Tag Archives: homebuilders

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The Power Seat – building industry CEOs call for government change

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The Power Seat – building industry CEOs call for government change

The Power Seat is a new feature series in which we put one pointed question to a select, specific audience.

We asked CEO level executives among the homebuilding community:

“You have been invited to a meeting with representatives of municipal, provincial and federal governments, and it’s your turn to speak. What do you say to them?”

Joe Vaccaro
CEO, Ontario Home Builders’ Association

This year is one of continual growth, which presents the opportunity to respond to the current and future challenges Ontarians face. All levels of government project an increase in Ontario’s population of 2.6 million #homebelievers by 2031. Change is where need meets opportunity.

We need more housing supply and choice across Ontario, and that means housing can be a cornerstone solution to climate change, the employment skills gap and the economy. Instead of viewing growth as a problem, let’s view it as the change opportunity for the type of future, communities and neighbourhoods that Ontarians want to call home.

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Dave Wilkes
President and CEO, BILD

All three levels of government need to work collaboratively, rather than in silos, and with one agenda, rather than competing ones. With a housing affordability and supply problem impacting the GTA, we need solutions-oriented collaboration.

We need to make it simpler to bring new homes to market by streamlining the process, faster to build new homes by reducing approval times, and fairer by making sure fees and taxes are equitable

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Gary Switzer
Chief Executive Officer MOD Developments, Toronto

Help us do our job to create new housing. We have a shortage of housing because of the lack of supply. Don’t look at new housing as a golden goose that you can keep laying on more and more municipal charges. Right now, about 24 per cent of the cost of all new housing is going to some level of government in the form of taxes, levies, charges and fees.

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Daniel Berholz
President, The Rose Corporation

The three levels of government, as well as builders and developers, may all have different constituencies, but our objectives are remarkably similar.

Affordable housing works for all of us. Good planning works for all of us. Good design works for all of us. Building Green buildings works for all of us. Governments working together with developers works for all of us and can help facilitate all of this.

At The Rose Corporation, we accomplished exactly this, working with York Region, the Town of Newmarket and the federal government (CMHC). Together, we are now building a sustainable, complete and better overall community for having worked in close consultation with each other.

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Johnathan Schickedanz
General Manager, FarSight Homes, President, Durham Region Home Builders’ Association

The largest issue surrounds climate change, GHG emissions and resilience in new housing. Over the next decade, these may be some of the biggest changes our industry will face. Our building code is about to be changed to begin steering the industry towards net-zero homes.

Government needs to support the R&D side of the construction industry so that new and better products can be developed. Net-zero homes are achievable. There are a number of builders that have already constructed a discovery home and are looking at the ability to market this in a production capacity. Although from a technical perspective this is achievable, it will come at a significant cost. Net-zero homes will not be cheap.

The bigger question, then, is, will such initiatives be affordable? This is what governments will have to balance. When they regulate such a high minimum standard, our industry will be forced to meet the requirements. This is where R&D pays back. We need materials and products that are approved and available at the best price points possible to adopt into our building program.

Government should keep a close eye on the timing for mandating high standards of construction, and be mindful that affordability must be a top priority in the implementation.

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John DiMichele
CEO, Toronto Real Estate Board

Housing affordability is one of the most important issues facing Canadians today. TREB remains diligent, along with other real estate boards and associations across Canada, in urging all levels of government to remove barriers and reduce the cost of homeownership.

With all levels of government in Canada, plus reputable international bodies acknowledging that we have a housing supply problem, and specifically the affordability pressures facing the GTA, it’s imperative for the growth of our city and region that we have flexible housing market policies that will help sustain balanced market conditions over the long term.

The time is now and policymakers need to translate their acknowledgment of supply issues into concrete solutions in 2020 to bring a greater array of ownership and rental housing online. As always, TREB will be there to help policymakers have the right impact on the market and Canadians.

