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Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

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Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

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

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

We’re going to see strong demand fueled by record population growth. The period from August 2018 to July 2019 was the largest 12-month population increase in Canada’s history. And the industry is not building enough housing, especially rental housing. At the end of November 2019, ReMax predicted a six-per-cent increase in the average cost of a Toronto resale home in 2020 – fueled by demand that just isn’t being met.

Deena Pantalone
Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

Ben Myers of Bullpen Research says Toronto needs 22,000 new rental apartments a year to create a healthy vacancy rate of three per cent. If you include all the new purpose-built rental units coming on, say 4,000, plus if you assume that three-quarters of all new condos will be rented, then we’re still falling 9,000 units short. That’s not good for renters, homeowners or the health of our economy.

One thing I definitely see is that people are open to new ideas, new technology and design that will make their lives easier and give them time for the important things in their lives. And that means property technology (Proptech) will become more and more central to their lives, and to the building industry in general.

And what’s the outlook for National Homes?

For decades now, National has focused on putting the needs of our customers first, and that’s what our You are the Blueprint philosophy is all about.

This year, we’re introducing a wide range of “Bright Ideas” that were developed at National’s inaugural Blueprint Workshop. Globally recognized leaders in the fields of technology, product development and design, participated in group interactions and the co-creation process. Also taking part were dozens of past and prospective National buyers of varied ages and demographics; National staff architects, designers and engineers; and students from York University’s Schulich School of Business real estate master’s program. The results are now being unveiled in our newest communities.

What is National Homes doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

Our Bright Ideas are intended to make people’s lives simpler, from innovative Proptech to design solutions. We are introducing four different townhome projects, from Courtice in the east to Burlington in the west. We are also introducing new construction thinking, such as our Panergy Wall Systems that bring factory efficiency and quality with significant energy cost savings, year after year.

We’re also making it easier for young families to own with plans for flexible down payment programs.

What more could the industry do to address these issues?

It’s all about innovation! The building industry hasn’t changed much in 100 years. New thinking, new products, new technology… the only way we’re going to adapt to the needs of a new millennium are by doing things differently and better.

Our industry needs new ways of building that save time, and therefore money, new products that save real dollars in energy costs, new construction methods that reduce waste and improve quality.

What should prospective new-home buyers know about National Homes for 2020?

In Bradford, we have 40 detached ravine lot homes from the mid $800’s at The Forest. In east Brampton’s Three Rivers Claireville, we have Phase 2 of our townhomes, right next to the 850- acre Claireville Conservation Area. In Burlington, we’re launching townhomes at Tyandaga Heights on Brant Street, by the Tyandaga Golf Course. And in Courtice, we’re introducing The Vale by National, backing onto woods and a stream.

Why should homebuyers consider buying from your company in 2020?

We design with the needs of our customers in mind. That’s more than a motto, it’s central to the way we work. Our Blueprint Workshops are the spark that drives our design. We learn what people want; what they wish builders could offer; then we create the communities, the homes and the features that satisfy those dreams. And we’re building communities from east to west, so if you’re looking for a National home, we’re where you want to live.

Special Report: Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing, Fieldgate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Development Inc.

Outlook 2020 – Mike Parker, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Georgian International Build Corp.

Outlook 2020 – Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

Outlook 2020 – Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager, Regal Crest Homes



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Live on the edge of spectacular at Three Rivers Claireville by National Homes

Live on the edge of spectacular at Three Rivers Claireville by National Homes

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Live on the edge of spectacular at Three Rivers Claireville by National Homes

Imagine an 850-acre conservation area for your family’s neighbourhood playground. Then picture a stunning townhome with your own private backyard. Add in an incredible price from the $680,000s and you’ll see why National’s Three Rivers Claireville is the hottest community around. It’s simply Brampton’s best new home value!

In this picturesque setting on the edge of the Humber Valley where three rivers meet, National has designed the perfect Brampton neighbourhood. Choose from a fabulous collection of three- and four-bedroom townhomes with contemporary finishes filled with bright ideas for modern living.

The vision for these remarkable designs was inspired by a revolutionary event called The National Homes Blueprint Workshop chaired by IBM’s Director of Design and Head of Worldwide Client Programs, Karel Vredenburg. A group of more than 70 participants, including National homeowners, took part in discussions, presentations and interviews, learning about innovative products from building and design professionals and sharing their thoughts in a thinktank format. You can see the results in the bright ideas that National has introduced here.

