Outlook 2020 – Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing, Fieldgate Homes
Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives
What is the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?
We see continued growth in lowrise developments, owing partly to a resurgence in consumer confidence in the past six months. With aggressive pricing and lower interest rates, consumers seem to have eliminated some of the concerns that were more evident in the first part of 2019. To meet the needs for a renewed demand in housing, more lands should be released, thanks to streamlining the approval process by the Ontario government.
Affordability will remain a challenge, so there will be more innovations designed in different forms of housing to try and keep prices within reach for the maximum number of purchasers. More growth in outer suburban areas such as Hamilton and Oshawa and areas outside the GTA (such as Shelburne) where affordability is still strong, will help.
And for Fieldgate?
We have 10 new communities coming in Markham, Milton, Vaughan and elsewhere, so it will be a very exciting year for us.
What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?
The land development team at Fieldgate acquires new parcels of land on a regular basis and works as efficiently as possible to deliver them to the marketing team. The marketing team spends a lot of time working and reworking our floorplans and elevations to ensure quality engineering that is more efficient in smaller designs. We strive to introduce unique, modern elevations which are efficient to build and have low maintenance features, rather than the same elevations that have been in use for decades.
We also pay attention to changing trends in how people live in their homes – looking beyond our borders into other markets to see what innovations in housing design we can incorporate here. We are developing new designs of single-family homes to assist all of our market segments. We are introducing rear-lane townhomes and singles with double car garages to satisfy the demand for homes in commutercentric neighbourhoods. Smaller lot townhouses with three storeys will produce more affordable interiors for first-time buyers.
What more could the industry do to address these issues?
Release more land! GTA land supply has become extremely tight and therefore more costly. Reviewing the cost of levies, development charges and the lengthy approval process would be beneficial for both builders and consumers. It often takes more than 10 years from acquisition of land to bring homes to market. The various levels of government need to work with the builders to reduce the red tape.
What should prospective new-home buyers know about Fieldgate Homes for 2020?
Fieldgate Homes has been building new homes in the GTA for more than 60 years, and we take pride in what we do. It gives us great pleasure to have previous Fieldgate homeowners come to one of our new communities because they enjoyed the previous experience and want another Fieldgate home. We have a great many repeat purchasers!
Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?
Choice, quality, reputation, more than 60 years of new-home building, excellent service, a vertically and horizontally integrated company, where we do our own land development, planning, design and building. Also, we develop community infrastructure so that when you buy from Fieldgate, you’re buying a complete community, with respect for the customer and setting a standard that makes Fieldgate Homes proud of the homes we build.
Special Report: Outlook 2020