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Local Focus - Newmarket & Aurora

Newmarket & Aurora are close to the city, but far from the hustle and bustle

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Newmarket & Aurora are close to the city, but far from the hustle and bustle

With some homebuyers priced out of the downtown Toronto core, not to mention limited availability, many are heading to the suburbs in search of more affordable homes.

Those looking north – to Newmarket and Aurora – may indeed find savings. They may also get more bang for their buck, in the way of larger properties and lots for those prices.

But it isn’t all about paying less in Newmarket and Aurora, where proximity to nature, including the Oak Ridges Moraine, and expanding highway and transit infrastructure, make living here and working in Toronto or elsewhere in the GTA an appealing option.

Newmarket

Located just seven kms north of Aurora, with a population of about 85,000, Newmarket gets lots of love.

In a recent survey conducted by the Town, 95 per cent of residents said they are satisfied with Newmarket as a place to live, and 80 per cent are satisfied with overall service levels.

“The feedback received from the Community Survey results support Newmarket’s reputation as one of the Best Places to Live in Canada, according to MoneySense Magazine,” says Mayor John Taylor.

Indeed, Newmarket was ranked in the top 25 communities in Canada in 2016 and 14th among best small cities. In 2017, Amazon Canada rated it as number 20 of the top 100 most romantic cities in Canada.

Also, as is the case with Aurora, the elections in 2018 brought change to Newmarket, when then-Mayor Tony Van Bynen decided not to seek re-election. John Taylor took over, making the economy, business growth, community building and expanding new housing developments his top priorities.

Aurora

Located in York Region, Aurora is an increasingly popular and affluent town. According to the 2016 Census, the population here grew 4.2 per cent from 2011 to 55,445 – but is forecast to grow to more than 69,000 by the end of 2020.

With an average household income of more than $155,000, Aurora is one of the wealthiest towns, not just in the province, but in all of Canada.

What’s causing such growth? An increasingly diverse economy and business expansion, which drive housing demand and rising prices.

Through it all, Aurora has been able to maintain a small-town feel. In 2016, it was ranked as one of the Top 25 places to live in Canada.

Still, the October 2018 municipal election brought change to Aurora. Tom Mrakas unseated incumbent Geoff Dawe, running on a platform centred around housing and growth. He had said he wants to ensure better land use planning decisions are made through the Local Appeals Body and by implementing a Design Review Panel. He also intends to uphold the Official Plan and continue to oppose golf course redevelopment and improve municipal infrastructure.

Location, location, location

• Newmarket, population 84,224, 7 kms north of Aurora

• Aurora, population 55,445, 49 kms north of Toronto

Select housing developments

NEWMARKET

Glenway Urban Towns by Andrin Homes

Shining Hill by CountryWide Homes

Shining Hill by Regal Crest Homes

Shining Hill by Townwood Homes

AURORA

Allegro by Geranium Homes

Paradise Aurora by Paradise Developments

Queen’s Grove Collection by North Star Homes

Aurora Townhomes by Andrin Homes


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In Conversation With… David McComb, President & CEO Edenshaw Developments Ltd.

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In Conversation With… David McComb, President & CEO Edenshaw Developments Ltd.

Edenshaw Developments prides itself on being a different kind of developer, applying philosophical statements such as “Artistic, Mindful, Natural” across everything it does.

And it shows, once you learn a little about the company’s latest signature project – Tanu, in the Port Credit area of Mississauga, Ont.

We spoke with President and CEO David McComb for further insights into Tanu and Edenshaw.

Condo Life: You must be pretty excited about your Tanu project, in the beautiful and improving Port Credit. How are things coming along there?

David McComb: Yes, we’re very excited to be delivering Tanu to Port Credit. Sales began in late winter of 2018, construction commenced in July of 2019, and occupancy is slated for spring of 2021 – things are moving along very well.

CL: Where does the name Tanu come from?

DM: From the island, Tanu, located in Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), BC. It’s a beautiful, wildlife-rich place, with a temperate rainforest, and a collection of stunning totem poles carved by the Haida people. Having lived in BC for many years, I developed a deep fondness for Haida art and culture, and I knew the next condo I developed would bear the name Tanu, as a nod to this very special place and the people who inhabit it.

CL: What design features or amenities at Tanu speak to the area, neighbourhood or surrounding history?

DM: Our lead architect, Mansoor Kazerouni, from IBI Group, incorporated building materials and colours that complement the natural attributes of Port Credit, such as the abundant, tree-lined trails, the Credit River and Lake Ontario. For example, walnut-toned longboards on the exterior facade provide a sense of warmth and character that fit in well with the surrounding landscape. Our interior finishes, such as hardwood floors and natural stone countertops, were similarly inspired by these elements. On a historical note, during the late 1880s and early 1900s, Port Credit supplied much of shale stone for the construction of buildings in downtown Toronto.