Picture starting your morning with a warm shower that automatically turned on with your alarm clock. Imagine the peace of mind if you could see who’s at the door when you’re at work. How much easier to clean veggies if your kitchen faucet turned on with the wave of your hand. How much tidier the kitchen would be if there was one place that the whole family could charge their devices, write messages, keep notes and school forms and everything. What if your home automatically turned the lights off when you fell asleep reading your book? Buyers at Three Rivers can select from a menu of Bright Ideas that will give them more time to spend on the important things.

Located where east Brampton meets Woodbridge meets north Etobicoke, this inspired community will be an oasis of green beauty. In addition to its vast conservation and river setting, a brand new city park will be built as part of the community. Residents will benefit from the landscaped park’s lush greenspace, pathways, and playgrounds.

Living next to Claireville Conservation Area is like nowhere else in the GTA and growing up here is every kid’s dream life. Grabbing a fishing pole and heading out to the river with your dad on sunny Saturday morning. Learning all the names of the horses at Claireville Ranch, taking riding lessons and going out on horseback to explore the acres of forest trails. Hundreds of species of birds, fish, plants and trees as well as white-tailed deer and other small mammals inhabit the natural and forested acres that make up this hidden gem so close to urban life. In fact, Claireville is one of the largest urban parks of its kind.

Three Rivers puts everything at your doorstep. Just minutes away are downtown Brampton, Heart Lake, Caledon, Woodbridge, Kleinberg village, Meadowvale, Toronto’s International Airport, Vaughan Mills and Square One.

Getting around the GTA is easy with the 407 ETR just down the road. It only takes 15 minutes to deliver you to Pearson International Airport, where you can pick up visiting family and friends, or fly off on that dream holiday.

Three Rivers Claireville is a community built on bright ideas. Offering the best of nature and neighbourhood at a great price, the community surpasses any other townhome opportunity. Choose east Brampton’s best townhome value. The first releases sold out quickly.

Three Rivers Claireville

The Sales Centre is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends; closed Friday. Register now to preview.


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Model Home Feature: The Forest Phase 2 by National Homes

Model Home Feature: The Forest Phase 2 by National Homes

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Model Home Feature: The Forest Phase 2 by National Homes

Pottery Barn model full of bright ideas.

Visit National Homes‘ model at The Forest 2 and ask what your home can do for you. The builder has looked to Pottery Barn for inspiration in the exquisite model home designed by David Nosella. New bright ideas from National are built into the model as well for visitors to see. How neat would it be having a Family Smart Centre where the whole family can charge their devices, keep notes and school memos? From the added safety of a WiFi Video Doorbell and main door Smart lock to the organization of a Family Drop Zone with shelves and hanging hooks, these inspired innovations are all about making life easier so you have more time to spend on the important things. Model home now open.

The Forest, Phase 2


Optional bright ideas upgrades include:

  • Closet organizer with revolving shoe rack
  • Voice-activated Smart shower in the spa ensuite
  • Convenient laundry room pull-down drying rack
  • Pull-down kitchen cupboards
  • Motion sensor faucets



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National Homes

Bright ideas come out of National Homes’ Blueprint Design Lab

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Bright ideas come out of National Homes’ Blueprint Design Lab

Society is undergoing a time of groundbreaking change. Advanced technology, Green initiatives, smart cities, robotics; it’s all taking place as the largest single demographic, Baby Boomers, are handing the reins to Millennials, a group with very different perspectives and needs.

The Forest Phase 2 Model Home.
The Forest Phase 2 Model Home.

To steer a successful course and to thrive, the team at National Homes has deeply leaned into their core philosophy and longtime tagline: You are the Blueprint. One of the GTA’s most celebrated names, National Homes is renowned for its customer focus, as the company designs, builds, markets and sells homes based entirely on their understanding of clients’ needs.

This promise inspired the company to create a new and experiential concept, The Blueprint Workshop. National Homes wanted to re-imagine the way the company listened to its customers and design their homes. Having employed traditional focus groups and online survey methodologies for more than 20 years, National’s goal in creating the Blueprint Workshop series was to find a new way to engage participants far beyond the standard notions.

