Tag Archives: highrise


Moving into a home the smart way

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Moving into a home the smart way

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a professional couple, a growing family or an empty-nester, if you are considering the purchase of a new or resale condominium suite or lowrise home with a condo component, it is best to be aware and prepared. The following are a few tips to get yourself organized so you come up with the best choice.

  1. Ask yourself, what are your personal and family needs? My advice is to make a list of priorities. Are you buying for the first time? Upsizing? Downsizing? Are you looking for more space, less space, or if you’re living in your parents’ basement, will any space at all do? Do you like the idea of having a backyard in a townhome, or does the idea of having beautiful condo amenities under your roof appeal? If children are involved, do you require proximity to a school? Realize that size is relative – you will find condo suites that are larger than some townhomes, and vice versa. Keep layout at the top of your interior priorities. Think about how you like to live and determine which plans accommodate those needs.
  2. Once you want to start looking around, hire a good realtor. The marketplace is packed with choices (including condominiums and lowrise homes with a condo component) in Toronto and the GTA. There are realtors who are familiar with the area you select, and they will guide your search. Remember that purchasing a condominium is different from freehold lowrise; it is wise to work with a realtor who can help you understand all of the nuances.
  3. Consider pre-construction for a variety of reasons. Resale is fine for some shoppers, but in many ways, it is like wildly looking in the dark. Buying early in the selling cycle of a new mid- or highrise condominium usually allows you a two-to-five year window until move-in, which means you can save more for your down payment, and you will likely earn equity before you even take possession. Many condo purchasers nowadays earn 20 to 40 per cent in equity prior to closing. This is huge for anyone, but especially young first-time buyers.
  4. Next, get your finances in order. Find out what you can afford, and buy as much as that allows for – as long as you’re comfortable with it. You know what debts you have to pay off and how much disposable income you need each month to keep up your current lifestyle. If you are downsizing from a large lowrise home, you have to decide how much money to take out of the home, how much to invest, and whether to use a condo as your main residence or a second property.

There are condominiums popping up in Regions of Peel, Halton, York and Durham, where prices are more attainable than Toronto. From Mississauga to Pickering and beyond, you will discover a plethora of choices with differing architecture, amenities, views, layouts, sizes and prices. The goal is to find the right one for you, and a realtor can help you along the way to your best decision.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. in2ition.ca


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Outlook 2020 – Fan Yang, Deputy General Manager, Aoyuan

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Outlook 2020 – Fan Yang, Deputy General Manager, Aoyuan

Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives

Condo Life: How do you see the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?

Yang: Over the past decade, Canada has become one of the most livable, safe and prosperous housing markets in the world. The country is economically stable, has a good job market, is multicultural and diverse and enjoys a well developed public education and health system.

CMHC recently forecast that new home construction and sales in the GTA will be fully recovered in 2020, offsetting the downturn attributed to the mortgage stress test and foreign buyer tax. Several conditions support the economic growth and sustained high level of new home demand, including a population that continues to experience significant growth, low interest rates and a low unemployment rate.

Highrise projects have continued to experience the fastest appreciating residential property type for GTA new-home buyers. The residential highrise building boom in Toronto shows no signs of slowing, and industry observers believe the demand for condo projects in mixed-use communities will remain strong.

In 2020, we will also see a stronger emphasis on health, wellness and community focused amenities within new developments. Expect to see more projects with community centres, daycares and private amenity spaces where people can retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. As core nodes of the city continue to intensify, the industry will be looking for new ways to make condo living easier and even more convenient. The rise of co-working amenity spaces in condos is another good example of this.

Fan Yang
Fan Yang, Deputy General Manager (Eastern Canada), Aoyuan Property Holdings (Canada) Ltd.

CL: And how does 2020 look for your company?

Yang: Aoyuan was founded on the basis on incorporating health and wellness amenities into residential developments, and our philosophy of healthy living has expanded to the creation of six different business verticals, ranging from real estate and hospitality to e-commerce. Our model creates communities that encourage people be active in their daily lives.

