Tag Archives: home builder

h_nov2017_home_builder_fi

Home Builder: Communities Should Work Together

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Home Builder: Communities Should Work Together

To maximize transit infrastructure

Imagine a prime piece of land near a GO Transit station in the GTA. What should be built on it? It’s an important question, especially when you consider that our region is growing by about 100,000 people a year.

An intensive pattern of development near transit hubs is just smart planning for smart growth. Giving people and businesses easy access to transit means more people use it and we maximize our public investment. BILD has long advocated for higher densities in transit station areas and along transit corridors, and has urged the province to require municipalities to update their zoning bylaws accordingly.

Recently, young professionals from the building industry gathered to discuss ideas about what they would build on such a site. The group looked at a piece of land just under 6,500 square feet in size, located at Wellington Street West and Centre Street near the Aurora GO station. Because of its proximity to a major transit station, the area is required to meet minimum density targets outlined in the Ontario Growth Plan. Yet the maximum building height permitted on the site by the Town of Aurora’s Official Plan is only six storeys.

The builders’ two creative proposals for the site aimed to fill the void known as the “missing middle,”which is the lack of midrise, townhouse and stacked townhouse housing options in the GTA. They proposed townhouses, stacked townhouses and midrise buildings of eight and nine storeys. Unfortunately, these proposals exceed the six storeys allowed in Aurora’s Official Plan.

One proposal, presented by Tyler Grinyer, a senior associate at land use planning firm Bousfields, included a three-storey townhouse on Centre Sreet and a nine-storey midrise on Wellington, with retail and a daycare on the ground floor. Grinyer’s proposed outdoor amenities included a playground and a dog run and wash station. A coffee shop with a patio was suggested for a converted heritage house on the site.

Grinyer proposed eliminating resident parking spaces — while offering on-site ride-sharing — to allow for family-friendly, three-bedroom units at lower price points. However, eliminating parking is also not permitted under Aurora’s Official Plan, which requires a minimum of one parking space for every unit.

Another proposal, presented by Barry Gula, vice president of development and engineering at Freed Developments, stayed closer to Aurora’s zoning bylaws to minimize complications in the approvals process. Gula’s project featured four-storey stacked townhouses on Centre Street and three-storey townhouses on all sides of the base of an eight-storey midrise on Wellington. It included a gym to attract GO riders as well as residents. Due to a lack of foot traffic in the area, Gula chose not to include any retail spaces.

Aurora Councillor Tom Mrakas, who participated in the discussion, explained that Aurora tries to strike a balance between revitalization and retaining its unique small-town flavour. In order to be comfortable with taller buildings, he said, local councillors and residents need to understand how greater density benefits the community.

In the GTA, we need more transit focused density to maximize the investments we are making in the infrastructure. That means working together to educate residents and local decision-makers about the importance of having more people live near transit.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), and can be found on: Twitter.com/BILDGTA) Facebook.com/BILDGTA YouTube.com/BILDGTA and BILD’s official online blog: BILDBlogs.ca

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h_oct2017_home_builder_fi

Home Builder: Survey Finds

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Home Builder: Survey Finds

What new homebuyers really want in their house

What do new homebuyers really want in their new house, townhouse or condo? Lots of storage, energy-efficient features and a great kitchen, according to a survey by BILD member Avid Ratings Canada.

The 2017 Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study, completed for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, compiled the responses of 2,775 recent new homebuyers from six provinces, including Ontario.

The survey found that the Canadian dream of owning a single-detached home is very much alive. When asked what they wanted their next home to be, 41 per cent of those surveyed said they wanted a single-detached, two-storey house and 24 per cent wanted a single detached bungalow. New homebuyers’ desire for single-detached homes has increased over the past few years. In 2015, 55.7 per cent of respondents identified single-detached as their preferred next home purchase, whereas this year, 65 per cent of respondents stated that preference.

New homebuyers across Canada said they are willing to make trade-offs to be able to afford their next home. The study found that almost 23 per cent would be willing to accept a smaller home and 20 per cent said they would be willing to live further from work and amenities to make their next home more affordable. Eighteen per cent said they would be willing to accept unfinished spaces in the home and 17 per cent said they would accept fewer community features.

The study also compiled a list of respondents’ top 10 must have home features. Survey results specific to the GTA showed that, not surprisingly, storage was a prominent theme with new homebuyers wanting plenty of space to park their belongings, from clothes to towels to cars. Walk-in closets were at the top of the top 10 must-have home features, and linen closets and two-car garages also made the list.

The kitchen was another key theme on the list. New homebuyers in the GTA said they want a kitchen that connects with living and dining areas, and they placed open-concept layouts and kitchen islands on their wish list. The majority also said they want that kitchen island and other counters to be topped with quartz rather than granite.

Energy efficiency was also important to new homebuyers in the GTA, according to the study. Among their must-haves were high-efficiency windows, energy-efficient appliances, certification by a designated program such as Energy Star and an overall energy-efficient home. As well, LED lighting and solar power generation were found to be growing in popularity.

When asked what motivated them to seek energy efficiency, only 16 per cent of new homebuyers across Canada cited concern for the environment. The majority, some 60 per cent, said their main motivation was lower utility costs. Fifty-eight per cent of survey respondents said they would be willing to spend an extra $3,000 to $5,000 on their next home to save $1,200 per year on utilities.