The vision was to revolutionize the way new home consumer research is accomplished, thereby raising the bar for innovative thinking around home design, with a particular focus on the fast-developing “smart home” connectivity technology of the future.

National’s inaugural Blueprint Workshop event was held at the IBM Innovation Space, welcoming globally recognized leaders in the fields of technology, product development, and design, who participated in group interactions and the co-creation process. Also taking part were dozens of past and potential National buyers of varied ages and demographics: National staff architects, designers and engineers; and students from York University’s Schulich School of Business real estate master’s program. The group then rolled up their sleeves and held deep discussions, presentations, interviews and educational sessions, all in a thinktank format.

Many groundbreaking ideas from that first Blueprint Workshop are already working their way into homes of new National communities. For example, when new-home buyers indicated that they want more input into the building of their homes than just choosing cabinets and countertops, the builder responded by launching a new customer service initiative that combines the best use of technology, with hands-on involvement.

At National’s new forward-looking Blueprint Design Lab, customers can personalize their new home to reflect their style using the Virtual Interior Design Tool that makes the decor selection process more fun, creative, and efficient. National’s R&D Department regularly tests products, materials and techniques in the Blueprint Design Lab, particularly with sustainability in mind, and this is where future Blueprint Workshops will also be held.

To provide blueprint-to-welcome mat updates for customers, another innovative use of technology by National is The Homeowner Portal that connects buyers to the design and construction of their home from the moment they decide to buy until long after they move in.

The builder is constantly pushing the envelope to source the latest and the best, with a commitment to use advanced thinking to make a real difference in the way people live in their home. National calls these Bright Ideas. Things such as smart thermostats to keep costs low, smart locks and cameras to keep residents safe, and built-in recycling areas to make responsible waste sorting easy. Incorporating these Bright Ideas and others make National homes smarter, more responsive and energy-efficient, a very Bright Idea in itself.

New-home buyers care about energy efficiency, sustainability, carbon footprint, smart home products and much more. They also care about functionality, convenience and comfort. Many Bright Ideas take comfort to a whole new level. Imagine a closet organizer with revolving shoe rack in the dressing room, pulldown cupboards and motion sensor faucets in the kitchen, a voice-activated smart shower in the spa ensuite that controls on/off, water temperature and flow, and a convenient pull-down drying rack in the laundry room. Simplifying life is a Bright Idea, too.

It’s already happening for National buyers at The Forest Phase 2, who will enjoy many Bright Ideas as standard features. Residents will benefit from a main door smart lock and Wi-Fi video doorbell, and the ultimate help to stay uncluttered: a drop zone with storage, shelves and hanging hooks, and a family centre with desk. This is fitted with a whiteboard and shelving to display and store messages, school forms, family calendar and various other odds and ends with no place to go in a typical home, this exciting Bright Idea also has a hidden charging station for multiple smart devices.

IBM Blueprint Workshop.
IBM Blueprint Workshop.

Involving buyers in the process, National aims to provide innovative new solutions by thinking ahead and designing the homes of the future, today. Interested potential purchasers can sign up online to participate in scheduled Blueprint Workshops related to upcoming new National communities in the early planning stages.


For more on National’s Bright Ideas, Blueprint Workshops, Blueprint Design Lab, current and upcoming communities, visit the website.


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National Homes - The Forest Phase 2

National Homes’ The Forest Phase 2 is a spectacular sequel in Bradford

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National Homes’ The Forest Phase 2 is a spectacular sequel in Bradford

The second and final phase is coming to The Forest, completing a community that has come to represent the very best of Bradford. But you’ll have to be swift to call The Forest Phase 2 home.

Starting from only $699,990, these are the lowest priced detached homes in the Bradford and Newmarket area. Furthermore, this is a limited release of fully detached homes up to 3,473 sq. ft. that check all the boxes on every wish list and more.

The Forest Phase 2 is full of bright ideas. Once again, National Homes has raised the bar, offering buyers a truly state-of-the-art new-home buying experience at the company’s Blueprint Design Lab and a home they will be proud of, with advanced energy-efficient and smart home technology. The future has come to The Forest Phase 2.