In every city we operate, Aoyuan handpicks local talent who understand the development landscape and nuances of the local market, bringing a hyper-local foundation to each project. Aoyuan International is rapidly growing, and we are expanding our business in the GTA with more projects in the coming year.

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

Yang: Condo living has become a very attractive option – not just for young professionals, but also for up-sizing young families and downsizing seniors. We focus on developing family-oriented products with thoughtfully designed suite layouts that really adapt to the needs of family, with amenities that support urban family living. We have responded to the needs of the market, designing some of our products to be geared towards larger families. For example, last year, at our M2M development at Yonge and Finch, we developed floorplans with dual master bedrooms suite that cater towards multi-generational living and co-housing, which received great market response.

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

Yang: The demand for affordable, family friendly product in Toronto is strong. We need more supply for this type of homebuyer. Designing for multi-generational living is more than offering our purchasers and residents a living space. We need to make it easy for people to lead healthy lifestyles in a welcoming community environment by building projects that are both beautiful and functional.

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

Yang: Aoyuan International takes a handson approach to ensure our projects’ quality and sustainability. We sourced local expertise and partners to establish a local presence in each market. We will be opening a new presentation centre for our Toronto master-planned community project – M2M – this spring.

Phase 2 of M2M is scheduled to launch in fall 2020, including tower, podium and townhome units. Located at the center of the M2M community, Phase 2 will be the pinnacle of this masterplanned development, including an integrated community centre with 46,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor space, retail, offices and family oriented amenities that fits many lifestyles and families in different sizes.

CL: Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company this year?

Yang: M2M, winner of the BILD 2019 People’s Choice Award, is Aoyuan International’s largest master-planned development in Canada. As a complete live, work, play community on the Yonge Subway Line, this 8.6-acre development will transform the Yonge & Finch neighborhood.

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 – 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 – Jordan DeBrincat, Director of Operations, Altree Developments



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Builder Profile: Menkes

Condo living has it all with Menkes communities

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Condo living has it all with Menkes communities

Gone are the days when the only gold standard for homeownership was the house in the suburbs with the white picket fence. Today many young families are setting their sights on highrise urban living, where their kids have exposure to arts, culture, and more! They can experience all that city life has to offer, and at the same time have plenty of room to play.

Enter Menkes, one of the first developers to introduce a children’s playroom as an amenity space, when it launched The Eglinton Condominium in 2014. Today – after successfully introducing both indoor and outdoor children’s spaces at its Harbour Plaza community in 2018 — the developer has even grander plans for condo living that will cater to children of all ages.

While condo living once posed challenges to residents with large families or young children, the company’s latest condo projects will elevate your ability to entertain.

Hobby room, Sugar Wharf Residences
Hobby room, Sugar Wharf Residences
Theatre, Sugar Wharf Residences
Theatre, Sugar Wharf Residences

Sugar Wharf Condominiums, part of an 11.5-acre community on Toronto’s waterfront, will offer future residents with kids a list of amenities that rivals any children’s facility, and completely eliminates the hassle of bundling them up in cold weather, in search of local indoor entertainment. Residents will have access to a hobby studio, an arts and crafts room, a music room, virtual reality space, and children’s playroom. There will also be plenty of storage close to your suite to store gear and sporting equipment.

Mobilio Community
Mobilio Community

Mobilio, Menkes’ upcoming community in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, which will include a combination of condos and townhomes, is also being developed with families in mind.

“We have really considered every member of your family right down to your pets,” says Jared Menkes, executive vice-president, highrise. “Mobilio will include a convenient petwashing station. I am also very excited about the park aspect of this project. We will have the linear park connecting all the projects together on this block and on future blocks, that provide trails and exciting ways for families to stay active.”

Indoor playroom, Mobilio
Indoor playroom, Mobilio

Mobilio will be anchored by an almost 40,000-sq.-ft. linear park, part of Vaughan’s Black Creek Renewal project, which upon completion, will establish a series of promenades, plazas and parks, spanning more than 30 acres. The community also includes attractive gathering places, walking paths and family-friendly play areas. In cold weather, families can take advantage of Mobilio’s equally family-friendly indoor playroom.

