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In Conversation With… Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring

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In Conversation With… Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring

Creative and innovative housing is the order of the day in the GTA these days, with land availability, housing supply and affordability all an increasing focus for industry and consumers. For developers, this means making the most of prized locations, and bringing forward-thinking and imaginative housing options to market. Marlin Spring, with a portfolio of low- and midrise and mixed-use projects in west end Toronto, Oshawa and other locales, is one such company. CEO and Co-Principal Benjamin Bakst explains.

HOMES Magazine: How are things progressing at your Symphony Towns in Oshawa these days?

Benjamin Bakst: Our team has developed a fantastic relationship with City staff and our neighbours. The plans were created with much of their feedback and we are thankful beneficiaries of that input. What started with the concept of a blank canvas populated with townhomes has now become a plan for a vibrant, unique parkside village. Our sales and marketing teams felt the name Symphony would express more than just a tie-in to Harmony Drive; it would also give the feel of a development that blends well into the neighbourhood while maintaining its individuality.

We’ll be revealing more about the project in the coming weeks with sales starting very soon.

HM: The city received some challenging news last year, with the planned closure of the GM assembly plant. What new opportunities does the city have to grow beyond this long-time focus?

BB: We aim to look forward and assess opportunity, and the City of Oshawa has long been focused on diversifying its economy and providing knowledge-based employment training and options. Manufacturing may have been the centre of all things Oshawa in the past and in the minds of those not living there, but what’s really happening is growth in many sectors, including health, educational services and other emerging areas which now represent more than a quarter of Oshawa’s total employment base – and growing. GM was great, Oshawa is greater.

HM: What are some of the things about Oshawa, and about Symphony specifically, that will contribute to the city’s continued reshaping?

BB: Symphony is taking a piece of Oshawa that is near and dear to a lot of residents’ hearts. It sits on the site of an old school, Dr. F.J. Donevan Collegiate Institute, that was there for many years. We’re building well thought-out prairie-modern style townhomes that complement the existing homes as well as speak to current trends in exterior materials and colours. We’re also creating a big open park which will be gifted to the city for everyone to enjoy. This unique feature will be visible from Taylor Rd. and sure to be enjoyed by our homeowners as well as the broader community.

HM: The Stockyards District Residences in Toronto’s west end is another exciting project you have on the go. How is it progressing?

BB: The Stockyards District Residences is one of my favourite projects at the moment, and our team is working diligently toward the start of construction this summer, as sales have proceeded extremely well. It’s an exciting project for us in a fantastic neighbourhood full of hidden gems. The more I learn about it and get feedback from our clients, the more excited I am to see the finished product. Not long ago, some didn’t understand the vision. No one questions it now.

HM: That area is really on the upswing, with lots of new commercial and residential development connecting with local history. How do you see the neighbourhood progressing or changing in the foreseeable future?

BB: There’s a lot on the horizon in this area. The upcoming closure of the space currently occupied by Maple Leaf Foods and a number of other developments (including another one yet to be announced by Marlin Spring, just east of the Stockyards District Residences) over the next while will mean significant population increase and a continued growth and vibrancy to the existing streetscape and retail along the St. Clair West corridor. Another fascinating phenomenon is the transformation of older buildings in the area. The Symes Event Space and Rainhard are great examples – that building was originally a Toronto waste incinerator – fast forward to today, and it perfectly demonstrates the potential in this city. Both our partners and clients entrust and rely on us to always be looking forward.

HM: How do the Stockyards District Residences reflect the history of the area? Are there any specific design elements, for example, that speak to the Stockyards heritage?

BB: Our joint development and marketing teams, along with the award-winning team at Graziani & Corazza Architects, did an amazing job utilizing the industrial aesthetic of the area as inspiration for the architectural elements of the building. It carries a lot of (expensive) brick and black metal on the exterior, and has very interesting step backs and shape that not only give the building character, but also allowed us to design a lot of unique suites. Many of our owners will have a one-of-a-kind suite, which we are thrilled to be able to offer.

HM: Affordability is a key challenge for housing in the GTA these days. What is Marlin Spring doing to address the issue – in either of these projects or elsewhere?

BB: Our multi-family residential property division is intently focused on this need, and to this end have purchased and currently asset-manage many thousands of apartments across Canada and the US. We see this as one of the greatest challenges facing our city, and have prioritized purchasing units in the GTA, investing time, effort and resources into these buildings to bring them up to 2019 standards and beyond. This generally allows us to maintain lower rental rates than purpose-built rentals. In addition, on our development side, we have multiple projects within which we are building affordable homes. These include our Canvas Condominium project, currently under construction, as well as our Lakeshore project, which is in the development stage.

HM: What’s next for Marlin Spring?