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 cl_feb2020_the_power_seat_bob_finniganBob Finnigan
Principal and COO of Acquisition & Housing, Herity, Toronto

 The bottom line is this: Unless we can shorten the time it takes to bring developments through the approval process and to market faster, demand is going to continue to outstrip supply.

There have been some very positive enhancements the provincial government has put through to try and reduce these timeframes, by reducing red tape and other changes, and we’re grateful for that.

But in many cases the Province and the municipalities do not see eye to eye on how policies should be applied, and this constant fighting continuously thwarts the positive efforts and mires the process.

We have to work together – the politicians, building industry and public – to accept growth, have growth pay for growth, and not for unrelated municipal spending as well. We need to plan to have adequate supply of all types of housing, but especially what is missing in our urban areas today – the two- and three-bedroom midrise condos – the “missing middle.”

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Niall Collins
President, Great Gulf Residential, Toronto

It’s vital that all three levels of government work together to address the housing affordability issue by increasing the supply of housing to meet demands of growth in the GTA for decades to come.

Sustained infrastructure growth requires multi-level government support partnering with private enterprise to foster innovation in procurement and delivery and that the planning approval process is streamlined to avoid increased costs which impact housing affordability.

The cities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe need to actually adopt and implement provincial policies on development densities near transport nodes. Ultimately, the homeowners carry the burden of the increased costs from a lack of land supply, approval delays and development charge increases.

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Christopher Alexander
Executive Vice-President and Regional Director, ReMax of Ontario- Atlantic Canada

Canadian economists and politicians have spent the better part of the last decade sighing with relief and sharing kudos for having skirted the U.S. housing crisis. Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadians are on a rollercoaster ride, as a result of government intervention and other factors. We’ve experienced record-high housing prices, record-low interest rates, economic downturns, and domestic speculators and foreign investors pushing people out of their homes because they can’t afford to live there anymore. We’ve seen housing inventory drop, and new development hindered by red tape and mounting development fees.

We need to keep up with housing demand to maintain sustainable housing values. It’s a complex issue with many moving parts.

To Mayor John Tory: Eliminate the municipal Land Transfer Tax, or at the very least, cap it. With Toronto’s ever-increasing property values, this tax is prohibitive in an already unaffordable market. The prospect of having to pay double LTT is deterring some move-up buyers from listing their homes, further straining the already low housing supply. How do you intend to stimulate housing market activity?

To Premier Doug Ford: Domestic and foreign immigration to Ontario is critical to a healthy economy, but as you work to continue attracting the biggest and best businesses to the province, where will you house the employees and their families? Housing supply is critically low, with developers stuck behind red tape and buried under development fees, preventing them from building the homes Ontarians so desperately need.

To Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Canada needs a National Housing Strategy that addresses inventory and affordability in our cities. Many Canadians, especially Millennials, new immigrants and those employed in the so-called “gig economy” feel homeownership is becoming less tangible by the day. While politicians of all stripes acknowledge the mounting urgency of affordable housing, few are offering any timely or compelling solutions. Focus on creating supply and affordability in a sustainable way, instead of continuing to support corrective measures that have constrained Canadians from participating in the economically beneficial practice of homeownership.

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How to run a business that thrives in any economy

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How to run a business that thrives in any economy

Long-time readers will be familiar with Breakthrough Academy, the B.C.-based business coaching and management program designed specifically for contractors and homebuilders. In case you missed it, earlier this year we were invited to attend their Winter Summit in Colorado. You can read Allan Britnell’s recap of the event here.

On Oct. 3, BTA will be hosting a roundtable discussion in Mississauga on “How to Run a Business That Thrives in Any Economy,” followed by a mix-and-mingle social. The event is free for Renovation Contractor readers to attend. Click here more information and to register.

 

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A stately estate

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A stately estate

A contemporary outdoor colour palette blends seamlessly with a garden rooted in history

Photography By Gillian Jackson

Since the beginning of time, humans have toiled to impose order over the terrain and create art from the landscape. Formal gardens have a long history; from the Middle Ages, English country manors borrowed from the jardin à la française (literally, garden in the French manner) who learned horticultural pursuits from Italian Renaissance gardeners. Before that, planned gardens can be traced back centuries to the Middle East.