CL: Port Credit is such a prized location, given its proximity to Lake Ontario, Credit River and highways. What else drew you to build Tanu here?

DM: I’ve been a resident of Port Credit for more than 20 years now, and one of the many things I really love about it is the sense of community. There’s a charming, village-like quality to Port Credit – it’s the sort of place where people greet each other on the street as they walk their dogs; and shop and restaurant owners know you by name. It’s also a wonderful place to raise a family. There are a lot of great schools here… parks, trails and year-round community festivals. You’re also just 20 minutes to downtown Toronto via the GO train.

CL: How did the project change as a result of community feedback during the planning process?

DM: There really weren’t many changes at all – we actively engaged the community and local stakeholders throughout our design and planning process, with the goal of delivering a building that would be strongly supported not only by the city’s planning staff, but also by the residents of Port Credit. An interesting note, however, was the comment by some residents that our suite areas we too large, but our sales performance has proved our assumptions correct.

CL: What is Edenshaw doing to address the challenges facing homebuyers – namely affordability?

DM: Edenshaw has proactively engaged the City of Mississauga to identify opportunities to deliver affordable units within our new developments. In Tanu, for example, we designated two units that meet the criteria for affordable housing guidelines, which we sold to a local school teacher and young man who grew up in the area, but never thought he’d ever be able to afford to move back.

CL: How is Edenshaw changing its approach – for example, to location selection, housing type, size and pricing – as a result of the ongoing issues and challenges in the homebuilding industry?

DM: The industry has been facing numerous obstacles in supplying affordable housing, as rising construction costs and development taxes make it very challenging to bring new projects to market. The GTA, especially, is in desperate need of purpose-built rental buildings, however, extremely high land and construction costs, coupled with rent control policies, have made it more feasible for developers to build condominiums instead of apartment buildings. Edenshaw changed its approach of building only condominiums in 2012, when we developed a strategic partnership with Sunlife to design and build purpose-built rental housing in Toronto. At the time, Edenshaw was one of the few developers in the GTA building purpose-built rental product. The result was Alto, a six-storey, LEED Silver Certified apartment building located on Dundas Street in Toronto’s Little Portugal neighbourhood. The project was a tremendous success and winner of the FRPO’s Rental Development of the Year, in 2016. Notably, Alto was also Toronto’s first 100 per cent smoke-free building.

We also make a point of selecting sites that are located within vibrant communities and in proximity to high-order public transit. Many of our current and upcoming developments are along the forthcoming Mississauga Light Rail Transit Hub and the Port Credit GO station, which is a real draw to people who are getting priced out of Toronto – you’re just a 20-minute GO train ride downtown, yet the price per square foot for a condo in Port Credit is hovering around where downtown Toronto pricing was almost a decade ago!

CL: What’s next for Edenshaw, after Tanu?

DM: We have several new and exciting projects in the pipeline. This year, we’ll be launching two projects adjacent to the Port Credit Mobility Hub and GO station, and a further development about a 10-minute walk to the Cooksville GO station and a couple of LRT stops to Square One Shopping Mall and Mississauga City Centre.

PORTFOLIO

Tanu
21 Park St. E, Port Credit, Ont.
Under construction

625 Yonge St.
625 Yonge St., Toronto
Coming soon

Gordon Woods
2130 Hurontario St., Mississauga, Ont.
Coming soon

enshaw.com

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Neighbourhood Watch - Markham

Markham is a hotbed of economic development and growth

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Markham is a hotbed of economic development and growth

As the fourth most populous community in the GTA – after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton – Markham has been a hotbed for economic growth and development for years.

It’s long been known as a centre for growing sectors such as technology and life sciences – and therefore employment growth – one of the key drivers of housing demand.

Today, Markham is home to more than 1,000 such companies, with IBM, Huawei, Honeywell, Advanced Micro Devices, Motorola and Oracle all having their Canadian headquarters located in the city.

Residence has its price

Buying a home in Markham will cost you, however, as it has also become one of the GTA’s most expensive housing markets.

According to the Royal LePage Home Price Index for the fourth quarter of 2019, aggregate home prices grew two per cent year-over-year to $951,228, condos grew 4.9 per cent to $486,898.

Still, new-home development is a priority for Markham City Hall and Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who was first elected in 2006 and is known as developer- and builder-friendly. The city has a number of new home developments underway, including some high-profile condo projects.

