Anson Kwok, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Pinnacle International

Outlook 2020 – Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel

Outlook 2020 – Nick Carnicelli, President, Carriage Gate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Fan Yang, Deputy General Manager, Aoyuan

Outlook 2020 – Jordan DeBrincat, Director of Operations, Altree Developments

 

 

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Outlook 2020 – Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes High Rise

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Outlook 2020 – Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes High Rise

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?

Menkes: This year will continue to be a year of low supply and high demand, which will keep housing prices high, especially in prime locations. Overall, the 905 has experienced the largest growth, and will continue to grow, however the largest demand continues to be for housing along mass transit. Vaughan, in particular, will continue to be a very desirable location.

Housing supply will continue to fall short of meeting demand. RBC reported that Toronto CMA needs 22,000 new rental apartments and rented condominium units per year to satisfy demand between 2019 and 2023.

RBC also says that even if we anticipate that 70 per cent of all new condos are rented, and we have 4,000 new purpose-built rental apartments in the GTA every year, we still wouldn’t hit that 22,000-unit mark.

Jared Menkes
Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes High Rise

CL: And for Menkes?

Menkes: From a highrise perspective, sales for our projects in 2019 were strong and continue to demonstrate that people desire walkable communities in proximity to transit. Sugar Wharf on the Toronto waterfront was named the bestselling condo project in Canada for 2018, then we had a top-selling mixed-density project in Vaughan with Mobilio. With that success, we’ve moved to an even bigger four-tower project nearby, which will launch this year. Our prime locations, combined with the fact the city continues to experience a housing shortage, leads me to believe that we’ll experience strong sales in 2020.

CL: What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

Menkes: With many families priced out of the downtown core, they’re looking for more affordable options in the 905. At Mobilio, one of our most recent projects in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC), we’re offering a mix of housing types on one site, so we’re catering to every type of family and lifestyle. Since the community is close to Vaughan’s new subway station and all that VMC will offer over the next decade – including offices, shops and restaurants – we’re also fulfilling the desire to live in an urban setting at a more affordable price than downtown.

As the largest employment centre in York Region, Vaughan is becoming an increasingly desirable option for both young professionals and families. Festival, our latest highrise project in VMC, will be a four-tower community which will fulfill the area’s fundamental need for more density.

Clearly, family-friendly condos are an increasingly important segment in the market. Menkes will continue to deliver projects that offer familyfriendly amenities such as playrooms, entertaining spaces and co-work areas.

Townhomes, such as the ones we launched at Mobilio in Vaughan, are also offering families a more affordable option in an urban setting. We will continue to offer more townhomes with our Lake & Town project that will be coming to South Etobicoke this year.

CL: What more could the industry do to address these issues?

Menkes: We need a healthier, more balanced market. People don’t have choices right now. The City and Province need to take a look at getting more supply on the market, and developers simply need to continue to build more product. Regardless of whether new housing is “affordable,” more supply will eventually lead to lesser discrepancy between supply and demand, and therefore reduce costs in the long run.

CL: What should prospective new-home buyers know about your company for 2020?

Menkes: Our reputation speaks for itself, but if buyers want to know the quality of a Menkes building, they can tour one of our buildings themselves. We are very proud of all our projects and believe the best way for buyers to educate themselves on builders is to actually see their work.

CL: Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?

Menkes: There has increasingly been a flight to quality by prospective homeowners, opting for brands they know and trust, and we are fortunate to be one of those brands. We have reputation as one of Toronto’s top builders because not only do we take pride in the quality of our work, but we continue to deliver. We take it very seriously that people are investing their life savings with us.

Also, it’s important for builders to be innovative and to shift as homeowner needs and trends change. We have done this in the past – as we saw the trend to more families living in highrise buildings – and we will continue to do so.

We also manage our projects, which puts us at an advantage because we have the opportunity to get daily feedback on the management and operations of our buildings, and we strive to continuously improve.

Special Report: Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year

Outlook 2020 – Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing, Solmar Development Corp.

Outlook 2020 – Anson Kwok, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Pinnacle International

Outlook 2020 – Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel

Outlook 2020 – Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel

Outlook 2020 – Nick Carnicelli, President, Carriage Gate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Fan Yang, Deputy General Manager, Aoyuan

Outlook 2020 – Jordan DeBrincat, Director of Operations, Altree Developments

 

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Common elements aren’t a common responsibility

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Common elements aren’t a common responsibility

Purchasing a condominium is a bit of a two-for-one deal. While you’re buying a unit that has specific physical boundaries, you’re also becoming part owner of amenities that could range from fitness facilities, rooftop terraces and party rooms to less glamourous elements such as heating systems, parking garages and elevators. These are the ‘common elements’ of your condo project. While you are entitled to use them (or at least benefit from them), management of the common elements – and their warranty – is the responsibility of the condominium corporation.

The warranty on your unit begins when your unit is ready for occupancy. The common elements warranty coverage doesn’t begin until the building is finished and the declaration and description for the project is registered by the developer at the local land registry office.

So, what are the declaration and description? They are documents that outline important details for condo owners, such as the boundaries, designated use and proportion of common expenses allocated to the unit, as well as repair and maintenance obligations. If you want to know exactly where your unit ends and the common elements begin, check the declaration.

Although common elements often provide a lot of marketing flash to help drive sales, they can be some of the last things finished in your project. If, for example, you’ve bought a condo on a lower floor in a highrise, you might be among the first to move in – before the common elements have been completed. This means that you might have to wait a while to use that chic party room or luxurious pool that helped sell you on the project in the first place.

Under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, the condominium corporation is the ‘owner’ of the common elements of the project. This includes “exclusive use” common elements – things such as your balcony or your backyard – that no one but you gets to use. Unlike unit owners who fill out and submit their own warranty forms for issues in their units, the Condominium Act requires that the condo corporation hire a consultant to prepare a performance audit identifying any deficiencies in the common elements, such as defects in workmanship or Ontario Building Code violations. The performance audit generally includes surveys in which unit owners can report issues they’ve observed in the common elements. The condo corporation will submit the performance audit to Tarion as a warranty claim for the common elements.

The condo corporation will also appoint a designate — often the condominium manager — to work with Tarion and the vendor to resolve deficiencies reported in the audit.

While you as a unit owner do not get involved in the warranty claims process for common elements, you do have a role to play in protecting these shared amenities and ensuring that the warranty coverage on them stays intact. Here are a few examples of what’s not covered by the warranty:

  • Damage caused by unit owners or visitors;
  • Alterations, deletions or additions made by a unit owner or the condo corporation;
  • Damage resulting from improper maintenance by unit owners or the condo corporation.

So if you’re inviting the high school rugby team over for a post-championship celebration, make sure the party room doesn’t become a casualty. Or if you’re planning to do work on any of your exclusive-use common elements – adding a garden to your balcony, for example – notify your condo corporation and obtain permission from them to undertake it.

Common elements are for the common benefit of all. If there are issues, be sure to report them to your condominium manager for them to report to Tarion within their warranty timelines. And if you have any questions about common elements coverage, contact Tarion at 1.877.9TARION or email customerservice@tarion.com.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., a private corporation established to protect the rights of new homebuyers and to regulate new home builders. tarion.com

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