But some present-day residential lots defy order, and pose a dilemma to new homebuilders, especially when the lot is on a corner; it’s curve-shaped and it’s not level. Where do you situate the house so it will embrace the terrain?

When realty and history collide

For these homeowners, building a stately, French chateau-style home on an irregular lot wasn’t the only plan. In spite of the curves, they also wanted lush formal gardens. David Small Designs, located in Mississauga, created the home – reflecting the best of French Renaissance architecture, which embraces the irregularly-shaped lot. The hardscaping, landscaping and pool design was entrusted to ProScape Land Design Inc. in Oakville who formalized the exterior plan.

“THE FORMALITY OF THE STONE PATHWAY GIVES WAY TO a wonderful mix of contemporary, traditional and cottage-style elements THAT WORK BEAUTIFULLY TOGETHER ON THE ENTERTAINING SIDE OF THE YARD. “

Making a formal, first impression

The large gables, bold, steeply-pitched rooflines and warm, light-coloured stone on the entire exterior of the home set the tone. The landscapers replicated those warm tones in stone pillars, walls and raised garden beds. The placement of the gated entry with ornate wrought ironwork was carefully considered to preserve the mature trees on the property. Boxwood hedges, natural stone pavers and symmetrical plantings were added to give a formal air to the public side of the house.

Layered and lush

The formality of the stone pathway gives way to a wonderful mix of contemporary, traditional and cottage-style elements that work beautifully together on the entertaining side of the yard.

Here, symmetry and balance add a contemporary element poolside; graduated steps lead you from the ankle-deep shallow end to the deep end; gas-operated fire bowls flank the pool and three modern, bronze waterfall features spill from the expansive stone wall.

Traditional plantings

Like a traditional garden, boxwood hedges and cedars frame beds of Chanticleer pear trees, Hosta plants and Japanese and native grasses. Even the white hydrangeas seem to pay homage to historical English Rose gardens, while adding to the understated green-and-white scheme. However, a jolt of electric teal, blues and lime green in the lounges, chairs and ottoman fabric remind us this is where we have fun!

The stone path continues to lead us to a stone wall and pergola-framed lounge area with lots of cosy seating around a large, gas firepit. It’s perfect for roasting marshmallows on a long summer night.

Loggia-style outdoor, covered deck

With entertaining in mind, the homeowners wanted an outdoor living and dining room with a wood-burning fireplace, large table for dining and an unobstructed view of the pool. A medium stained, bead-board ceiling adds a cottage feel, even at 11-feet high! Surprisingly, the curved, wicker seating arrangement by the grand, stone fireplace and the glassed-in balcony work harmoniously together. Stone steps that connect the deck to the pool level offer yet another place to perch and enjoy the view.

So, where is the lawn?

Instead of grass, the homeowners opted for artificial turf for the rest of the yard, now a large dog park devoted to their two Portuguese water dogs. Can you say, “spoiled”?

Contemporary or traditional, formal or wild, gardens are meant to be enjoyed; after all, they are our little piece of paradise.

SOURCES HOUSE, designed by David Small Designs, Built including covered porch, CMA Group POOL, Gib-san Pools LANDSCAPE designed & executed ProScape Land Design Inc. (front yard, dog yard, pergola & pool side) FIRE BOWLS, Grand Effects OUTDOOR FURNITURE, Southport Outdoor Living DECOR, Home Sense & Pier 1 COVERED PORCH LIGHTING Pottery Barn

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com

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Tarion names winners of 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards

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Tarion names winners of 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards

Tarion web

Tarion Warranty Corp. has named the winners of its annual Homeowners’ Choice Awards for outstanding builders who received the highest ratings from homebuyers across the province. These are the only awards that focus solely on customer service and are based on feedback from homeowners.

