Tag Archives: Wayne Karl

Etobicoke is development central, literally

Etobicoke is development central, literally

Latest News


Etobicoke is development central, literally

In real estate terms, an area in transition is a good thing, since it generally refers to progress, development and things being on the upswing.

Count Etobicoke as just one of those areas.

Really? Etobicoke, that large, narrow north-south swath that stretches from Lake Ontario up to Steeles Ave., and shouldered by Humber River on the east and Etobicoke Creek on the west? With large, well established and affluent neighbourhoods?

Yes, one and the same – the west end locale with the funny name people often mispronounce (FYI the K is silent) – that wasn’t exactly in need of an upgrade.

Blessed with a strong natural location due to its proximity to downtown Toronto, easy access to the QEW and Hwys. 401, 427 and 27, the Bloor subway line and several major TTC and GO Transit hubs, Etobicoke has long been a sought-after residential location.

North Etobicoke, for its easy highway access, plethora of commercial ventures and lower priced real estate. Etobicoke Centre, for its proximity to the Islington-City Centre West central business district, and exclusive neighbourhoods with large, treed properties such as the Kingsway. And South Etobicoke, or Etobicoke Lakeshore, for its prime lakefront location and areas such as Humber Bay and Mystic Pointe.

Do south

But when it comes to new condo development and buying opportunities, it’s all about the south. Well, mostly the south, until very recently.

Etobicoke Lakeshore was the first to transition, with the former motel strip at Lakeshore and Park Lawn giving way over the last several years to dozens of new projects. Today it is one of Toronto’s hottest new condo destinations. Your location here is right on Lake Ontario, with outstanding views of downtown Toronto, along the Martin Goodman Trail for cycling and running, and close to the Gardiner to commute into the city and to the QEW to head west. TTC bus and streetcar service is quite literally at your front door.

Now the condo boom is spreading north, into the central part of Etobicoke with new developments along Dundas St. W. between Islington and the 427, and several more planned for the south side of Dundas just west of Kipling subway. New condos are also springing up along the 427 near Burhamthorpe, appealing to those who prefer highway access over transit.

Under construction

Indeed, in Etobicoke Centre, construction will be the order of the day. For years. Six Points intersection, known locally as “Spaghetti Junction,” is a complicated interchange where Kipling, Bloor and Dundas all intersect. To support future development in the area, the City is spending tens of millions of dollars over the next two years to modernize the road and surrounding infrastructure. Plans include improved pedestrian and cycle access, wider sidewalks, more trees, street furniture and improved access to Kipling subway. The station itself is being expanded into a regional transit hub to link the TTC with GO Transit trains and buses, as well as Mississauga Mi-Way bus lines.

Location, location, location

Bordered on the south by Lake Ontario, on the east by the Humber River, on the west by Etobicoke Creek and Mississauga, and on the north by Steeles Ave. W.; population 365,143.

Key landmarks

• Centennial Park

• Etobicoke Waterfront

• Humber River

• Sherway Gardens

• The Old Mill

Select condo developments

293 The Kingsway by Benvenuto Group

300 The East Mall by KingSett Capital

327 Royal York Rd. by Vandyk Group

689 The Queensway by Parallax Development Corp.

1197 The Queensway by Marlin Spring

Empire Phoenix by Empire Communities

Parkland on Eglinton West by Shannex Inc.

Queensway Park by Urban Capital

Valhalla Town Square by Edilcan Development Corp.

Vita Two on the Lake by Mattamy Homes


SHARE  

Featured Products


First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

Latest News


First-time homebuyers catch a break with slowing home price growth

We have some good news and we have some bad news, prospective homebuyers in Canada.

First, the bad news: According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, home price growth in many of Canada’s real estate markets is slowing. This means, if you’re looking to buy a home, its value may not grow as much as it has recently. The good news, however, is that this same slowing price growth presents a window of opportunity for first-time homebuyers to get while you can.