When it comes to amenities, Menkes has carefully considered everything a family would get out of living in a single-family home, and incorporates these aspects into its condos. For those who enjoy entertaining, there are sophisticated party rooms with kitchens and bar areas, and landscaped terraces equipped with barbecues.

You enjoy a quiet night in? Sugar Wharf Condos will include a state-of-the-art theatre and games lounge. And if you enjoy staying active, it will have a fitness centre with separate weight, virtual and yoga studios.

There is no doubt that with Toronto experiencing a housing shortage, and many families priced out of the single-family housing market in urban centres, condo living will continue to be the way of the future. Whether you’re looking to start your family, grow your family, downsize, or retire, Menkes offers condo amenities that will cater to every family, and every lifestyle.

Menkes Developments

For further information visit the website.


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Single-family homes web

New single-family home sales in the GTA jump in February

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New single-family home sales in the GTA jump in February

Single-family homes web

The GTA new home market in February saw the highest number of single-family homes sold since April 2017, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

There were 639 new single-family homes sold in February, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. This was up 147 per cent from last February, though still 50 per cent below the 10-year average. Sales of new condominium apartments in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, with 772 units sold, were down 58 per cent from February 2018 and down 51 per cent from the 10-year average.

“Softer new condominium apartment sales in February can, at least in part, be attributed to the rapid increase in prices in the past two years, which has priced many would-be buyers out of the market,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “The good news is that, although still relatively low in historical terms, there is now more inventory available to purchase and this is curbing the upward pressure on prices.”

ALSO READ: Budget 2019 comes up short

Remaining inventory in February included 11,269 condominium units and 5,233 single-family lots. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

Benchmark prices of both single-family homes and condominium apartments moderated slightly compared to the previous month. The benchmark price of new single-family homes was $1.12 million, down eight per cent over the last 12 months, while the benchmark price of new condominium apartments was $792,709, up 8.6 per cent over the last 12 months.

“We are hopeful that the measures introduced last week in the federal budget will enable more first-time homebuyers to enter the market and purchase the type of home they want,” says BILD President and CEO David Wilkes. “However, these measures are only the first step, and BILD will continue to advocate for a review of the mortgage stress test so more first-time homebuyers can realize the dream of homeownership.”

Wilkes adds that the GTA is still grappling with challenges around supply. “BILD is continuing to call on the provincial government and municipal governments to take the steps necessary to facilitate additional housing supply to meet the growing need across the GTA.”

February New Home Sales by Municipality

Condominium units Single-family Total
Region 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017
Durham 22 4 113 54 50 302 76 54 415
Halton 39 46 96 269 113 457 308 159 553
Peel 120 104 384 189 34 201 309 138 585
Toronto 533 1,065 1,822 4 6 42 537 1,071 1,864
York 58 641 345 123 56 447 181 697 792
GTA 772 1,860 2,760 639 259 1,449 1,411 2,119 4,209

Source: Altus Group


Budget 2019 comes up short

GTA new home sales begin 2019 on a positive note

2018 GTA new home sales drop to lowest mark in nearly 20 years





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Do YOU know what Kind of Condo You’re Buying?

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Do YOU know what Kind of Condo You’re Buying?

Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. You could, for example, purchase a condominium townhouse, or perhaps a one bedroom unit in a highrise. They are both classified as “condominiums” because you own your unit while at the same time sharing access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways (otherwise known as common elements). However, just because the townhouse and highrise unit are both condos does not necessarily mean that they are defined the same way when it comes to warranty coverage.

There are several types of condos but the most common are “standard condominiums” and “common elements condominiums.” The determination of how a condominium project will be designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When it comes time to buy, you need to know how your condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

9th & Main Condos + Towns
Pemberton Group’s 9th & Main Condos + Towns in Stouffville.