Lush surroundings

As its eponymous name suggests, The Forest Phase 2 is surrounded by lush forest. Elegant detached homes with up to five bedrooms on 36- and 40-ft. lots boast gracious elevations of stone, stucco and classic brick. Buyers will move into an established National community as Phase 1 is completed and families are already enjoying their new homes.

With 25 years of experience, scores of inspired communities and more than 15,000 homes built, National Homes has become one of the GTA’s most celebrated names. But to National, it’s only ever been all about the homebuyer. The team at National has really leaned into their core philosophy and longtime tagline: You are the Blueprint. The company has initiated a series of Blueprint Workshops where homebuyers are invited to participate. Its R&D department regularly tests products, materials and techniques. A new Bright Ideas initiative offers advanced tools and technology such as smart ventilation, built-in recycling areas, smart thermostats, and more that make National homes smarter, more responsive and more energy-efficient.

Planning for The Forest Phase 2 included a Blueprint Workshop with potential Bradford buyers to discuss which Bright Ideas would be of most value for growing families here. As a result, residents at The Forest Phase 2 will enjoy optional and standard features such as a WiFi video doorbell, main door Smart lock, a family drop zone with storage shelves and hanging hooks, and a family allocated smart centre with desk. This exciting Bright Idea has a hidden charging station, whiteboard and shelving to store and display the family calendar, mail, messages, and school forms, all those odds and ends with no place to go in a typical home.

In addition, a range of dreamy comforts are offered as options, such as a closet organizer with revolving shoe rack in the dressing room, and a voice-activated Smart shower in the spa ensuite that controls on/off, water temperature and flow. Laundry rooms can be fitted with a convenient pull-down drying rack, kitchens with pull-down cupboards and motion sensor faucets, and more.

National Homes has teamed up with Pottery Barn to bring home its trademark style in the exquisite model home at The Forest Phase 2 designed by David Nosella. On display is an eclectic fusion of traditional style mixed with striking accents and contemporary aesthetics. All the Bright Ideas are built into the model as well, for visitors to see and experience. Pottery Barn stylists have designed beautiful spaces that appeal to the lifestyles and tastes of a wide range of customers. Purchasers at The Forest will receive 20 per cent off at Pottery Barn plus free professional design consultation from Pottery Barn and West Elm.

Homebuyer Portal

Buyers can also take advantage of the builder’s new customer service initiative. National’s Homeowner Portal connects you to the design and construction of your home, from the moment you decide to buy until long after you move in. It also makes the decor selection process at the Blueprint Design Lab more fun and much faster, using their Virtual Interior Design Tool.

Residents will delight in the views of rolling farmland and forests right across the street, Lake Simcoe 20 minutes up the road, and all the conveniences nearby. A large, modern, multi-use leisure centre, new library, high school and elementary schools are within walking distance. There’s ample choice in shopping, including Tanger Outlet Mall and Upper Canada Mall only minutes away. A short commute on the GO Train whisks you into Union Station, or take Hwy. 400 to the GTA in 20 minutes. A proposed 16.2-km connecting link between Hwy. 404 at Queensville to Hwy. 400 at Bradford is in early planning.

The Forest Phase 2

If you’re looking for the charm of a real forest community with the comfort and amenities of modern living, National’s latest release of elegant and innovative homes in Bradford is for you. Register online to preview.


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Markham is a hotbed of economic development and growth

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Markham is a hotbed of economic development and growth

As the fourth most populous community in the GTA – after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton – Markham has been a hotbed for economic growth and development for years.

It’s long been known as centre for growing sectors such as technology and life sciences – and therefore employment growth – one of the key drivers of housing demand.

Today, Markham is home to more than 1,000 such companies, with IBM, Huawei, Honeywell, Advanced Micro Devices, Motorola and Oracle all having their Canadian headquarters located in the city.

Residence has its price

Buying a home in Markham will cost you, however, as it has also become one the GTA’s most expensive housing markets, with median home prices now exceeding $1 million.

According to the Royal LePage Home Price Index for the first quarter of 2019, prices for a two-storey home grew 0.8 per cent year-over-year to $1.08 million; bungalows are down 11.4 per cent to $1.06 million; condos are down 2.1 per cent to $452,951. Overall, aggregate home prices were flat year-over-year, but still sit at $1.01 million.

In the GTA, only Richmond Hill, Oakville and Vaughan are more expensive.