The price of a home in Canada increased just 2.7 per cent year-over-year to $621,575 in the first quarter of 2019, Royal LePage says, well below the long-term norm of approximately five per cent. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 2.6 per cent year-over-year to $729,553, while the median price of a bungalow rose 1.1 per cent to $513,497. Condominiums remained the fastest growing housing type, rising 5.4 per cent year-over-year to $447,260.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Royal LePage expects national home prices to stay relatively flat throughout the 2019 spring market, with the national aggregate price of a home increasing just one per cent over the next three months. Meanwhile, the housing markets in several larger Canadian cities have shown noticeable signs of slowing, with nearly half of the regions in Royal LePage’s Quarterly Forecast anticipating quarter-over-quarter price declines.

But these are national numbers, and as we’ve written before, there really is no such thing as a Canadian housing market.

But more on this later.

Silver lining

Early in 2018, Canada experienced the most significant housing correction since the 2008 financial crisis. Markets showed signs of recovery late in the year, yet the figures for early 2019 suggest that the market has once again slowed.

We are expecting this to be a sluggish year overall in Canada’s residential real estate market, with the hangover from the 2018 market correction and weaker economic growth acting as a drag on home price appreciation, balanced by lower for longer interest rates,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “There is a silver lining here. This slowdown gives buyers, and first-time buyers in particular, an opportunity to buy real estate in our country’s largest cities.”

In the federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in March, the Canadian government announced three new or enhanced housing programs. The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a three-year, $1.25-billion shared equity mortgage program whereby  Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) will co-invest up to five per cent of the purchase price of an existing home. Further, for the first time in a decade, there was an increase in the registered retirement savings plan withdrawal limits in the Home Buyers Plan. The increase, from $25,000 to $35,000, was the largest since the program’s inception in 1992. Finally, an additional $10 billion in financing over nine years was earmarked for the construction of purpose-built rental housing.

Real estate is local

Illustrating our point that real estate is local and not national, the GTA housing market is still showing healthy growth.

“The city of Toronto is still one of Canada’s fastest appreciating real estate markets,” says Soper. “Detached home prices are rising in line with inflation, but condominium prices are increasing at near double-digit levels as vertical living has become the primary new-build option in this growing, world-class city.”

Median home prices in Toronto rose 5.8 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019. Two-storey home prices and bungalow home prices rose 4.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent year-over-year, respectively, while condo prices rose 9.3 per cent year-over-year. The overall GTA’s aggregate home price rose 3.4 per cent over the same period.

Real estate values in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region continued to appreciate at a brisk clip, as local economies grew and workers from the GTA looked to trade commuting time for lower house prices. Niagara-St. Catharines, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge aggregate prices were up by 6.9 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively.


SHARE  

Featured Products


cl_may19_icw_fi

In Conversation With Vince Santino, Senior Vice-President, Development Aoyuan Canada

Latest News


In Conversation With Vince Santino, Senior Vice-President, Development Aoyuan Canada

Condos are king in Toronto and, increasingly, elsewhere in the GTA, and one shining example is M2M, an 8.6-acre master-planned community from Aoyuan at Yonge and Finch in North York. When complete, M2M will be a fully-integrated, live-workplay neighbourhood with 1,650 residences, a community centre, daycare, 180,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space and a new public park.

Developer Aoyuan International set out with a master plan and smartly designed suite layouts to provide a variety of living options for families at different stages of life.

Vince Santino

We spoke with Vince Santino, senior vice-president of development for Aoyuan Canada, for an update on this signature project, and what might lie ahead for the company.

Condo Life: How are things coming along at M2M?

Vince Santino: Sales of our first phase began in June 2018 with a very successful launch, selling out the north tower. We released the south tower in February 2019, and the response was the same. We’re very pleased with the results to date. People want to be in North York.

We’re on track to begin construction in late Q2 of this year, or early Q3, and we’re looking forward to receiving our first homeowners for our first phase, which includes both towers and our lower suites, in late Q2 of 2022.

CL: What is it about North York that is so appealing?

VS: For one, it’s still within the 416, and when buyers are looking for a condo, they’re looking for convenience and being close to amenities. North York offers it all. Where we are situated, it’s very close to transit, the TTC and GO Transit, but also very accessible to all the major highways.

CL: Who are the typical buyers for this project?

VS: We’ve seen a lot of end users. They’ve been the majority of our buyers, whether they’re young couples, young families or downsizers… many of them have grown up and raised families in the area. They love it and don’t want to leave.

CL: What have you learned about development – delivering on your customers’ needs and wants – since launching this project?