BB: What I am most excited about at the moment, is the upcoming formal launch of our Marlin Spring Foundation. I cannot share details at the moment, but our internal team is aware of our plans and is so supportive and excited!

marlinspring.com

Portfolio

  • Canvas Condominiums Danforth Ave. and Woodbine Ave. Under construction
  • Citron Towns in Richmond Hill Leslie St. and 19th Ave. Registrations only
  • Stockyard District Residences St. Clair Ave. W. and Jane St. Now selling
  • Symphony Parkside Towns in Oshawa Taylor Rd. and Harmony Rd. S. Registrations only
  • The Mack, Parkside Towns Major Mackenzie Dr. W. and Hwy. 400, Vaughan Final release
  • WestBeach Queen St. E. and Coxwell Ave. Under construction

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GTA buyers head west ReMax

GTA homebuyers continue to look west in search of affordability

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GTA homebuyers continue to look west in search of affordability

GTA buyers head west ReMax

Homebuying patterns in the GTA have increasingly shifted west over the last five years, particularly to Halton Region and west Toronto, according to a new report from ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada.

“Growing demand for affordable housing buoyed new construction and contributed to rising market share in Halton Region (from 2013 to 2018),” says Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Product was coming on-stream at a time when the GTA reported its lowest inventory in years and skyrocketing housing values were raising red flags. Freehold properties in the suburbs farther afield spoke to affordability.”

In analyzing sales trends in nine Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) districts over the past five years, ReMax notes that Halton Region – comprising Burlington, Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton – captured 10.1 per cent of total market share in 2018, leading with a 2.3-per-cent increase over 2013. Toronto West, meanwhile, climbed almost one per cent to 10.5 per cent. Toronto Central rose close to two per cent to 18.7 per cent of total market share, while Simcoe County jumped 0.6 per cent to 3.1 per cent. The gains came at the expense of perennial favourites such as York Region (down 3.2 per cent to 15.3 per cent); East Toronto (down 1.7 per cent to 9.3 per cent); Peel Region (down 0.5 per cent to 20.6 per cent); and Durham Region (down 0.3 per cent to 11.5 per cent). Dufferin County remained stable over the five-year period.

The quest for single-detached housing at an affordable price point has sent throngs of Toronto buyers into the Hamilton housing market over the past decade, ReMax says. The spillover effect has stimulated homebuying activity in most areas flanked by Toronto’s core and Hamilton. Burlington, in particular, soared between 2013 and 2018, with home sales almost doubling and average price climbing 50 per cent to $769,142.

Window of opportunity

But with such strong growth in Burlington, how long will this market remain an affordable option?

“The communities in the west will still be affordable compared to Toronto proper, but what we are going to see is a continued uptick in demand for more of the outlying communities like Brantford, Waterdown, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and even as far-reaching as London and Niagara,” Alexander told HOMES Publishing. “What will really impact the growth of these markets, outside of availability and affordability, will be the underlying transit systems and investments in local economies, as people still have a need to be connected to the GTA core.”

The upswing in new construction has contributed to the changing landscape. New housing starts in Halton Region averaged 3,100 annually between 2013 and 2016. In Simcoe County, just north of Toronto, new residential builds averaged close to 1,860 annually from 2013 to 2017.  During the same period, almost 39,000 residential units came on-stream in Toronto’s downtown-central waterfront area, while another 56,855 were active (approved with building permits applied for or issued and those under construction). Another 6,000 units came on the market in North York and Yonge-Eglinton.

 

GTA home sales ReMax

 

In Toronto’s west end, affordability has been a strong influence in helping Millennials redefine mature neighbourhoods such as The Junction, South Parkdale, Bloorcourt and Dovercourt Park through gentrification. Average price for the 8,000 plus homes sold in 2018 hovered at $755,658 – although the 10 districts within Toronto West range in price from $557,000 in Downsview-Roding, Black Creek and Humbermede to $1.2 million in Stonegate-Queensway.

“Freehold properties remain the choice of most purchasers in Halton Region and Toronto West,” says Alexander. “The same is true to a lesser extent in Toronto Central, but condominiums continue to gain ground. Just over one in three properties sold in the GTA was a condominium in 2018, and that figure is higher in the core. As prices climb in both the city and suburbs, the shift toward higher-density housing will continue, with fewer single-detached developments coming to pass.”

Toronto Central has seen rapid growth over the past five years, with Millennials fuelling demand for condos and townhomes in developments such as City Place, King West Village and Liberty Village. This cohort has also been instrumental in the gentrification of Toronto Central neighbourhoods such as Oakwood-Vaughan and Dufferin Grove as they snap up smaller freehold properties at more affordable price points, ReMax says.