Still, new-home development is a priority for Markham City Hall and Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who was first elected in 2006 and is known as developer- and builder-friendly. The city has a number of new-home developments underway, including some high-profile condo projects.

The revitalization of Downtown Markham has been spearheaded by The Remington Group’s multi-use development along Main Street, which includes expansive retail shops, a Marriott Hotel, a Cineplex, as well as a variety of condo buildings and townhomes.

Cultural diversity

Culture is also an important attraction in Markham, with The Flato Markham Theatre offering more than 300 live performances each year, showcasing the diversity of the city. In addition, Varley Art Gallery encompasses the historic Kathleen McKay House, which was the home of the Group of Seven’s Frederick Horsman Varley for the last 12 years of his life. Measuring 15,000 sq. ft., the gallery is the second most popular tourist attraction in York Region.

Markham also has dozens of parks with baseball diamonds, soccer pitches and children’s play areas and splash pads. The city also boasts more than 22 kms of scenic pathways with 12 bridges that provide recreational activity for joggers and cyclists.

The largest park in the city is the Milne Dam Conservation Park. Measuring 305 acres, it is bordered by thick forest on the south and east and the Rouge River runs through the middle.

Toogood Pond is an 82-acre park that features a partially naturalized pond and marsh, and it recently underwent revitalization to remove sediment, restore the shoreline and plant native foliage.

Getting around Markham is facilitated by easy access to Hwys. 404 and 407 and the DVP, and for public transit, York Region Transit/Viva connects with all nine York Region municipalities, and GO Transit provides regular train and bus service.

Location, location, location

• Population of 328,940, located in the Regional Municipality of York in the GTA

• Distance from downtown Toronto, 30 km

Key landmarks

• Flato Markham Theatre

• Varley Art Gallery

• Milne Dam Conservation Park

• Angus Glen Golf Club

Select new-home developments

Blue Sky by Fieldgate Homes, single-detached homes.

Cornell Rouge by Madison Group, towns, semis and detached homes

Opus Homes in Stouffville by Opus Homes, detached homes and townhomes

Station Town by National Homes, townhomes

Trendi Towns by Treasure Hill Homes, urban townhomes

UNION Margo by Aspen Ridge Homes, condos and townhomes


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Burlington – engaged in development

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Burlington – engaged in development

Long gone are the days when Burlington, a city of about 185,000 off the northwestern shores of Lake Ontario, was a sleepy suburb on the outskirts of the GTA. Expansion in highway and transit infrastructure, economic and employment growth and new housing development are all contributing to what today is a booming, and self-sustaining, destination.

It’s all coming together nicely for Burlington. For some, perhaps, maybe a little too fast.

But more on that later.

Blessed location

Blessed with an outstanding natural location close to the lake, the QEW, Dundas Street West and Hwys. 403 and 401, getting to and around Burlington has never been a challenge. But recent improvements to transit service and highways have afforded even easier movement for businesses and residents.

Such growth has contributed to an increasingly diverse economy, strong in automotive and manufacturing, but not overly reliant on any one sector. Some of the city’s largest employers include Cogeco Cable, ARGO Land Development and the Joseph Brant Hospital.

Besides being close to Lake Ontario to the south, and the Niagara Escarpment to the north, Burlington is also home to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It boasts more than 2,700 acres of gardens and nature sanctuaries, the world’s largest lilac collection and three on-site restaurants.

Down by the lake, the recently renovated Spencer Smith Park hosts an array of annual free festivals, including Canada’s largest Ribfest, the Sound of Music Festival, Children’s Festival and Lakeside Festival of Lights.

Engaged in development

With so much in Burlington’s favour, it’s no surprise that more people are moving here – particularly those looking for more affordable homes than in Toronto. Indeed, it’s a nice compromise: Oakville to the east, is now one of the GTA’s priciest housing markets; Hamilton to the west, is more affordable but still considered an area in transition.

Nor should it come as a surprise that Burlington residents are engaged in their community development, and took the opportunity in the October 2018 municipal elections to vote for change. Journalist and city councillor Marianne Meed Ward became the city’s first female mayor since 1978, replacing two-term incumbent Rick Goldring.

“Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over-intensification and development in our city,” she said after officially taking over in December 2018. “During the election, they made their voices heard and clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development, especially in the new Official Plan.”