VS: People want convenience. Even though they’ve made the decision to move into a condominium space, they want amenities that they don’t need to necessarily get into a car to get to. And they want choice, in the type of suites, with efficient design where space isn’t wasted, and to maximize utility at a price they’re willing to pay. They’re happy to pay for a bigger suite… our larger suites, our two-bedrooms plus den or three-bedrooms… we’ve designed them very efficiently. So, for a younger family, or someone who’s downsizing, they don’t feel like they’re sacrificing by getting into a condo.

CL: At M2M, you’re not just building a condo, you’re building an entire community, all with easy access to transit, which is increasingly key these days. How import ant are all of these inclusions in appealing to family living in condos?

VS: We’ve got more than 100,000 sq. ft. of office space planned, 8 0,000 sq. ft. of retail… that gives any family all the necessities, literally at their doorstep. Our site is complemented by really good restaurants, shopping, proximity to schools, universities, and we’ve got a future daycare conveniently located within the development that gives the younger families a key service that helps reduce the stress of the day-to-day commute and a busy family life.

The community centre, along with the public park that we’re going to construct as part of the development, provides families with options for better quality of life year-round, just footsteps from you. And because you’re in the 416, you’re close to transit, reducing your commute time, all of that time can be spent enjoying these amenities, spending that time with your family. It isn’t always so conveniently accessible in other developments, so this is really a one-of-a-kind opportunity, because of the sheer size and the amenities we’re providing.

CL: How do you foresee the condo market in that area performing in the next three to five years?

VS: We’re feeling very, very bullish. If you look at what’s been happening in the midtown area, Yonge and Eglinton, and up to Yonge and Sheppard, this is just a natural progression. We’ve seen a lot more launches in North York in the last year, and more coming into the market this year, and the area is starting to undergo a renascence, and over time people are going to continue to choose to be in North York. It tells us that buyers still want to be within the 416, but they have no problem not necessarily being in the downtown core, as long as they can get to it and the rest of the GTA conveniently.

CL: Affordability is a key concern for homebuyers in Toronto. How is Aoyuan addressing that issue, in how it plans and delivers its communities?

VS: The reality is, in the last little while, traditional lowrise homes have become more unaffordable and more out of reach for families. For us, providing well sized, even of the smaller units, are designed with the utility and growing families in mind. It provides people with an alternative. As for M2M itself, delivering those things, all in a masterplanned community, and not just a couple of towers in the middle of nowhere, it’s a great example… we’re trying to give people everything they need, moving into a space that isn’t perhaps traditional for younger families.

We’re taking the opportunity to intensify in an area of the 416 in North York where people want to live because of all of the existing amenities, and all those other elements. It gives our customers a lifestyle that offers it all, really – easy access to schools, transit, universities… people don’t feel like they’re giving up a lot, but the value they get by living in this area makes the affordability challenge a little easier to bear, especially for a young couple or young family moving into their first home.

CL: For some, affordability is a key reason for choosing a condo, but what are some of the other reasons families might consider a condo in the city, versus a lowrise home in the suburbs?

VS: A condo in the city helps with the cost of transportation, as it’s a significant expense for any household, so with the option of public transit, it means families may not need to purchase a vehicle, or a second vehicle. You’re reducing the commute time, and for families working in the city, it allows them more time to spend with their children, parents or grandparents. The city provides families with a lot of choice – where they shop, work and play – and there’s everything around, especially where we are in our setting.

CL: What have you learned – be it about development in Toronto or family-centric condos – from M2M, that you will use in future projects?

VS: Listen to the needs of your buyers. It’s refreshing to try things that maybe haven’t been at the forefront of condo development in the past. There’s a significant segment that wants living in the sky to provide the options, flexibility, amenities and opportunities that in the past attracted families to traditional lowrise homes, and the more we’re able to build those amenities in the sky, it becomes more and more attractive.

CL: What’s next for Aoyuan in the GTA?

VS: The future is bright for us here. We’re not limiting ourselves to condos only, and it speaks to our mantra of building a healthy lifestyle in trying to build complete communities. We’re looking at all kinds of other opportunities across the GTA.