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

ALSO READ: GTA resale condo listings and sales dip to end 2018, but prices rise

ALSO READ: GTA among the most promising new home outlooks for 2019, Altus Group says

Baby Boomers have also been a major influence in Toronto Central, selling larger homes throughout the GTA and making lateral moves or downsizing to neighbourhoods close to shops, restaurants and amenities. Close to 15,000 properties were sold in 2018, with average price of $932,416, up almost 40 per cent since 2013. Properties within Toronto Central averaged 20 days on market and ranged in price from $709,660 in Bayview Village to $2.5 million in York Mills, Hogg’s Hollow, Bridle Path and Sunnybrook.

With an affordable average price point of $611,628 – and a range of $528,942 to $746,332 – younger buyers, empty nesters and retirees have flocked to Simcoe County in recent years. New construction in Adjala-Tosorontio, Bradford West, Essa, Innisfil and New Tecumseth has allowed the area to capture a greater percentage of the overall market between 2013 to 2018.

“As the Millennials move into their homebuying years, they will displace Baby Boomers as the dominant force in the GTA’s real estate market,” says Alexander. “Their impact on housing will have a serious ripple effect on infrastructure in the coming years, placing pressure on transit systems, roadways, local economies and their abilities to attract investors and new businesses, parks and greenspace development.”

The upswing in demand over the next decade is expected to re-ignite homebuying activity in Toronto East, York, Peel and Durham Regions. These areas still carry significant weight, despite the factors that have impacted softer performance in recent years, such as affordability, lack of available housing and fewer transit options.

GTA west vs east

As the west end of the GTA continues to see growth and price appreciation, a leveling effect will likely come into play (with the east region),” Alexander told HOMES. “Toronto’s GDP and the thriving economy will continue to attract people, so while affordability may continue to decrease, desire is unlikely to waver. That said, the current and next generation of homebuyers are taking this factor into account when they are making their decision to purchase – sacrificing space for lifestyle and convenience.  As they look to the greater GTA, if affordability becomes more leveled out between the west and the east, it’s likely that we will see more dispersion across the entire region as people’s desire to be connected to the GTA core remains strong.

GTA east areas such as Durham region currently don’t have the same appeal as the west. “The West end of the GTA has a greater diversity of communities that are attracting a diverse range of buyers.  In the past 10 years, there has been significant focus on the growth and development of these regions, whereas historically, Durham has not traditionally been viewed in this same regard. With the boom in areas towards the east, like Prince Edward County, and the affordability leveling out, we will likely see the tide begin to turn.”

RELATED READING

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

GTA condo sales and prices hit record levels

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

 

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Oshawa

What we can learn from the looming GM closure in Oshawa

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What we can learn from the looming GM closure in Oshawa

Oshawa

When Christian Huggett first heard the news that General Motors Canada was closing its Oshawa assembly plant, like many of us, he was disappointed.

After all, the loss of at least 2,500 jobs – not to mention untold positions in related suppliers – in a community of 170,000, is going to hurt. Hurt whom, and how badly, are the only questions.

“We thought it was a shame, given the long history of GM in Oshawa and the legacy it has created in shaping its past and providing jobs for many,” the vice-president, development, at Podium Developments, Toronto, told Condo Life.

Economic diversity

“We also understood that the employment sector in Oshawa has been shifting for some time, and Oshawa has healthily diversified to add technology, educational institutions, healthcare, administration and many professionals to its offerings of great jobs and companies in the market.”

ALSO READ: The February 2019 issue of Condo Life

While various governments and the plant’s union vow to try to find some way to save the operation, resurrection seems unlikely.

And it serves as a good reminder to us all – of how important it is for cities to develop diversified, modern economies. And how homebuyers should look beyond the headlines when researching their prospective new home location.

Opportunities remain

Podium, one of several developers building new homes in Oshawa, recently launched Ironwood Towns in the north end. The company remains confident in the city.

“We believe the North Oshawa residential market is not driven by the success or change in one industry,” says Huggett.

“This includes the significant GM news. It has not altered our plans. We continue to believe that the outlook is bright for home sales in North Oshawa, buoyed by its proximity and relationship to schools, the 407 network, the significant growth occurring and planned for North Oshawa, and that our site is unique in its physical and design characteristics to make it stand out.”

Buyers, too, then, can remain optimistic. There’s a lot more going on in Oshawa and other areas in Durham Region than just one industry and one company.

RELATED READING

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

What the GM plant closure means for the economy and housing market in Oshawa

 

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EDITOR'S CHOICE: Podium Developments

Unique spaces and places at Podium Developments’ Ironwood in North Oshawa

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Unique spaces and places at Podium Developments’ Ironwood in North Oshawa

With the opening of the Highway 407 extension, North Oshawa is fast developing into a vibrant urban centre of its own, while maintaining a deep commitment to protecting its lush natural setting. Named after the hardest trees in Canada, Ironwood is an inspired new community of modern townhomes that offers that sought-after balance of lasting nature and a strong neighbourhood.

