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Designing homes post pandemic

Designing homes post pandemic

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Designing homes post pandemic

We’ve all heard how design of offices and public spaces will change due to COVID-19. But a bigger impact will be how this virus will change the way we design and live in our homes forever. We are working from home, learning from home, eating at home and spending more time in our homes and with our family members than ever before. Some changes will be faster, others will be slower to adopt. But here are some key points of how our homes will change:

Working and learning from home

Not all homes have the space to accommodate a separate home office or homework room. Rooms that function as an office by day and living room by night, a console desk in a quiet hallway, or a fold-away surface that disappears into a wall are all creative solutions that will help us carve out spaces throughout our homes to promote work and learning.

Healthy homes

We’re also going to crave clean and healthy homes. We want surfaces that are anti-microbial and that can be cleaned very easily without damaging them. We want clean air within our homes and want to ensure good filtration and ventilation. Every home will yearn for access to the outside. Our yards, balconies and patios will become an important part of our homes.

Adaptable spaces

One of the key changes we will see will be a shift from open concept spaces to more adaptable spaces. I’m not suggesting that we will be rid of beautiful open concept homes, but we are going to see a lot more adaptability in the way we design our spaces. We’re going to see aspects such as moveable walls, doors that disappear into walls, and rooms that can convert from one function to another swiftly and easily. As we live, work, learn and relax at home, we need flexible and multi-functional spaces that can accommodate quiet and privacy for working and learning, and the comfort and openness when entertaining.

Co-living and multi-generational living

While co-living has seen a growing popularity in Canada, the aftermath of this virus will help propagate both co-living and multi-generational living. I saw friends who lived alone experience more loneliness than friends with partners or roommates. Grandparents were missing their children and grandchildren. We were lonely and missing human connection. Renovating our homes for co-living or multi-generational living will allow us to live happily and comfortably.


One fun and refreshing facet really coming back into our homes because of our isolation is colour – we are craving colour. We want to feel good in our homes and colour is one of the easiest ways to transform and cheer up any space. Whether it’s wall colour, art, a toss cushion, or flowers, bringing in your favourite colour will instantly boost your mood.


Green spaces, roofs and walls

Green spaces, roofs and walls will become essential. Not only are they good for the environment, they lend to our well-being. Especially if a home has little access to the outdoors, green roofs and walls can provide much needed and desired connection to open-air space.

Michelle Mawby is a Registered Interior Designer with 20 years’ experience in residential interior design. She is the Principal of the interior design and architecture team at Georgian Group.

An award-winning interior designer, NCIDQ certified ARIDO & IDC member, and BCIN qualified designer, Michelle is also a nationally renowned design expert frequently called on to share her expertise and knowledge on TV and in print.


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Increased market activity in stage two of reopening the economy

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Increased market activity in stage two of reopening the economy

Featured Image by: Royal LePage

Although we saw a sharp decline in market activity during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve now entered stage two of reopening of the economy and we can see a further increase in market activity.

For June 2020, 8,701 sales were reported through TRREB’s MLS System. This result represented a substantial increase over the May 2020 sales result, both on an actual (89 per cent) and seasonally adjusted basis (84 per cent), and down by only 1.4 per cent compared to June 2019.

New listings were up slightly on a year-over- year basis by 2.1 per cent. However, active listings at the end of June 2020 were down by 28.8 per cent compared to June 2019. Growth in new listings will need to outstrip growth in sales for a number of months before active listings approach last year’s levels.

The average selling price for all home types increased by 11.9 per cent to $930,869, compared to June 2019. The actual and seasonally-adjusted average selling prices were also up substantially compared to May 2020, by 7.8 and 9.8 per cent, respectively.

Pent-up demand pre- and post-COVID

Following the broader movement to reopen the economy in June, we experienced a very positive result in terms of home sales and selling prices. Before the onset of COVID-19, there was a great deal of pent-up demand in the market. This pent-up demand arguably increased further over the past three months. We are still in the early days of recovery, but barring any setbacks, we should continue to see stronger market conditions in the second half of 2020, as households look to satisfy their ownership housing needs.

It will be important to closely monitor housing market conditions as economic recovery continues in the second half of 2020 and into 2021. Policymakers should proceed cautiously with any demand-side stimulus. The persistent lack of listing inventory in the GTA understandably took a back seat to COVID-19 related issues in the short term, but supply should once again be top-of-mind once the recovery takes hold, in order to ensure longterm affordability in the GTA.

In order to further gauge the impact of COVID-19 on the GTA housing market and to gain insight on what the future holds for housing demand and supply, TRREB undertook a second poll of consumer intentions through Ipsos between May 25 and 31, 2020. The key findings from this poll was very much in line with the results from the April 2020 poll. Buying intentions remained strong across both surveys, with respondents indicating they were likely to purchase a home in the next 12 months. In terms of listing intentions, although up from the April Ipsos poll (21 per cent in May versus 17 per cent in April), the result remained well below the 32 per cent listings intentions mark recorded in the spring of 2019.

Again, we can recognize a gap between buying intentions and listing intentions, which demonstrates a broader trend exhibited in the GTA over the past few years. Furthermore, this gap underpins the requirement of policymakers to take action on the housing supply front, both in terms of aggregate supply and increasing the diversity of housing types available to home buyers.

Lisa Patel is President of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 54,500 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact her at trebpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit trreb.ca.


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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.”


GTA homebuilders upbeat about post-COVID-19 recovery

Municipalities and building industry working together now to ensure housing essential after COVID-19




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