Certainly, we’ve got Phase 2 at M2M coming, and we’re going to continue to build on what we’ve seen has been very successful for Phase 1, but we’re not limiting ourselves to one building form or type. We’re looking at a lot of opportunities, in and around the 416 and the 905 as well. Stay tuned.

PORTFOLIO

M2M Condos
Yonge and Finch
Now selling

SHARE  

Featured Products


Mississauga is standing out from the crowd

Mississauga is standing out from the crowd

Latest News


Mississauga is standing out from the crowd

Mississauga has always been a city of noteworthy accomplishments, from its inception as a city in 1974 combining the former townships of Lakeview, Cooksville, Lorne Park, Clarkson, Erindale, Sheridan, Dixie, Meadowvale Village, Malton, Port Credit and Streetsville; to being home to Canada’s longest-serving mayor, Hazel McCallion, from 1978 to 2014.

And now, literally at the time of writing, the City was hosting a Town Hall on seeking independence from the Region of Peel.

You might expect such a track record of ambition from one of the most populous – and fastest-growing – municipalities in Canada.

Covering a huge swath of land – 288 square kms, 13 km of which front Lake Ontario – Mississauga comprises many distinct neighbourhoods and communities. The former town of Port Credit, for example, once a sleepy little industrial locale, home to the iconic – and smelly – St. Lawrence Starch Co. plant from 1890 to 1990, today is a much sought-after residential area, thanks to its prized waterfront location.

Local histories

Many of these areas host annual festivals that pay respect to local histories. Streetsville, for example, holds its annual Bread and Honey Festival, paying homage to the area’s roots a mill town. And Port Credit’s Mississauga Waterfront Festival and the Southside Shuffle blues and jazz festival display everything that community has to offer.

With McCallion running the show over 12 consecutive terms, until she stepped aside and Bonnie Crombie won the election in 2014, Mississauga was known as a city of growth. McCallion consistently boasted she oversaw among the lowest taxes in Canada and made it easy for companies to do business there. Today, the area is home to more than 60 Fortune 500 companies, including Laura Secord Chocolates, Honeywell Aerospace, Walmart Canada and Kellogg’s Canada.

Succession

As for seeking its independence from Peel, Crombie’s office points to the following as motivation:

Population: Mississauga has the population to warrant becoming an independent city similar to other large municipalities such as Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa.

Stability: Mississauga is fiscally strong, has strong resident support and has the necessary capacity and experience to operate as an independent city.

Municipal service: A number of duplications, barriers and complexities in municipal service delivery could be eliminated if Mississauga became an independent city.

Future city building: As an independent City, Mississauga would have full autonomy to focus on City initiatives related to its future growth and development.

Cost: Mississauga pays 60 per cent of the overall property tax levy, yet owns only 29 per cent of regional roads.

Getting around Mississauga is, well, you are travelling over a vast area, and traffic these days… But Hwys 401, 403, 410 and the QEW all run for stretches through the city, and there’s no shortage of GO Transit and Mississauga MiWay Transit options.

For sports and recreation, again Mississauga is blessed with numerous recreational winter and summer sports leagues with decades of local history. Using the Streetsville example again, the Vic Johnston Community Centre dates back to 1961, and sits adjacent to Memorial Park and the Credit River.

And, following the Credit River down to well, Port Credit, Memorial Arena is another beautiful old barn, sitting adjacent to Memorial Park and facing Lake Ontario. The park itself serves as host location for some of the area’s largest festivals.

Then there’s the Paramount Fine Foods Centre (formerly Hershey Centre), where the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga Steelheads play, and which also is home to a number of community rinks.

Location, location, location

More than 288.42 square kms, 13 kms fronting Lake Ontario; bounded by Oakville, Milton, Brampton, Toronto and Lake Ontario

Key landmarks

• Square One Shopping Centre

• Mississauga Celebration Square

• Living Arts Centre

• Paramount Fine Foods Centre

• University of Toronto Mississauga

• Sheridan College Business School

Select condo projects

Aspire Condominiums by Conservatory Group

Daniels City Centre by The Daniels Corporation

Edge Towers by Solmar Development Corp.

Exchange District by Camrost Felcorp

Pinnacle Grand Park 2 by Pinnacle International

TANU Condos by Edenshaw Developments


SHARE  

Featured Products


Midtown Toronto

Midtown Toronto – where exactly is that?