Set where the Oshawa Creek crosses Simcoe Street North and surrounded by acres of protected conservation area, forest and parks, Ironwood is destined to be an oasis of green spaces for active families.

New homebuyers who love the outdoors will discover that Ironwood, by Podium Developments, is literally designed for them, with amenities carved from the community’s own timeless landscape. The community has designated a large portion of its unique natural setting to private amenity areas that will have families outdoors and active.

Residents will stroll and bike along winding trails that form casual boundaries between amenity areas. Young families will meet and chat as they watch over their little ones at the Adventure Playground. Neighbours will delight in the Community Garden, Yoga Clearing, the Hillview Square and the Cattail Clearing set off by professional landscaping. In summer, an open field will be a sports pitch and, come winter, an outdoor ice rink while a nearby slope will transform into Toboggan Hill for kids to laugh and enjoy together. Furry friends will have their own off-leash dog park too.

At Ironwood, where nature is enduring, kids will thrive and grow strong while playing outdoors in all seasons and weather, and forming friendships that will last a lifetime.

By design, the townhomes themselves nestle into their remarkable natural setting. The strikingly authentic modern architecture makes expert use of woods and metals in clean and simple lines that define today’s aesthetic. Expansive windows invite the outdoors into the spacious, light-filled interiors designed for contemporary open concept living.

A choice of designs is available, with gourmet kitchens, lavish ensuites, backyard decks, and plenty of room to grow and play. Feature-filled and offering designer accents for today’s tastes, the homes of Ironwood will stand the test of time, and appeal to all ages and stages.

Not only is nature close at hand — all the amenities are nearby too. Restaurants, plazas, schools and community centres, with the exciting new Windfields Farm Shopping Plaza coming soon. Excellent schools such as Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology are across the street. Camp Samac is next door and Cedar Valley Conservation Area is over the road. The nearby Legends Centre offers a range of programs and a gym. The Oshawa Centre, Tribute Centre and downtown Oshawa are minutes away, as well as the GO Transit train and VIA Rail station, and along the waterfront are Lake Ontario trails and beach.

If you’re looking for a community as lasting as the tree it’s named after, register for Ironwood today.

PODIUM DEVELOPMENTS
Ironwood

Register online to receive VIP pricing and floorplans.

MyIronwoodTowns.com


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EDITOR'S CHOICE: Podium Developments

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

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New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

EDITOR'S CHOICE: Podium Developments
Ironwood Towns in North Oshawa by Podium Developments and Urban Capital

Despite the bad news this week that General Motors Canada plans to close assembly operations in Oshawa, there are some good new home buying opportunities in the city and elsewhere in Durham Region.

As various levels of government and the Unifor trade union vow to somehow keep the plant open or otherwise deal with the fallout of the decision, the housing sector in Oshawa is expected to shift into a buyers’ market.

That could mean deals for buyers in a market where home prices have already been under pressure.

 

Also read: What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa economy and housing

Also read: Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

 

For those looking to buy a new home, know that there are still plenty of good opportunities in Oshawa and surrounding area.

First, let’s look at recent new home buying activity in the area, courtesy of statistics from Altus Group, theofficial source for market intelligence for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

 

Total new home sales, units

Oshawa Durham Region
Annual
2013          682       2,376
2014       1,108       3,130
2015          971       3,433
2016       1,149       5,344
2017          490       2,385
Jan-Oct
2017          483       2,262
2018            83       1,065
Source:  Altus Group

 

Naturally, the GM news is a sensitive topic to an industry such as home building, where companies dedicate years to planning and construction development projects. So don’t expect a comment any time soon from BILD, the voice of home builders in the GTA, or individual companies.

Might developers at some point offer deals – be they discounts or upgrades – in order to move an unsold inventory in a market not feeling the strongest at the moment?

It never hurts to ask.

 

A selection of new home and condo inventory

Ironwood in North Oshawa, Building Capital and Podium Developments, contemporary freehold townhomes

Harmony Creek, Conservatory Group, townhomes and detached homes

Daniels FirstHome Oshawa, townhomes

Brook Phase 2, Delpark Homes, detached homes

Fields of Harmony Phase IV, Greycrest Homes, detached homes

Harmony Gate, Sundance Homes, townhomes

Kingsview Ridge, Treasure Hill, 30-, 36- and 40-ft. singles

Park Ridge, Tribute Communities, detached homes from the low $900’s

U.C. Towns 2, Tribute Communities, townhomes form the low $600’s

Top of Townline, Woodland Homes, detached homes

For more new home buying opportunities, visit MyHomePage.ca

With files from Natalie Sicilia, New Home Research Manager & Map Editor

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House web

Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

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Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

House web

In one fell swoop, General Motors Canada’s announcement on Nov. 25 that it plans to close all assembly operations in Oshawa, Ont. effectively has pushed housing there into a buyers’ market.

