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Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

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Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

The new home construction industry is well-positioned to play a significant role in the post-COVID-19 recovery in the GTA, Ontario and Canada, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

“Working with our colleagues at the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations, we have put together a roadmap for simple changes that will have a great impact to the economy,” says David Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD.

The CHBA, OHBA and BILD submitted a 20-point plan to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee to help kick-start the Canadian economy post pandemic.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Canada, Ontario, and the GTA, the groups say. Millions of people lost their jobs and the economy has all but ground to a halt. As governments at all levels start to look at recovery, they will need to focus on the GTA, as the region is the engine of Canada’s economy, accounting for 20 per cent of Canada’s and 50 per cent of Ontario’s GDP.

The residential and commercial building and development industry, and the professional renovations industry, are major contributors to economic activity in the region. Collectively, they employ more than 360,000 people in the GTA, paying $22 billion in wages and generating $42 billion in investment value annually.

Unlock investments

“With all levels of government facing financial challenges and funding requests, we are providing ideas that will unlock consumer and industry construction investments that will kick-start the economy,” says Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the OHBA.

Proposed measures include transferring mortgage tenancy to the date of occupancy for new condominiums, eliminating security deposits for Ontario Land Transfer Tax on affiliated transfers and freezing municipal increases to Property Tax Reassessment and development charges.

Another proposed recommendation is to free up monies that would otherwise be stuck in such things as municipal agreements (refundable deposits paid by developers) and replace them with surety bonds, freeing up billions in potential investments that otherwise would have been parked.

Stimulate growth

“To help stimulate economic growth and keep Canadians properly housed, we will need to foster housing supply while also ensuring demand-side measures are adjusted to reflect the times,” says Kevin Lee, CEO, CHBA. “Accordingly, we recommend 30-year amortizations for insured mortgages, and adjusting the mortgage stress test for both insured and uninsured mortgages. Removing the GST on new homes purchased for 2020 and 2021 would also be a timely catalyst for new home construction.”

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Toronto and Canada to lead global markets in post-COVID-19 real estate recovery: ReMax

Toronto and Canada to lead global markets in post-COVID-19 real estate recovery – ReMax

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Toronto and Canada to lead global markets in post-COVID-19 real estate recovery – ReMax

Canada’s – and Toronto’s – real estate markets will be among the strongest in the world in a post-COVID-19 recovery, according to a new report from ReMax Canada.

A Leger survey conducted on behalf of ReMax indicates that 56 per cent of Canadians who are planning to engage in the real estate market expect to do so in less than a year, showing an eagerness to get back to buying and selling.

Almost half (44 per cent) of Canadians believe the real estate market will bounce back to the strength it was before COVID-19 by 2021. Moreover, 29 per cent believe that before the end of 2020, the market in Canada will return to its pre-pandemic strength.

“While the Canadian market has seen a steep year-over-year decline in the volume of transactions during the peak of COVID-19 this spring, transactions have been happening and prices in particular have been resilient in much of Canada,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada, told Condo Life.

Christopher Alexander
Christopher Alexander

Alexander points to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), showing that national home sales in May were up 59.6 per cent from April. “Now that economies are beginning to reopen across the country, and in light of some of the recent activity we’ve seen in various cities across Canada, we anticipate that demand could begin to improve much faster than we initially anticipated at the beginning of COVID-19.”

In Toronto, Canada’s largest market, housing demand is already showing signs of rebounding. “The city has experienced an uptick in activity and a number of multiple-offer scenarios, pointing to a post-lockdown housing market outlook that is not nearly as dire as some suggested. Actual May 2020 sales increased by 55.2 per cent compared to April 2020.”

“Canada’s housing market was strong before COVID-19 hit, and despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, we are optimistic that housing market could be restored much sooner than initially expected,” says Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president, ReMax of Western Canada. “As we saw in our 2020 Liveability Report, Canadian communities are resilient and people love their neighbourhoods, showing a collective commitment to bounce back.”

Pre-existing pent-up demand for homes in hot markets such as Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa may help mitigate the decline in buyers who are suffering pandemic-related job losses, ReMax says. Exceptionally low inventory in much of Canada may also contribute to upward price pressure as restrictions ease and demand increases further.

In line with economists’ predictions, ReMax Canada estimates relative price stability by the end of 2020, with a possible price correction in the single digits. Exceptions include regions such as Alberta and Newfoundland, which are still struggling to rebound from a host of shocks, the dive in resource revenues, and the potential for a second wave of COVID-19.

Real estate technology

The pandemic has pushed the global real estate industry to embrace a variety of technology tools that were previously available but not always adopted to facilitate a transaction. Now, professionals are integrating 3D home tours and virtual open houses into their listing and selling practices. Given that almost half of Canadians (46 per cent) say that in a post- COVID-19 landscape, they’d prefer to work with real estate agents who use technology and virtual services in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, agents will need to adapt in order to secure and build their businesses.

This sentiment is shared across both the U.S. and Europe, which have witnessed a shift in consumer wants toward a more digitalized homebuying and selling experience, such as e-signatures, virtual meetings and digital paperwork. ReMax notes that in some instances, buyers are still requesting in-person home tours before completing a transaction.

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