The recipients of the 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards are:

  • Brookfield Residential – Highrise Category
  • Hayhoe Homes – Large Volume Category
  • Timberland Homes – Medium Volume Category
  • Chris King and Sons Construction Ltd. – Small Volume Category

In 2017, Tarion introduced a new honour – the Ernest Assaly Award – for an Ontario builder that demonstrates a commitment to building quality and innovation, customer service and community involvement. Similar to a lifetime achievement award, a builder can receive this recognition only once.

The recipient of the 2019 Ernest Assaly Award is The Daniels Corporation.

“A new home is a place to make memories,” says Tarion President and CEO Howard Bogach, “and a builder has a big role in determining whether a homeowner’s first memories are positive ones. Thanks to their exemplary customer service, this year’s award recipients not only met – but exceeded – expectations and by so doing set an example for others to follow.”

The Homeowners’ Choice Awards are presented annually based on the results of surveys completed by new homebuyers from across the province. In 2018, Tarion polled 54,518 new-home buyers, asking them about their builder’s performance before, during and after they moved into their new home. More than 11,376 homeowners responded and their feedback determined the recipients for outstanding customer service in the four categories.

The Ernest Assaly Award recognizes the highest level of excellence in Ontario home building while honouring the legacy of Ernest Assaly, a highly respected leader in the residential building industry who was Tarion’s first Chair. Only a select number of Ontario builders met the rigorous criteria required to receive an invitation to make a submission. The recipient of the Ernest Assaly Award is determined by Tarion’s board of directors.

“A well-built home backed by excellent customer service equals a satisfied homeowner,” says Bogach. “Through Tarion’s awards program, these happy homeowners are able to recognize their builders for going the extra mile, and this helps build confidence in the new home building industry as a whole. We congratulate this year’s recipients for their success in creating a positive home-buying experience that their homeowners are happy to share.”

For the full list of Homeowners’ Choice Awards finalists, click here. For the full list of the Ernest Assaly Award finalists, click here.

RELATED READING

Consumer Protection: The Homeowners’ Choice Awards

 

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Buying a new home and have some questions? Ask now, and ask often

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Buying a new home and have some questions? Ask now, and ask often

BILDGTA_TSA web

“Got questions? We have answers.” If you’re a prospective new-home buyer in the GTA, you may have noticed an advertising campaign with these and other similar messages lately.

The “we” is GTA homebuilders, and through a Building Answers public awareness campaign launched by their representative body, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), they aim to provide the answers.

Indeed, this six-week program that began in early April should be just beginning of ongoing communications with homebuyers.

Comprising billboard, transit and media advertising and other communications, Building Answers strives to do just that – provide answers to many of the questions GTA homeowners and prospective homebuyers have.

It’s a long list. Here are some of them:

  • Why is there so much development in the GTA?

  • Do we really need all these condominiums and other developments?

  • What makes up the cost of a new home or condominium?

  • How does transit benefit from new development?

  • How much do homebuilders make on an average project?

  • Why does the price of homes in the GTA keep rising?

And the big one, for those who have been saving to buy a home, only to watch on the sidelines as prices continue to rise:

  • Will I ever be able to afford a home in the GTA?

These are not fictitious, marketing-oriented questions. They are actual queries from would-be homebuyers who legitimately wonder when, and how, they’ll be able to buy a home here. And if they can’t, should they look, and consider moving, elsewhere?

There are countless other questions, of course, and you can view the detailed answers to all of them – and ask your own – at a dedicated website buildinganswers.ca.

If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars – or beyond a million – on a home, you have every right to ask all the questions you want. And if you don’t get an answer that satisfies you, ask again. Or move along to another builder.

With Building Answers, the companies that provide these new-home buying opportunities in the GTA have demonstrated they are open to the discussion.

Even beyond the scope of this program – raise your hand and ask all the questions you need to.

RELATED READING

GTA builders launch public awareness campaign

Development in the GTA

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

 

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