“The announced General Motors plant closure will certainly impact Oshawa, and the trickle-down effect will be felt across the province,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax Integra of Ontario-Atlantic Region, told Homes Publishing.

“However, it’s important to remember that GM isn’t the economic driver that it used to be in Durham Region. The area boasts a growing education sector and a new casino is slated to open in 2019, which will boost new condo development and housing demand. With the rise of remote work and no relief expected for Toronto house prices in 2019, Oshawa will continue to be a popular choice with first-time and move-up buyers who have been priced out of the 416.”

There you have it, prospective home buyers.

Opportunity knocks

While such a major employment hit is hardly an occasion to celebrate, these developments could mean opportunity for those looking to buy a home.

“The fact is that more than 2,500 GM workers will be left in the lurch come 2020, and the looming loss of income will likely prompt a softening of the market at a local level, as existing residents and prospective homebuyers digest the news and what it might mean for them,” says Alexander. “This coming closure, coupled with further interest rate increases in 2019, is likely to trigger a market shift from the current balanced territory, as homebuyers delay purchases, scale down lower-priced properties or move away in search of employment.”

Also read: What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa economy and housing

Also read: Focus on Whitby and Oshawa

Also read: 5 affordable neighbourhoods for detached homes in 416 and 905

Another real estate expert, Don R. Campbell, says the impact of the closure could take 18 to 24 months to play out fully in the region.

Diversified economy

Thankfully, there is more going for Oshawa and the Durham Region than just General Motors. Though it was once described as the “Automotive Capital of Canada,” in recent years the economy has diversified into education and health sciences. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College and Trent University Durham and all have campuses in the city, among other economy-boosting facilities.

Indeed, in its latest Metropolitan Outlook, the Conference Board of Canada pegged Oshawa to be one of the strongest economies in the province for 2018. The Board forecast real GDP growth of 2.6 per cent this year, following 3.2 per cent in the last two years, citing strength in the non-residential construction, education, health care, finance and insurance sectors.

In addition, Statistics Canada figures show that Oshawa was one of the fastest growing cities in Ontario from 2011 to 2016, with 6.6 per cent population growth, second only to Guelph at 7.7 per cent. This, after growing 7.7 per cent from 2006 to 2011.

Importantly, for prospective home buyers, transportation improvements such as expanded GO Transit and the Hwy. 407 extension make it easier for people to live in Oshawa – at cheaper home prices – and commute to work in other areas such as Toronto. Another extension of the 407 eastward to neighbouring Clarington is due for 2020, further easing transportation options.

New home opportunities

Tomorrow, we’ll explore some of the opportunities to buy new homes in the Durham Region.

 

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Oshawa

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

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What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

Oshawa

General Motors Canada has confirmed that it plans to close all assembly operations in Oshawa, Ont. after next year, leaving the community reeling with concern for the local economy and housing market.

And with good reason.

Auto manufacturing in the city of about 170,000 dates back as far as 1907, and the plant is still a major employer. It employs about 2,500 hourly and 400 salaried workers, with many more engineers working at GM’s adjacent Regional Engineering Centre.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry has said the closure would have ripple effects well beyond the city, hurting businesses and families throughout the Durham Region.

“From a personal finance perspective, this news is devastating for the people of Oshawa,” says Rubina Ahmed-Haq, personal finance expert. “Not only the ones whose jobs will be affected and have the obvious financial impact of losing a steady income. But, also those who depend on those workers to run their businesses – everything from restaurants to dry cleaners to places of interest around the area will be impacted. As well as property values, which are already much lower in Oshawa compared to other parts of the GTA, will take a further hit.”

Durham Region home prices

Illustrating Ahmed-Haq’s point, home prices in the Durham Region have already been feeling the pinch.

 

Historical average home prices, Durham Region
2018: $591,739 (as of October)
2017: 624,225
2016: $528,475
2015: $439,842
2014: $388,610
2013: $354,548

Source: Canadian Real Estate Association

 

Values continued to decrease during the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey. Over the three-month period, the aggregate home price in Oshawa and Ajax decreased 2.8 per cent and six per cent year-over-year to $538,757 and $664,640, respectively. Home values in Pickering also depreciated when compared to the same time last year by 4.4 per cent to $709,260, and the aggregate price in Whitby decreased 3.5 per cent to $677,243.