To that end, Meed Ward says she plans to take a close look at development, specifically in downtown, and has launched a Red Tape Red Carpet task force to address permitting and approvals. She also campaigned on tackling traffic congestion, tax reform, building trust with the community and protecting greenspace.


Location, location, location

• Population 185,000, located in Halton Region at the northwestern end of Lake Ontario

• Distance from Toronto, 60 km; 21 km from Oakville; 15 km to Hamilton

Key landmarks

• Royal Botanical Gardens

• Spencer Smith Park

Select upcoming housing developments

Provenance by Beachview Homes – Townhomes

Valera 2 by Adi Development Group – Condominiums

Burlington Condos/Towns by National Homes – Condos and townhomes

Odyssey Condos & Towns by Rosehaven Homes – Condos and townhomes


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National Homes

National Homes is celebrating 25 years of excellence

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National Homes is celebrating 25 years of excellence

For National Homes, it all began 25 years ago with the vision of one man, Rocco Pantalone. A vision to make the dream of homeownership a reality for Ontarians. Inspired by timeless values and nurtured by hard work and dedication, that vision has blossomed into a leader in real estate who continues to make a positive impact in the lives of thousands of families across the GTA.

Founded in 1992, National Homes has today grown into one of the GTA’s most successful homebuilders. With land acquisition and development, commercial, retirement homes, retail and residential projects in its portfolio of accomplishments, National has developed more than 20,000 acres of land, constructed thousands of sq. ft. of retail and commercial developments and has a growing focus on the highrise residential market.

From Ajax to Oakville, from Toronto to Bradford, National has built more than 15,000 homes and won numerous awards for design and marketing. Along the way, the National Homes brand has become one of the most recognized and respected names in the Greater Toronto Area.

But despite its size and awe-inspiring growth, at its heart, National Homes still remains the caring, dedicated company that treats every single home it builds – no matter how big or small – as special. Because National knows that, to the homeowner, it’s the realization of a lifetime of dreams and aspirations.

It’s really all about you

In fact, this is the core philosophy behind the National tagline: ‘You are the blueprint.’ At National Homes, the company starts with you, the new-home buyer, and your needs. Then it design homes to suit the way you do the things you do. National believes that a home should give you what you truly want. It’s more than just about the features, the quality, the service. It’s really all about you.

To be able to respond to and anticipate buyer’s changing needs, National has put innovation at the core of its business. The company’s R&D department (Blueprint Design Lab) regularly tests products, materials and techniques to improve the quality, safety and comfort of our homes. The new Bright Ideas initiative offers advanced tools and gadgets that make homes smarter, more responsive, more energy-efficient and more time-saving.

Also read: Also read: In conversation with Deena Pantalone of National Homes

“Innovation has always been a staple of our corporate foundation,” says Deena Pantalone, managing partner and director of marketing and innovation for National Homes. “I’ve travelled to leading international cities where this type of research is being carried out and worked in incubators, labs and accelerator programs globally. We want to anticipate homeowner problems and provide solutions by thinking ahead. We want to provide futuristic homes that are affordable.”

You are the blueprint

In a world of cookie cutter homes and mass-produced designs, four words separate the insipid from the inspired: ‘You are the blueprint.’ It’s a remarkable company credo, a design philosophy, a worthy goal. Most of all, it’s National’s way of saying that everything starts with, and revolves around, you, the homebuyer.

The needs of the customer are the driving force behind every home the company builds. Because, at National, it isn’t about all the great features it puts in. It isn’t just about the quality or service. National believes that a home should give you what you truly want. It should be designed to suit the way you live

Before National Homes puts pencil to paper and nail to wood, its team asks a lot of questions. Of their customers. Of themselves. And of focus groups. Questions like: Where would you like to live? What is your ideal home? What technology would you want in your home? Then they take the answers and design their homes to address those issues. It is how they walk the walk, and how they put the Blueprint philosophy into action.

In January 2018, National held a Blueprint Workshop that brought together creative design thinkers with dozens of past and potential future National Homes buyers of varied ages and demographics. They gathered in the IBM Innovation Space at Venture Labs in Markham, along with National Homes’ staff, designers, architects, engineers and partner leaders for a thinktank dedicated to new homes.