Latest News


Midtown Toronto – where exactly is that?

Mention the neighbourhood Midtown Toronto, and people generally react in one of two ways. “Where exactly is that?? – the inference being that in a growing city of this size, pinpointing where the centre is, well… difficult, to say the least.

And once realizing “Midtown” is roughly defined by Bloor Street to the south, Eglinton Avenue to the north, Bayview to the east and around Dufferin Street to the west, people often think “Old Toronto.”

And in the context of real estate, that means high-priced.

Increasingly accessible

Indeed, with neighbourhoods such as Rosedale, Forest Hill, Deer Park, Summerhill and Yonge & Eglinton, Midtown is generally affluent and exclusive. Signature detached homes in any of these areas can easily run into the multi-million-dollar range.

However, new developments coming on the scene, particularly some landmark highrise condominiums, are making the area increasingly accessible to a variety of residents.

Once commonly known as “Yonge & Eligible,” due to its popularity among young single professionals, Yonge and Eglinton is quickly becoming one of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods, appealing to a variety of lifestyles.

Boasting five-star restaurants, boutiques, diverse retail services, schools and corporate head offices, residents have plenty of options for work and play right out their front door.

Crosstown traffic

If a great midtown location isn’t enough, proximity to transit is also a significant appeal of this area, being right on the Yonge Street subway line. And come 2021, moving about the city will get even easier, with the expected opening of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

Slightly off the beaten trail, wander over to nearby Davisville Village, Mount Pleasant Village and Forest Hill Village for a taste of what that Old Toronto was like, still with small, independent shops and nice little parkettes.

Select condo projects

The Eglinton by Menkes Developments

Y&S Condos by Tribute Communities

625 Yonge St. by Edenshaw Developments

e2 Condos by RioCan Living

2128 Yonge St. by Reserve Properties

1 Eglinton East by Davpart Inc.

Line 5 South by Reserve Properties

Location, location, location

Bloor Street to the south, Eglinton Avenue to the north, Bayview Avenue to the east and around Dufferin Street to the west

Key landmarks

  • Yonge Eglinton Centre
  • Casa Loma
  • Spadina Park
  • Forest Hill Village
  • Davisville Village
  • Mount Pleasant Village

SHARE  

Featured Products


GTA waterfront homes

Budget 2019 comes up short

Latest News


Budget 2019 comes up short

GTA waterfront homes

The federal government released the much-anticipated Budget 2019 this week, with homebuyers, builders and others awaiting measures to address housing issues.

And in short, it comes up, well… a little short.

First-time homebuyer help

Much of the housing focus in Budget 2019 was on addressing the needs of first-timers, namely with a new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.

  • The Incentive would allow eligible first-time homebuyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
  • About 100,000 first-time buyers would benefit from the Incentive over the next three years.
  • Since no ongoing payments would be required with the Incentive, Canadian families would have lower monthly mortgage payments. For example, if a borrower purchases a new $400,000 home with a five-per-cent down payment and a 10-per-cent CMHC shared equity mortgage ($40,000), the borrower’s total mortgage size would be reduced from $380,000 to $340,000, reducing the borrower’s monthly mortgage costs by as much as $228 per month.
  • CMHC to offer qualified first-time homebuyers a 10-per-cent shared equity mortgage for a newly constructed home or a five-per-cent shared equity mortgage for an existing home. This larger shared equity mortgage for newly constructed homes could help encourage the home construction needed to address some of the housing supply shortages in Canada, particularly in the largest cities.
  • The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive would include eligibility criteria to ensure that the program helps those with legitimate needs, while ensuring that participants are able to afford the homes they purchase. The Incentive would be available to first-time buyers with household incomes of less than $120,000 per year.
  • Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time buyers with greater access to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan savings to buy a home.

Noticeably absent from the housing measures was any adjustment to the stress test, which a number of experts say is necessary.

Industry reaction

“The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) agrees with (Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s) comments that there aren’t enough homes for people to buy or apartments for people to rent,” says Dave Wilkes, president and CEO.