Oshawa median home prices

Standard two-storey homes
Q3 2018 $557,071
Q3 2017 $576,922
Q/Q % change 0.8
Yr/yr % change -3.4

Detached bungalows
Q3 2018 $512,001
Q3 2017 $517,237
Q/Q % change 2.3
Yr/yr % change -1.2

Standard condos
Q3 2018 $278,224
Q3 2017 $281,864
Q/Q % change 0.3
Yr/yr % change -1.3

Aggregate
Q3 2018 $538,757
Q3 2017 $554,070
Q/Q % change 1.2
Yr/yr % change -2.8

Source: Royal LePage National House Price Composite, October 2018

 

What we can expect in the housing market

“After an announcement such as this, we often witness an immediate softening of purchase demand in the city and its surrounds, while the shock and reality of the situation settles in,” Don R. Campbell, real estate expert and author told HOMES Publishing. “This slowdown doesn’t hit the stats immediately, as there are a lot of deals that are already in the process of closing in the next couple of months. However, come February, the numbers begin to reflect the new reality. That is phase one.

“Phase two is when average sale prices begin to fall, as confidence in the market begins to slip further. In other scenarios, it is just a sign of a move ‘down-market’ or to lower priced properties. However, in today’s world, the existing ‘stress-test’ will be combined with this lack of confidence to exacerbate the normal situation.”

A third phase may follow eight months to a year after the actual closure, when EI benefits begin to run to the end of their course, confidence in the potential return of the GM jobs begins to fade and families have to start making big decisions of relocation to find new appropriate jobs.

“In other words,” Campbell says, “the announcement of and the subsequent closing of the plant kicks off a predictable but sad ripple effect that will last for years.”

If there is one potential saving grace in this news, it’s that Oshawa and the surrounding area has a more diverse economy than in the past, which will help slightly buffer the pain, says Campbell.

“However, the pain is coming and it is real and far reaching.”

The Oshawa plant is not the only facility to be affected by GM’s decision to “accelerate its transformation for the future.” Two locations in the Detroit area are also scheduled to be shut down, which could have spillover affects in related industries across the border in the Windsor, Ont. area.

RELATED READING

Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Focus on Whitby and Oshawa

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

 

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Drive

Drive till you qualify? Sure, but it WILL cost you

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Drive till you qualify? Sure, but it WILL cost you

Drive

You may have heard the old real estate adage, “Drive till you qualify.” The idea being that buyers who can’t afford to buy a home in the city, should drive to surrounding areas to find more affordable and larger homes, with potentially more appealing lifestyle and environmental benefits.

At least that’s the idea.

In practice, however, such a plan may not be quite so simple. A new study from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) shows that increased commuting costs and time could offset any financial savings of buying a cheaper home in an outlying area.

“By assessing the combination of commuting costs and housing costs, one can gain a more comprehensive gauge of the total cost of location choices,” says Andrew Scott, senior analyst, economics, for CMHC.

Drive3
Source: CMHC

 

In 2016, there were approximately 2.6 million commuters in the GTA, with 1.3 million of them commuting to a place of work in the city of Toronto. This made it the most common destination for GTA commuters. Roughly two-thirds of these commuters lived within the cityitself, while the remaining commuted from the 905 areasof the GTA. Pickering had the highest share of people commuting into Toronto, at 52.6 per cent, followed by Ajax (48.4 per cent), Markham (46.9 per cent), Vaughan (40.8 per cent), Richmond Hill (39.1 per cent), Whitby (32.2 per cent) and Mississauga (26.7 per cent).

Most commuters to Toronto drove, at 49 per cent, while 40 per cent took public transit. Of 905 residents who commute into the city, 67 per cent drove a car, and 21 took public transport.

Areas with longest commutes

Average duration of commutes is clearly on the rise, CMHC says, particularly among those who commute 60 minutes or more, one way. Between 2011 and 2016, this was the fastest growing segment of the commuter population, growing by 16 per cent, followed by those who commuted 45 to 59 minutes (14 per cent). Areas with one-way commutes longer than 60 minutes include Aurora, Burlington, Milton, Newmarket, Oakville and Oshawa.

Lower home prices, increase commuting cost

The most likely home type to lure buyers to the suburbs is single-detached homes, CMHC says. However, when the estimated monthly mortgage carrying cost and monthly commuting cost are combined, relatively lower priced municipalities such as East Gwillimbury, Newmarket, Mississauga, Whitchurch-Stouffville and Caledon end up costing more than or nearly as much as the city of Toronto.

Drive1

Notably, some GTA municipalities did retain their cost advantage. Even with significant commuting costs in areas such as Georgina, Oshawa and Clarington, a large cost advantage remains due to the considerably lower cost of housing.

Drive2

Based on estimates of the cost of commuting to Toronto from municipalities in the GTA, areas with lower mortgage carrying costs for single-detached housing often had significantly higher commuting costs, CMHC says. In many cases, these increased commuting costs completely offset lower home ownership costs.