So what would this mean to you as an owner? Let’s say you’ve bought a townhouse that is part of a complex that has underground parking. If there’s a problem in the parking garage – maybe leaks, drainage issues or a faulty door – the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage. If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty will apply. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees, or it could require a special assessment on all the owners.

How your condo is designated also matters when it comes to how Tarion can help. If a builder is not taking steps to resolve common element issues, we can only assist in situations where there is warranty coverage.

For the sake of both your peace of mind and your wallet, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. And if you have questions about the types of condos and their coverage, our customer service team can help. Contact us at customerservice@tarion.com or call 1.877.9TARION.

Howard Bogach

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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THE ENGINEERING INTERN: Five reasons to cheer highrise development

Five reasons to cheer highrise development — when it’s done right

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Five reasons to cheer highrise development — when it’s done right

Reduced traffic, better commutes, improved streetscapes and more positive impacts that might turn a NIMBY into a YIMBY.

I recently attended my first community information meeting about planning for future development in the downtown core of London, Ont. The meeting helped me understand the negative stigma that residents in lowrise communities often have against highrise development close to their homes.

At this meeting, many attendees spoke out against the concept of highrise development. This inspired me to discuss the topic with other Stantec team members, including one of our planners, Stephanie Bergman. She explained that, unfortunately, this is the reality at these sorts of public meetings. The “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) voices nearly always overpower the “yes in my backyard” (YIMBY) voices. The result is less highrise development.

If highrise developers match the façade of existing buildings in the area, and couple that with new and improved landscaping, it can really improve the streetscape.
If highrise developers match the façade of existing buildings in the area, and couple that with new and improved landscaping, it can really improve the streetscape.

So, what’s the solution? According to Bergman, we need more YIMBYs taking part in the processes that will shape communities and help promote some of the positive impacts of highrise development. If highrise development is done right, there can be many positive effects. Here are five benefits that just might shift you from NIMBY to YIMBY.

Highrise development gives young professionals the opportunity to live downtown: The housing market in London has boomed over the past few years, which makes it difficult for freshly graduated young professionals to find affordable living. I fall into this category. If I want to live close to work — something I value greatly — my only option is to rent. Single-family homes in this location are too expensive. For this reason, highrise condos have become the only available means for a single person to own property downtown and, in general, close to where they work.

More people walking to work means less commuter traffic: I’ve spent my life driving everywhere I need to go in a car. Since I began renting an apartment close to work, I find myself walking rather than driving, not only to the office, but to most of the places I frequently visit. In the community information meeting, one issue that came up was increased traffic due to higher densities of people in a small area. While this makes sense in theory, the reality is if someone is looking for a place downtown, it most often means they work downtown as well. It also means that the downtown resident will likely prefer to avoid driving to work — taking transit, a bike, or walking instead — which would lower overall commuter traffic.

Many new highrise buildings utilize the ground level for commercial, retail, or some other active use.
Many new highrise buildings utilize the ground level for commercial, retail, or some other active use.

The creation of active ground floor uses: Most of the new highrise buildings I have seen developed over recent years utilize the ground level fronting city streets for commercial, retail, or some other active use. This opens new possibilities for retail shops and restaurants to open, where previously there was only a parking lot or old building that had been underutilized. This gives new life to areas that were once bare. If a new café wants to open along my walk to work, count me in!

Improved and updated streetscape: Another hot topic at the information meeting was the look of highrises near residential communities. In my experience, developers want their buildings to stand out in a good way. A lot of effort goes into the look of the building, particularly the first few floors, as these are the only floors people see when walking by. Matching the facade of existing buildings in the area, coupled with new and improved landscaping, makes areas that were once asphalt pads look renewed and become something enjoyable to see on your morning run.

More eyes on the street: Increasing the density of people in an area means more eyes on that area. This creates an artificial “neighbourhood watch,” where more people constantly interact and truly see one another. More people on the street creates an atmosphere of safety and provides informal surveillance of the urban environment. Bergman mentioned this point to me, and I find it very interesting, as it doesn’t seem like something people would think about when looking at a highrise development proposed in their area.