“BILD feels the policies presented in (the) budget are a step in the right direction to help first-time homebuyers. We will continue to advocate for a review of the stress test so that first-time homebuyers can realize the dream of homeownership. Supply challenges still exist and are at the centre of the current unbalanced market, and we call for action on these by the provincial and municipal government.”

Supply challenges in the Greater Golden Horseshoe are serious, and Budget 19 fails to address them.

“This was a re-election budget that didn’t move the dial for new-home buyers in the GTA,” Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) told HOMES Publishing. “While increasing RRSP borrowing for first-time homebuyers is helpful, creating The First-Time Homebuyer Incentive at a maximum of $500,000 doesn’t help many Torontonians or GTA residents.”

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) had been recommending a shared appreciation mortgage approach for some time, as a tool to help those who can’t get into homeownership but have the means to pay rent.

The modification to the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan will help get Canadians into their first home, but will also act as a burden because the loan has to be repaid within 15 years, including a minimum of 1/15th per year.

“This means that, in the years following their home purchase, a homeowner has the additional financial responsibility of repaying their RRSP,” says James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial.

Important details of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program have yet to be released. For example, says Laird, it remains unclear whether the government would take an equity position in homes, or whether the assistance would act as an interest-free loan.

“This is an important distinction because if the government is taking an equity stake in a home, the amount the homeowner would have to pay back would grow as the value of the home increases,” he says.

The very launch of the program is surprising, Laird says, given that the BC Government implemented a similar measure a couple years ago, with unsuccessful results, and it was terminated in 2018. First-time home buyers found it difficult to understand and unappealing to have the government co-own their home.

Let’s do the math

Under existing qualifying criteria, including the stress test, homebuyers can qualify for a house that is 4.5 to 4.7 times their household income.

Under the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, however, the government has set a purchase limit of four times household income for the mortgage, plus the amount provided by the government, according to Ratehub.

By participating in this program, first-time homebuyers effectively reduce the amount they can qualify for by about 15 per cent, and their monthly mortgage payment naturally decreases in lockstep.

A household with $100,000 of income, putting a minimum down payment of five per cent, can currently qualify for a home valued at $479,888 with a $2,265.75 monthly mortgage payment.

Affordability calculations

The maximum purchase price for the same household, if they participate in the first-time homebuyer incentive, drops to $404,858.29 with a five-per-cent minimum down payment. The total mortgage amount would then be $400,000 (or four times their household income).

Mortgage payment calculations

If the household took a five-per-cent incentive from the government (for resales), their mortgage amount goes to $378,947.37, and monthly payment is now $1,810.90.

If the household took a 10-per-cent incentive, (for new homes) their mortgage amount goes to $357,894.73, and  monthly payment is now $1,710.29.

Stress test modifications

The CHBA is among the industry groups that is pushing for modifications to the existing mortgage stress test, which has served to lock out too many well-qualified Canadians due to the market and interest rate changes of the past year.

“The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, if coupled with immediate adjustments to the stress test, has the potential for getting the housing continuum functioning again,” says CHBA CEO Kevin Lee. “It is essential that these changes come quickly, though. Current restrictions on mortgage access mean that many millennials and new Canadians are seeing homeownership slipping away, and in many markets the economic impacts are substantial.”

Looking ahead to the 2019 federal election, CHBA will be encouraging all federal parties to address housing affordability in very meaningful ways in their respective platform documents.

Budget 2019 housing measures

Budget 2019

 

 

SHARE  

Featured Products


Homebuyers head to GTA west… but don't ignore the east

Homebuyers head to GTA west… but don’t ignore the east

Latest News


Homebuyers head to GTA west… but don’t ignore the east

It’s not exactly earth-shattering news, since we’ve been able to observe the trend for the last few years, but a new report from ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada underlines just to what degree homebuyers are heading west.

West, as in Hamilton and Halton Region – Burlington, Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton.

In analyzing sales trends in nine Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) districts over the past five years, ReMax notes those areas captured 10.1 per cent of total market share in 2018, with a 2.3-per-cent increase over 2013.

The reasons are fairly obvious: The quest for homes at affordable prices. Indeed, this 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 prices climbing 50 per cent to $769,142.

Builders of new homes also recognize the appetite for lowrise homes in the west.

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,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president, ReMax of Ontario-Atlanti Canada, 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.”