Bottom line

The bottom line? Do all the math, and make sure that if you’re considering buying outside the city, your decision is based on more than money. The savings might not be there.

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Ironwood

Ironwood Towns by Podium Developments now open in North Oshawa

Latest News


Ironwood Towns by Podium Developments now open in North Oshawa

Ironwood

By Wayne Karl

Podium Developments and Building Capital have opened Ironwood Towns, a new community located just north of Simcoe Street North and Taunton Road in North Oshawa.

This private 11-acre property nestled between Camp Samac and Oshawa Creek, backs onto hundreds of acres of valley land, forest and stream, and is minutes to Cedar Valley Conservation Area, Centennial Park and Somerset Park. Ironwood is also conveniently close to public transportation options, shopping, dining and entertainment venues. The lifestyle offered in this community is one of nature and ease. It’s a seven-minute drive to Hwy. 407 and 14 minutes to Hwy. 401. Residents can also walk to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 10 minutes.

Situated on a private street, the 125 three- and four-bedroom contemporary freehold towns feature a private garage and driveway with two-car parking, and either a backyard or rooftop terrace. Architecture introduces a clean, modern addition to the neighbourhood.

With this first phase, 40 units are being released across three different models. Phase two is targeted for spring 2019 or earlier, if sales go well.

PRIVATE PARK

Well-planned, beautifully appointed, open-concept interiors receive generous natural light from large windows scattered over three full floors of living space. Residents will enjoy exclusive access to a private landscaped three-acre park, gated off-leash dog park, children’s playground, walking path, tobogganing hill and a sports field with a seasonal ice rink, all backing onto the protected acres of ravine lands. There’s even an area residents can share garden space with other members of the community, growing their own fresh vegetables.

Ironwood2

Units measure from about 1,700 to 1,800 sq. ft., with prices from the mid-$500,000s. All units have a garage and a driveway space for parking, with either arooftop terrace or private backyard, depending on the model. Backyards come with deck and fencing, small area for private garden and a direct walkoff from the main living floor. A maintenance fee of approximately $150 per month covers everyday upkeep such as landscaping and snow removal.

Ironwood Towns represents something of a transitionary project forPodium and Building Capital, since they have mostly collaborated on student housing to date. The partners recently opened University Studios in Oshawa – an eight-storey, mixed-use student housing project.

URBAN AND SUBURBAN

“The main concept (at Ironwood) is a combination of urban and suburban living,” says Christian Huggett, vice-president of development for Podium. “We’ve kind of brought condo finishes to suburban ideas… and tried to step it up from ‘builder basic’ finishings.”

The Ironwood Towns Presentation Centre is now open for preview registrations, at 1700 Simcoe St. N., Unit B. Hours are Monday to Wednesday noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday 2 to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call 905.576.0139 or visit myironwood.ca

 

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Grand Opening at University Studios in Oshawa

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John Tory

GTA mayoral elections – who won and where they stand on housing

Latest News


GTA mayoral elections – who won and where they stand on housing

John Tory

Housing policy, affordability and supply were among the key issues in many municipalities leading up to the Oct. 22 Ontario elections.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and others did their best to alert voters to the issues, and to gage candidates on how well they understood them.

Homes Publishing did its own assessment of a selection of GTA municipalities in the context of housing development.

But now that the results are in (well, most of them), let’s take a look how some of the notable races shook down, and the various policies of the newly elected mayors, with help from BILD.

 

AURORA

Tom Mrakas (New)
Housing and growth: Proposes to protect Aurora’s Stable Neighbourhoods from “monster home” infill, by using planning tools such as Interim Control By-laws. Also wants to ensure better land use planning decisions are made through the Local Appeals Body and by implementing a Design Review Panel. He intends to uphold the Official Plan and continue to oppose golf course redevelopment. Improving municipal infrastructure, through complete streets, is also a priority.
Taxes: Proposes to reduce the tax levy.

 

BRAMPTON

Patrick Brown (new)
Housing: Proposes to create a streamlined, more efficient approvals process at City Hall for new home construction and renovations across all levels of affordability. Proposes to develop a housing strategy that encourages neighbourhood-sensitive development of rooming houses, basement apartments and in-law suites.

 

BURLINGTON

Marianne Meed Ward (New)
Growth: Opposes overdevelopment of Burlington and will seek to control growth by reducing provisions in the Official Plan, as well as accept growth only when infrastructure can handle it.
Housing: Intends to secure affordable housing with inclusionary zoning and require new development to provide a percentage of senior-friendly units. Intends to set greenspace per population targets within reasonable walking distance through prioritizing parkland over cash-in-lieu for major new developments.