The workshop’s purpose was to provide in-depth insight into homebuyer’s needs and desires, to further research and development efforts to position National Homes as a builder that values innovation and is responsive to its customers. The day’s agenda delved into the homeowner experience beyond bricks and mortar to feelings and dreams. It explored new technology and time-saving solutions, as well as how to make the homebuying experience unique and personalized.

A National celebration

As National Homes marches towards their next milestone, the respected builder takes a moment to look back at the high points of the company’s eventful journey, and thank all the valued partners, trades, staff, associates and homebuyers who put their faith and trust in National Homes. Everyone is invited to join in the celebration of 25 years, an inspiring springboard for the next 25 years and beyond.


To learn more about National Homes and to register for new and upcoming communities across the GTA, visit the web site.



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Deen Pantalone web

In conversation with… Deena Pantalone of National Homes

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In conversation with… Deena Pantalone of National Homes

With a mission that You are the blueprint, National Homes is laser focused on what new-home buyers want, the things they love and how they want to live. Having built more than 5,000 homes across the GTA, with increased focus on the highrise market, National doesn’t just strive to build quality new homes. Just as critical is exceptional customer care, and a market-leading embrace of technology every step of the way.

We spoke with Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation Deena Pantalone to get her insights on just how National connects with today’s discerning homebuyers, and what lies ahead in 2019.

Deena Pantalone

HOMES Magazine: As Director of Marketing & Innovation at National Homes, how has what you do changed over your time in the role?

Deena Pantalone: The largest change has been the evolution of our marketing to digital communications, and smart phones in particular. My role has expanded from Managing Partner and Director of Marketing, to Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation over the years, as I am constantly looking for innovative ideas to set National apart from everyone else, whether it be in our designs, technology or our customer service. We want to be at the forefront.

We are focused on keeping up to date with state-of-the-art technology and seeing how it can apply to National Homes. Keeping an open eye and mind approach to any new property technology and be willing to explore and implement if it will benefit the homeowners, potential buyers and us.

HM: Technology is an increasingly important part of home building these days – in everything from construction to sales and marketing to what customers expect in home tech. How prevalent is National involved in keeping up with these trends?

DP: Technology is central to everything we do at National. As homes and families get more and more integrated with the new digital revolution, National Homes is in the thick of it all – bringing ever more bright ideas that help our homebuyers stay on top of their lives. More choices. More options. More devices. At the end of the day, it’s about making our homebuyers’ lives easier, smarter and richer.

We do market research and workshops to determine what our buyers would like to have in their ideal homes and how they would feel if we implemented certain things, because it goes back to our core values – You are the blueprint.

We hold cutting-edge events such as our Blueprint Workshop at the IBM Innovation Space, which brought together 70 participants in discussions, presentations and interviews, learning about innovative products from building and design professionals and sharing their thoughts in a thinktank format. This way, our customers have a direct input into ideas that are reflected in our home designs. Because our philosophy has always been that, as a customer, you are the Blueprint.

We’ve brought virtual reality into our sales offices so buyers can walk around and explore their future homes, and we’re constantly looking for ways to be energy efficient and more sustainable.



National Homes Focus Group
Pantalone leading a customer focus group discussion

HM: And in the next five to 10 years, what will be the biggest change or opportunity in these areas?

DP: Property Technology is expanding at an exponential rate. That means your home will be smarter tomorrow than it is today. We will be seeing more of smart buildings, cities and communities, driverless vehicles which will affect the way that homes are designed.

Right now, smart home technology is just in its infancy, so in five to 10 years, everything will be connected not only in our homes, but our construction processes and development work.

HM: How important is social media at National Homes, in terms of connecting and communicating with customers – particularly Millennials, who have grown up in the digital age?

DP: Digital communications are key to everything we do today. Prior to a sale, it starts with social media on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Houzz and Facebook. We search out the latest innovations in architecture, design, technology from around the world and share them with our community. And, of course, we also speak to our followers about upcoming neighbourhoods and other news.

HM: National is building in a variety of communities in and around the GTA. Where do you see the next hot market – in terms of either geography or product type?

DP: There’s no question that affordability has become the biggest issue in the GTA housing market, and land prices are right at the heart of the matter. Everything starts with the needs of our customers, and if price is even more of an issue today, then we have a responsibility to find answers.