Surveys such as the Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study are part of the extensive market research that the new homebuilding industry undertakes regularly. This research helps builders understand what new homebuyers are looking for, so they can build it.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), and can be found on: Twitter.com/BILDGTA) Facebook.com/BILDGTA YouTube.com/BILDGTA and BILD’s official online blog: BILDBlogs.ca

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h_jun17_home_builder_fi

Home Builder: Why It’s High Time For Midrise Developments

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Home Builder: Why It’s High Time For Midrise Developments

The industry has repeatedly asked for more predesignation and pre-zoning of land to encourage more of this type of development. Some people are suggesting the construction of more midrise residences to potentially ease housing supply challenges in the GTA.

Midrise development typically refers to structures up to 11 storeys that can be built in walkable, transit-oriented neighbourhoods. Done well, midrise is people-friendly housing that fits into existing neighbourhoods and doesn’t overpower the lower density that usually surrounds main streets.

In 2010, the city of Toronto released “The Avenues and Midrise Buildings Study,” which called for more growth along arterial corridors known as “The Avenues,” and gentle intensification in the form of midrise buildings that would be compatible with the adjacent neighbourhoods.

While the study itself was admirable, the city has yet to take the necessary actions to enable the development community to readily deliver midrise buildings. The city’s planning department has not taken the critical next steps to update zoning bylaws in support of midrise development. Our industry has repeatedly asked for more pre-designation and pre-zoning of land to encourage more such development, but it has yet to happen.

Despite the challenges, BILD members are finding ways to deliver midrise housing options. According to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market insight, 39 per cent of the new condo apartment projects that were launched in the GTA between 2014 and 2016 were in buildings of nine storeys or less. While 25 per cent of the new condominium apartment buildings in Toronto were under 10 floors, 61 per cent of those were in 905 municipalities.

Many BILD members have been constructing midrise buildings for years. Ronald Herczeg at Insoho Developments, for instance, has made an art of designing midrise buildings. The loft conversion of The Malthouse at the Distillery District, for instance, is one of Insoho’s signature developments. It features 10 unique units that exemplify the building form. Insoho is now selling Imagine, at Kennedy Rd. and St. Clair Ave. E., which features striking contemporary architecture along one of the city’s designated main streets.

As the Altus numbers showed, the industry is building midrise developments across the entire GTA. PACE on Main, by Geranium Corp., is currently under construction in Stouffville and SigNature Communities brought Triumph, a seven-storey midrise in the heart the old village of Schomberg, to the market with great success.

Last year we changed many of the categories in our annual industry awards program, BILD Awards, to better reflect our members’ work in midrise. Among the advances was the introduction of a new category for Best Midrise Building Design.

It was won by the VANDYK Group of Companies for The Craftsman Condominium Residences in Mississauga’s Clarkson Village. The project includes almost 300 homes, in one- to three-bedroom units ranging in size from 602 to and 1,750 square feet.

The finalists in the category this year are all located in Toronto and range from luxury developments to a project featuring a range of housing units, including some priced for firsttime buyers. The winner for 2017 was George Condos + Towns, located in Leslieville on Queen Street East, by the Rockport Group. It is an eight-storey condo with 80 suites and eight towns, priced from $360,000 to $1.2 million, with suites ranging in size for 525 to 2,065 square feet.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), and can be found on Twitter (Twitter.com/BILDGTA), Facebook (Facebook.com/BILDGTA), YouTube (YouTube.com/BILDGTA) and BILD’s official online blog (BILDBlogs.ca).

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Mattamy Homes

Editor’s Choice: Mattamy Homes

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Editor’s Choice: Mattamy Homes

You’re never far from a Mattamy home

It’s no accident that Mattamy Homes is Canada’s largest homebuilder. They’ve spent nearly 40 years committed to carefully planning communities and building places that people love to call home. As a testament to how much people love their Mattamy homes, the family that lived in the first home Mattamy ever built stayed in that home for over 25 years. Since that first home was built, Mattamy has gone on to build over 70,000 homes in hundreds of communities across Canada and the United States.

It’s not just the number of homes Mattamy has built that illustrates its success, it’s the amount of research, planning, and design that truly sets them apart. Mattamy is rigorous about every single aspect of community planning. Mattamy assesses the landscape and determines what natural elements can be preserved, then, anticipating how people want to live and play in their community, they introduce amenities like parks, trails and other features that deliver anything families might enjoy. The result is a plethora of well-planned communities that are distinct yet integrate with the nature that surrounds it.

What’s truly remarkable about the way Mattamy builds is how much thoughtful design goes into every square foot of each home. This approach to design has become Mattamy’s signature, giving homes distinctive architectural features that make the spaces completely functional and aesthetically brilliant.

Features like breakfast bars in spacious kitchens, perfect for a Sunday breakfast with the whole family; open-concept rooms with high ceilings and large windows, keeping rooms bright and inviting; or Mattamy’s famous Stop & Drops coat hooks and cubbies that make coming home fast and easy. These are hallmarks of Mattamy’s commitment to designing and building homes for how people actually use them.

Mattamy’s exclusive Architect’s Choice Options gives homeowners real personal choice in designing their home to suit specific needs and wants by giving purchasers the opportunity to make pre-approved structural changes to their home before construction even begins.

Additionally, Mattamy’s extraordinary Design Studio offers a magnificent array of finishes and features that let homeowners create a home that better reflects their personal tastes. Known for their attention to superior customer service, Mattamy thoughtfully assigns everyone their own consultant to provide expert guidance through the wealth of options in colours, textures and styles.

Whether you’re looking for a live/work townhome in an established master-planned community, or an upscale 60-foot luxury home in a prestigious neighbourhood, or anything in between, Mattamy has a home that’s just right for you. Mattamy makes homes you’ll value for a lifetime.

MATTAMY HOMES

Find your next home by vising Mattamy’s website.

MattamyHomes.com


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