 

CALEDON

Allan Thompson
Housing and growth: Supports housing and growth management initiatives that will maintain the characteristics of Caledon’s communities and create opportunities for residents and future residents of live, work and retire.

 

EAST GWILLIMBURY

Virginia Hackson
Housing: Proposes to complete the first phase of growth of 7,000 homes. In terms of transportation corridors, plans to work with the Mayor of Bradford to solve gridlock on roads between Hwys. 404 and 400.
Infrastructure: Proposes to work with the Province and local MPP to deal with the delay of the Upper York Sewage Solution which will ultimately eliminate the Holland Landing Sewage Lagoons. Proposes to address the need for quality broadband in the community.

 

HALTON HILLS

Rick Bonnette
Housing: Proposes to continue to manage difficult conversations around intensification and growth the Province has mandated and the development residents are seeing.

 

KING CITY

Steve Pellegrini
Plans to focus on business growth, the new municipal office, the library and seniors centre expansion project, as well as road beautification in the township.

 

MISSISSAUGA

Bonnie Crombie
Housing: Intends to institute an Inclusionary Zoning policy to incentivize the building of new, affordable units. Proposes to form partnerships with leaders in affordable housing to get new buildings in the ground on a faster pace.
Environment: Proposes to work with staff to bolster Green building standards that will improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas and improve urban forest canopy.
Development: Supports Mississauga’s office for a Development Ambassador.

 

NEWMARKET

John Taylor
Economy: Top priorities include jobs and the economy, community building and parks recreation and trails. Wants to the Renew Economic Development Strategy and increase jobs in the community. Grow the city’s broadband company to deliver affordable high-speed internet to local businesses. Proposes to keep taxesbelow GTA average.
Growth: Proposes to meet regularly with existing employers and grow local business base.
Community Building: Proposes to protect neighbourhoods – intensify in the right places.
Housing: New housing developments must include options for low/moderate-income families. Create a community inclusivity round table and increase senior-friendly housing and recreation.

 

OAKVILLE

Rob Burton
Growth: Proposes to continue to protect Glen Abbey through the use of Cultural Heritage Landscape provisions and court challenges.
Environment: Proposes to focus on protecting greenspace and the environment and controlling growth.

 

OSHAWA

Dan Carter (New)
Growth/Housing/Transit: A 4-Pillar Platform includes creating affordable, vibrant, healthy communities that invests in active transportation networks and creates employment opportunities with industries.

 

RICHMOND HILL

Dave Barrow
Growth: Proposes to continue with the Town’s economic vitality, build a strong community, manage our growth to respect the existing neighbourhoods and lead a responsive and efficient government.
Housing: Proposes to work with the Province and the Region to increase the rental housing supply, maintain the existing rental supply and add affordable ownership homes. Allowing secondary suites in existing homes will also create new housing once new by-laws that monitor the neighbourhoods are in place. Also believes the Town needs to review and update its 10-year-old Development Plan in order to process new development applications. Zoning By-laws also need to be brought into the “urban” town.

 

TORONTO

John Tory
Housing: Proposes to build 40,000 affordable rental units over 12 years. Leverage City lands, including lands surrounding TTC Stations.
Property Taxes: Keep property taxes at or below the rate of inflation. Supported City Council’s plan to implement water rate increases dedicated to improving storm and wastewater infrastructure.
Transit: Continue to build out the transit network plan – SmartTrack.

 

UXBRIDGE

Dave Barton
Growth and development: Proposes a seven-point platform, a main concern is the competing interest between farmland and “irresponsible and ill-considered development.” Wants to ensure that growth has clear collaboration with the livelihood of people who depend on the land.

 

VAUGHAN

Maurizio Bevilacqua
Taxes: Promises to keep Vaughan as one of the lowest taxed municipalities in the GTA. Focus on transit and roads to keep Vaughan moving. Working closely with government partners at all levels to ensure wise investments for new transit initiatives and improvements including the Yonge Subway, VIVANext, as well as road building and widening.
Innovation: Will transform the City of Vaughan into a hub for education, culture, sports and the arts by building the infrastructure required to achieve excellence and improve accessibility.
Other: Continue to excel in environmental stewardship. Support and attract small and large businesses to Vaughan.

 

WHITCHURCH-STOUFFVILLE

Iain Lovatt (New)
Growth: Proposes to preserve heritage that is integrated with future development. Integrating heritage built form into new developments as well as establishing Heritage Conservation Districts and site plan bylaws in heritage areas in town are identified a must.
Development: Within the first 100 days, hopes to assemble a meeting of commercial-industrial landowners to get everyone on the same page, about the 404 corridor and the servicing for the area going forward. Believes that these underserviced and underutilized lands represent about $1 billion in new tax assessment for Whitchurch-Stouffville.

 

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7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

 

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