I’m hoping that readers can see what a highrise development done right can do for a community. There’s a value that comes with it. I’ve always seen development as progress, and progress for your city is a good thing. Let’s get more people saying YIMBY instead of NIMBY.

Derrick Rice is an engineering intern at Stantec‘s London, Ont. office.


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Building for the condo kids generation

Building for the condo kids generation

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Building for the condo kids generation

by Peter Duckworth-Pilkington, ZAS Architects

In a drive for higher density, it follows that the amenities of the suburbs must now be constructed for the highrise communities.

The last10 years have seen a massive seachange in the way we live and grow in our urban centres in Canada and nowhere is this as evident as in Toronto’s downtown. Around 66 per cent of chidren in downtown Toronto live in midrise and highrise buildings.

Since the last census in 2011, there were 10,500 more Toronto families with children living in condos, up to 129,000 from 118,000. The growth of these condo families (8.9 per cent) was more than double the growth of families (3.9 per cent) in the region.

That is a huge number of Canadians who have turned their backs on the traditional single-family home and embraced the car-free, walkable lifestyle of the urban vertical community.

This signals the need for a new model for city builders. We can’t make the same assumptions about our end users as we have done in the past. Communities like City Place are no longer just for adults and this new demographic needs all the same facilities and play spaces as kids growing up in a suburban single-family home.

In a drive for higher density downtown, it follows that the infrastructure and amenities usually reserved for the suburbs must now be constructed for the highrise communities that the majority of young people call home, which is why the Canoe Landing campus is such a landmark project for Toronto.

When ZAS Architects were first approached with the prospect of designing a 3.32-acre hub for City Place in Toronto, we were excited by the challenge it presented. This is an opportunity like no other to create a true downtown, high density community for a new generation.

Canoe Landing Campus will house a $65 million community recreation centre, public and Catholic elementary schools and a childcare centre within one innovative campus.

For over 20 years, the City Place vertical community developed one block at a time with high-density residential towers emerging around a centrally planned park. Within this park, now called Canoe Landing Park, a new social campus will merge with the landscape, completing the community with educational and public amenities absent since development began in the 1990s.

Serving an important social function, the campus architecture supports a new platform for connection. In a vertical, urban community where neighbours often experience solitary lifestyles, this interaction is vital. Conceived as a social condenser, the building program was developed through multiple community meetings attended by hundreds of residents.

From the first public meeting packed with strollers and young families, it was clear this community had very unique needs resulting from a wide demographic range, the realities of living with less square footage, and the pressures on existing public space as the population grew with each new tower constructed.

Faced with the challenges presented, ZAS Architects created an original architectural form that leveraged the synergies of co-locating the schools, community centre and childcare to reduce the building footprint and maximize open space. The new campus provides an opportunity for shared community spaces – from gardening plots to basketball courts on the roof, spaces for indoor and outdoor play, a community kitchen for canning parties and cooking classes, and a lobby space for neighbours to meet neighbours.

Sustainability is one of the key concepts that we kept coming back to during the design process. In a flip of the site’s former industrial use we ensured that the campus incorporated the latest sustainable practices from an active green roof to reducing the overall footprint of the buildings by condensing and sharing.

Community input generated innovative spaces such as indoor play areas geared to enhancing children’s motor skills and the creation of multi-purpose rooms that adapt to both active and passive uses. The community also wanted the new building to be green, reducing environmental impacts and to be resilient, providing a shelter in case of power failure or natural disaster.

Programming offers expanded possibilities for all ages. The schools share indoor play spaces, a learning commons, gymnasium and educational areas. The outdoor park and community rooms are accessible by all. A flexible design solution features two- and three-storey buildings that anchor the east side of the park. C-shaped planning maximizes solar access while sheltering play areas from the adjacent expressway. Bisected by a pedestrian corridor, the building connects through an elevated bridge forming an east-west gateway. One side of this link contains the community centre with gymnasium and fitness centre.