But, Alexander also told HOMES Publishing, the window of opportunity to head west may be closing.

“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),” he says.

GTA east areas such as Durham Region may not have the same appeal as the west – currently. “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.”

So, yes, prospective homebuyers, go west if you like, but also keep an eye on the east.


SHARE  

Featured Products


Burlington

Burlington – engaged in development

Latest News


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


SHARE  

Featured Products


Brantford

Brantford – On the move and poised for growth

Latest News


Brantford – On the move and poised for growth

You may know Brantford, Ont. only as the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky and the place where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but these days, this city of about 100,000 has a lot more going for it than just history.

Namely, its growth potential and bright future.

Powerhouse location

Indeed, one thing in Brantford’s favour is a prime natural location in Southwestern Ontario, on the Grand River and along Hwy. 403, with proximity to major consumer and industrial markets throughout North America. That makes it a powerhouse locale for business, and with improving transportation infrastructure, also for living here and commuting elsewhere in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Developed largely as an industrial centre catering to the agricultural sector (remember Massey-Ferguson and other farm implement names?), Brantford once thrived as a manufacturing town. But by the 1980s, following massive consolidation in the heavy equipment industry, the economy was in steady decline. Closures and bankruptcies left thousands unemployed, and economic depression set in.

Fast-forward to mid 1990s when the Brantford to Ancaster section of the 403 was completed, opening up easier access to U.S. markets such as Buffalo and Detroit, and an economic revival was on.

More recently, companies such as Procter & Gamble and Ferrero Group (maker of the world-famous Nutella and Ferrero Roche chocolates) have set up shop in Brantford.

World Nutella day

Ferrero, in fact, is a key employer. After opening the $150-million plant in 2005, employing 600 workers, the operation has expanded twice, investing another $140 million and adding almost another 100 jobs. The city even hosts an annual World Nutella Day celebration every February (this year it was Feb. 5).

All of this development has led Brantford to boast one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario, well below the provincial and national averages.

With a diversifying economy and expanding employment opportunities, those moving to the city will also find homes that are far more affordable, compared to Toronto and other areas in the GTA.

Housing affordability

“You can sell your home in Mississauga for $720,000 and buy the same home in Brantford for $420,000,” former Brantford mayor Chris Friel said last year when Moneysense magazine ranked the city the number one place in Canada to buy real estate. “You have all the amenities you need, and yet you’re only five minutes away from beautiful little towns and a rural area.”

Revitalization efforts of the downtown area have brought a mix of old and new, home to a growing post-secondary scene, with four institutions, including Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.

Economic diversity, housing affordability, lifestyle, proximity to amenities and transportation options… All of these developments have Brantford poised for growth. According to the City, population is forecast to reach 163,000 by 2041.

Forget history. Brantford is preparing itself for a bright future as a place to live, work and play.

****

Location, location, location

• Population 100,000, located in Southwestern Ontario in Brant County, on the Grand River and along Hwy. 403

• Distance from Toronto, 100 km; 135 km from Buffalo; 275 km from Detroit

Key landmarks

• The Bell Memorial, commemorating Alexander Graham Bell

• Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre

• Elements Casino Brantford

Select upcoming housing developments

Dufferin Crossing by Schuit Homes – Single-family homes

Portside at Woodway Trails by Royal Arc Developments – Townhomes

Portside at Woodway Trails by Huron Creek Developments – Townhomes


SHARE  

Featured Products


h_mar19_icw_fi

In Conversation With Cheryl Shindruk, BILD Chair, & Executive Vice-President, Geranium

Latest News


In Conversation With Cheryl Shindruk, BILD Chair, & Executive Vice-President, Geranium

Homebuyers may not realize or appreciate it, but hard at work behind the scenes on their behalf are industry organizations such as the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). In the last few years, given the challenging affordability, supply and policy issues facing the GTA housing market, BILD is not just important but essential to protecting the public interest.

Charged with building on this momentum for the next two years as BILD Chair is Cheryl Shindruk, who also is executive vice-president of land development at homebuilder, Geranium.

HOMES Magazine spoke with Shindruk to get her insights on these and other issues.

HOMES Magazine: You recently spoke at BILD’s Chair’s Dinner, with your topic being “leading change.” How do you, or BILD, plan to lead change in your tenure as Chair?