This is why we are bringing on new communities in Brampton, Courtice and Burlington, where lower land prices can make homes more affordable. And we are expanding our product design mix to include midrise condominiums that give people better prices.

National Homes Forest Phase 2
Forest Phase 2 Model Home

HM: What can your customers expect from a National home?

DP: Our customers can expect a home that is designed with their needs in mind. We put an enormous amount of effort into research, workshops, focus groups and questionnaires.

Our customers can expect exceptional customer service. Our Customer Care program has been designed to make the entire home purchasing experience a positive one. Some of the highlights include a New Home Workshop and seminar to prepare you for the homebuying process, the National Care Kit, a wealth of information on how to care for the finishes inside your home, innovative framing walk-throughs, detailed customer surveys and a homeowners’ portal communication hub where they will find everything they need to know about their home.

HM: Please finish the following statement. For National Homes, 2018 was a year of:

DP: Innovation. From the home designs we have been developing for our new communities, to the products and technology we are incorporating into our homes, this year we have been pushing the boundaries behind the scenes to ready ourselves for the launch of our next communities.

HM: And 2019 will be a year of:

DP: Introduction and implementation. In the new communities we introduce this year, all the research and development we have been working on behind the scenes will start to be available to our new buyers. And that makes this coming year a very exciting time for us.


  • THE FOREST, detached homes, Bradford, Final phase coming soon
  • STATION TOWN, townhomes, Markham, In registration
  • THREE RIVERS CLAIREVILLE, townhomes, Claireville, In registration
  • COURTICE, townhomes, In registration
  • BURLINGTON, townhomes and condos, In registration
  • BRAMPTON, townhomes, In registration



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Local Focus: Bradford West Gwillimbury & New Tecumseth

Bradford West Gwillimbury and New Tecumseth ripe for growth

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Bradford West Gwillimbury and New Tecumseth ripe for growth

If you’ve ever driven north on Hwy. 400 heading towards cottage country, perhaps you stopped off, the outlet mall at Cookstown. On summer weekends, anyway, the area might not boast the lightest traffic, but head off the beaten trail and into surrounding communities such as Bradford and New Tecumseth, and you’ll find a lot more than a few bargains to keep you coming back.

Maybe even permanently.

Bradford West Gwillimbury

Indeed, Bradford, which in 1991 amalgamated with the former Townships of West Gwillimbury and Tecumseth to form the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, is beloved for its fertile lands and rich soil. Resplendent with lush farmland, including the Holland Marsh – “the carrot capital of Canada” – forests and rivers, this area is an agricultural hotbed in Ontario.

The Marsh, itself, comprises about 21,000 acres. Development in this area centres around sensitivity to such natural wonders.

With financial and social responsibility in mind, Bradford West Gwillimbury says its administration encourages public participation in the decision-making process for development, to make the area a desirable place to live, work and play.

And, it appears to be happening.

This area, believe it or not, is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Ontario of at least 5,000 residents. According to the 2016 Census, the population of Bradford West Gwillimbury grew 25.8 per cent to 35,325 from 28,077 in 2011 – good enough for 11th in the province.

New Tecumseth

Located in Simcoe County, New Tecumseth comprises the communities of Alliston, Tottenham and Beeton.

These three vibrant urban centres enjoy prosperous activity in agriculture, honey production, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing. Proximity to the 400 series highways and Hwy. 50 affords easy access to the GTA to the south and Kitchener-Waterloo to the west, among other areas, which is all conducive to business growth.

Given such prosperity, people are moving here to live and to do business. According to the town’s economic development office, 35 per cent of residents have moved here within the last five years. Housing development naturally follows, and several builders have projects underway here.

Location, location, location

Bradford West Gwillimbury
Population 35,325
78 kms north of Toronto

New Tecumseth
Population 34,242
87 kms north of Toronto

Select upcoming housing developments, Bradford West Gwillimbury

Dreamfields by CountryWide Homes, detached homes

Dreamfields by Aspen Ridge Homes, detached homes

The Forest by National Homes, detached homes

Select upcoming housing developments, New Tecumseth

Willow Glen by Brookfield Residential, townhomes

Greenridge by Flato Group, detached homes and townhomes

Beeton Creek at West Country by FarSight Homes, detached homes




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