It was through this community-orientated approach to design that we were able to come up with a plan that should result in ab exciting urban neighbourhood. We hope that Canoe Landing Campus will become the inspiring playground for the next generation of vertical living pioneers.

Peter Duckworth-Pilkington is a principal at Toronto-based ZAS Architects.


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Record October 2017 for new condo sales

Record October 2017 for new condo sales

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Record October 2017 for new condo sales

Average price for available new detached homes rises to $1,548,888

New construction home sales soared in the GTA in the month of October, primarily driven by sales of multi-family homes, condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced November 24.

There were 5,377 new homes sold in October, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. About 91 per cent of them (4,884 units) were multi-family homes and only 9 per cent (493) were lowrise single-family homes such as detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes. Condo sales for October were 81 per cent above the 10-year average of 2,697, and the highest October yet recorded, while lowrise sales were 64 per cent below the 10-year average of 1,388.

As of the end of October, 39,476 new homes have been sold in the GTA in 2017, 82 per cent of them condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes.

“October data shows that the new homebuyer is left with very little choice when it comes to purchasing a new home,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey.

“Provincial intensification policy has our members building more high and midrise dwellings making housing choices a challenge. The cost of a single-family home is out of reach for many consumers pushing them to buy a condo over a house. As a result we are seeing record-breaking condo sales and higher prices this year for new lowrise homes.”

While supply of new housing increased again in October and reached 12,500 units, it is still well below what is considered a healthy level. Supply of new housing is typically measured by the number of new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories at the end of the month. At the end of October, there were 9,308 multi-family homes and 3,192 single-family homes available in the GTA.

“Demand for newly-built condominium apartments is being fueled by three key buyer groups – small investors who have become the de facto providers of new rental housing supply in the GTA; end user buyers who might prefer a single-family home but are seeking out more affordable options; and the more traditional end users who value the lifestyle and amenities of well-located projects,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of research consulting services.

Prices of available new homes in October increased slightly for both single-family lowrise homes and multi-family homes. The average for available new single-family homes was $1,217,428 up from $1,204,829 in September, and 29.8 per cent above last October’s average price of $937,689. The average price for available new detached homes was $1,548,888 and the average for available new townhomes was $995,571.

Meanwhile the average price of available new condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes was $677,456 in October, up from September’s $661,188. The average price per square foot was $791 and the average unit size was 857 square feet.

October 2017










































































Source: Altus Group


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Industry Report: Ontario Housing Plan Not Slowing Down GTA’s New Home Market

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Industry Report: Ontario Housing Plan Not Slowing Down GTA’s New Home Market

The Province’s Fair Housing Plan is having little real effect on the new housing market in the GTA.

The market continued to climb in June and condominium sales reached another record high and the supply of new housing remains exceptionally low.

Sales of new condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes jumped 59 per cent from May and the price of available units also rose, according to our partners at Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence.

New home sales rose 23 per cent from June 2016. So far this year, 28,889 new homes have been purchased, which is a 14 per cent increase from the same period in 2016 and 44 per cent above the 10-year average.

The Provincial Government introduced the Fair Housing Plan in April, saying it was an effort to help more people find affordable homes, increase supply, protect buyers and renters and bring stability to the real estate market. Since its introduction there has been a slowdown in the region’s resale housing market, but overall prices in the new homes market continue to rise and the supply of new homes — the number of homes available to buyers in builders’ inventories at the end of the month — continues to drop.

The supply of new homes dropped by almost 20 per cent in June to 8,661 as highrise inventory continued to fall and inventory in lowrise single family homes remained very low. In June, 10,820 new homes were available — a dramatic difference from the 18,063 new homes available a year earlier. In June 2007 there were 30,300 new homes available.

Three out of four new construction homes purchased in the GTA so far this year have been condo apartments, highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, and about 91 per cent of the 6,046 new homes sold in June were multi-family condo apartments. June’s sale of 5,495 units surpasses the previous sales record set in March and represents an 89 per cent increase from a year ago and it is more than double the 10-year average of 2,550 units sold.