Cheryl Shindruk: The continued success of BILD, and our reputation as an industry, depends on our commitment to professionalism and excellence. We must be principled and fact-based in our approach; determined to have a voice and communicating our message loud and clear.

One way we can achieve change is to continue to focus on educating the public on the role our industry plays in contributing to the high quality of life this region offers, and the challenges we have delivering housing that people can afford, where and when it is needed.

HM: What were some of the other key messages in your address?

CS: Our advocacy agenda with government achieved some great momentum in 2018. We need to continue our work to help government create a regulatory environment and approvals process that is fair and streamlined, free of duplication, while protecting the public interest, and creates positive conditions that allow our members to build and renovate homes, and places for people to work and play. Collectively, we need to work to restore balance and stability in the housing market.

HM: The industry – through BILD, the OHBA and TREB – has made great strides over the last few years in getting governments to understand the challenges facing builders and developers, and therefore homebuyers. What’s your outlook for these relationships – how do you see things progressing over the next year or so.

CS: I believe in the power of partnership and collaboration with all levels of government, with the financial institutions, sister construction associations, chambers of commerce and BIAs, with our colleagues in the environmental and resource sectors and, with the media. We will continue to strengthen these partnerships as a means to achieving regulatory environment that allows us to meet the housing, commercial and industrial building needs of this region.

HM: Try to look ahead to a year or so from now. What accomplishment would signal your tenure as BILD Chair as a success you would be proud of?

CS: Our organization is poised to take on the challenges of 2019. The staff and board of BILD are highly qualified when it comes to talent, experience and work ethic. Advancing our advocacy agenda with government; further educating homeowners and prospective buyers; and restoring balance and stability in the housing market will signal to me that we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.

BILD Chair
BILD Chair Cheryl Shindruk, centre, with BILD President Dave Wilkes, left, and William Moore, president, Solutions Ink.

HM: Through this interview with HOMES Magazine, you’re also speaking directly to prospective homebuyers – who are growing increasingly concerned about affordability in the GTA. What would you say to them on this and other topics they need to be aware of, to keep their homebuying hopes realistic?

CS: Two things: Educate yourselves on the issues contributing to affordability, and get involved. In conjunction with traditional media channels, the Internet provides an abundance of information about our industry. Be sure to check sources and subscribe to different outlets for a balanced picture.

Ensure that your elected officials understand your concerns and viewpoint, at all levels of government.

We are committed to working with government and stakeholders so that our industry can do its part in delivering an ample supply and mix of housing options, and achieving balance and stability in the housing market. We need a regulatory environment and approvals process that allows this to happen.

HM: How has your work at Geranium prepared you for your position as Chair of BILD?

CS: I have been fortunate to have been able to pursue a career that merges my passions for city planning, community building, business and volunteerism. Since joining Geranium in 2003, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many complex and challenging files, receiving guidance and mentorship from outstanding business partners and Geranium’s principals, who lead by example. I’m inspired by our land development team, and we’ve all embraced a strong commitment to communication, consultation and collaboration. This is what helps me most in my role with Geranium and prepares me for the position of Chair of BILD.

Chair’s Dinner
Shindruk at the podium, delivering her keynote address at the 2019 Chair’s Dinner.

HM: Let’s talk more about Geranium… What’s in store for 2019?

CS: On the sales and marketing side, we will continue to sell and build our design-forward new homes in Aurora, Stouffville, Toronto East and Pickering. With our partners in Friday Harbour, Innisfil, we’re bringing this resort community to fruition on Lake Simcoe. We expect to launch new home communities in Port Perry and Pickering. We’ll also be continuing our planning and development processes on existing land holdings, working with government and agencies to create places which contribute to the diversity of housing styles, employment and lifestyle opportunities, while enhancing the communities we have the privilege of working in.

HM: How do you think your work at BILD will benefit you in your day job at Geranium?

CS: I value the work of BILD, OHBA and CHBA, which is why Geranium is a member. Our President, Boaz Feiner was a two-term BILD board member, and Louie Morizio, senior vice-president of construction, has served on RESCON’s board of directors. Whether through a formal role, or in other ways, Geranium and I will continue to have a voice in our industry.

SHARE  

Featured Products