The average price tag of an available new condo apartment in builder inventories in the GTA was up more than $22,000 from May to June and that’s on the heels of an increase of more $30,000 from April to May. June’s $627,000 average price marked a 34 per cent increase from a year ago. In the same period, the average price per square foot of units has gone from $587 to $742.

For many homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, condo apartments are the only affordable option for owning a home in this region. The price acceleration in the condo portion of the market is especially worrisome since it not only represents the lion’s share of new housing in the GTA, it’s also making it difficult for condos to remain the affordable option.

The ongoing drop in new housing inventory demonstrates how difficult it is for the industry to bring new homes to the market. Barriers include lack of developable land that’s serviced with critical infrastructure, excessive red tape, out-of-date zoning, and NIMBYism. With changes coming to the Ontario Municipal Board it is going to be even more challenging for the industry to bring needed new housing product to the market and the supply situation is likely to get far worse.

The record number of condominium apartment sales in June was the result of a ‘perfect storm’ of factors, Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president of Research Consulting Services, tells us. These factors include the sizeable number of units in new condo projects opened in May and June (over 8,500); demand from end-user buyers who might have preferred a single-family home but have adjusted their expectations due to lack of affordable supply; and heightened investor interest due to the rapid price increases for condo apartments in recent months.

In June, prices of available lowrise single-family homes — which included detached, semi-detached and townhomes — were also up. The average price of new lowrise single-family homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories reached $1,250,262. While this was only a slight increase from May, it was more than a 40 per cent increase from a year ago when the average price was $887,543.

BRYAN TUCKEY is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and is a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments. He can be found on Twitter (twitter.com/bildgta), Facebook (facebook.com/bildgta), and BILD’s official online blog (bildblogs.ca).


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Condo Market: Condos To Cottages

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Condo Market: Condos To Cottages

We had an unseasonably cool spring this year, something we haven’t seen for some time.

The usual transition from rain to heat was ‘middled’ by some good old fashioned spring — the season of promise as it always has been.

The market, however, hasn’t shown any signs of cooling. Kathleen didn’t scare us. Great new highrise opportunities along the subway lines present and future downtown and many places north, east and west showed their mettle. They were sold in days. As is customary, realtors within the community of choice often get the first opportunity to showcase the product to their constituents, a hint for those who want to get into their location of choice at the early stages. Everything made of wood and steel continued to dominate, offering an alternative to the highrise, often presenting larger spaces and favourable pricing. Usually found in infill pockets in your favourite neighbourhood, many of these are just another form of condominium — smaller amenity packages, correspondingly lower maintenance fees — but located in places where house pricing is unattainable for many.

Condo pricing remains favourable. Smaller spaces but still a huge gap between freehold pricing. The resale market has been crazy; average sold to asking price in recent months was reported over 111 per cent. Wow! We’re seeing the seasonal slowdown in that market although few think prices will actually drop. They typically stop rising, which is good for all.

Legacy Cottages on Lake Rosseau — coming this summer.

With the ‘condominiumization’ continuing to govern our landscape, and high housing prices still looking for more movement and opportunities just outside of the GTA, affordability is always key. Look for opportunities in cottage country. The trend towards owning more than one home, i.e. a condo in the city and a place in our great north, can only continue. The number of people owning more than one home will continue to rise perpetually.

A great opportunity should present itself in Muskoka this summer, offering homes on multi million dollar Lake Rosseau for a fraction of that price, tarting in the sub 700K range — not unlike the stacked and townhouse product that presents itself in the city for those who need a home but not a big house. Look for other cottage opportunities in other parts of the province; technology allows us to work remotely and the city remains a tough place to navigate.

The barometer is rising but the opportunities aren’t showing any signs of rest. Enjoy the summer. But if you’re in the market for a home, recreational or otherwise, keep your eyes open. We’re in full swing!

MARK COHEN is a founding partner of The Condo Store Marketing Systems, a firm specializing in the design, marketing and sales of condo and new home communities in and outside of the GTA.




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