The revitalization of Downtown Markham has been spearheaded by The Remington Group’s multi-use development along Main Street, which includes expansive retail shops, a Marriott Hotel, a Cineplex, as well as a variety of condo buildings and townhomes.

Cultural diversity

Culture is also an important attraction in Markham, with The Flato Markham Theatre offering more than 300 live performances each year, showcasing the diversity of the city. In addition, Varley Art Gallery encompasses the historic Kathleen McKay House, which was the home of Group of the Seven’s Frederick Horsman Varley for the last 12 years of his life. Measuring 15,000 sq. ft., the gallery is the second most popular tourist attraction in York Region.

Markham also has dozens of parks with baseball diamonds, soccer pitches and children’s play areas and splash pads. The city also boasts more than 22 kms of scenic pathways with 12 bridges that provide recreational activity for joggers and cyclists.

The largest park in the city is the Milne Dam Conservation Park. Measuring 305 acres, it is bordered by thick forest on the south and east and the Rouge River runs through the middle.

Toogood Pond is an 82-acre park that features a partially naturalized pond and marsh, and it recently underwent revitalization to remove sediment, restore the shoreline and plant native foliage.

Getting around Markham is facilitated by easy access to Hwys. 404 and 407 and the DVP, and for public transit, York Region Transit/Viva connects with all nine York Region municipalities, and GO Transit provides regular train and bus service.

Location, location, location

Population of 328,940, located in the Regional Municipality of York in the GTA.

Distance from downtown Toronto, 30 km

Key landmarks

  • Flato Markham Theatre
  • Varley Art Gallery
  • Milne Dam Conservation Park
  • Angus Glen Golf Club

Select housing developments

9999 Markham Road by OnePiece Holding

Canvas on the Rouge by Flato Developments

Gallery Towers by Remington Group

Langstaff Gateway by Kylemore Communities

Panda Markham Condos by Lifetime Developments

Riverview by Times Group


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Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year

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Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year

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Outlook 2020 – it’s a new year and a new decade, and with that come new challenges and opportunities. When it pertains to the housing industry and homebuying, we’ve boiled it down to a handful of items to keep your eye on. Here are five things you really need to understand about real estate – specifically the GTA market.

1 REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL

This is a good place to start, because it’s a simple but important fact that escapes many consumers: Real estate is local. There is no such thing as a Canadian housing market, just as there’s no Canadian traffic or Canadian weather.

Sure, organizations such as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) are mandated to analyze what goes on across the country. But what’s most important to you is what’s happening in your market. When you buy a home, you don’t buy a national market. You buy one property, on one street, in one neighbourhood, in one city and region.

If you live in Ontario, why do you care that Alberta’s ongoing oil industry struggles are affecting sales and prices in markets in that province? Or that Vancouver’s affordability challenges are even more serious than those in Toronto?

Forget the national headlines. Examine what’s happening in your market. The same applies to the economy.

Why does this matter? Read on.

2 THE ECONOMY

Globally, geopolitical uncertainty and softening economic growth will mean Canada faces some challenges with export and investment, leaving the heavy lifting to the consumer, according to Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist at RBC.

RBC forecasts the economy to grow about 1.6 per cent in 2020. The unemployment rate remains at fourdecade lows, though may rise to 5.9 per cent in 2020 from 5.7 per cent in 2019. Companies are having difficulty finding skilled workers, leading to stronger wage growth.

Ontario’s real GDP growth is forecast to slow to 1.6 per cent for 2019 and 1.5 per cent in 2020, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Job creation remains strong, with the province adding more than 200,000 new jobs over the first 10 months of 2019, much of them in full-time work.

Ontarians are among the most positive about the economic outlook, according to a recent public opinion survey from the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute, with 22 per cent of respondents indicating they believe the economy will improve. Only residents in Quebec, at 30 per cent, and BC at 23 per cent, are more optimistic. In Alberta, by contrast, 79 per cent of residents expect their economy to deteriorate over the next year.

Keeping in mind what we wrote about real estate – and even the economy – being local, Ontario is looking strong on both counts for 2020.

Craig Wright, RBC
Craig Wright, RBC

“We continue to see strong employment gains, Ontario is leading Canada in terms of employment growth on a year-over-year basis, and strong population growth,” Wright told Homes Publishing. “So, strong fundamentals supporting it, in a low rate environment.”

The GTA’s robust population growth will continue to drive demand for both ownership and rental housing, Wright says.

Housing markets in Southern Ontario, in fact, led in home price growth last year, and are expected to continue to do so in 2020, according to a new report from ReMax.

ALSO READ: OUR TOP 7 REAL ESTATE STORIES OF 2019 

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

Forecast 2019 – where are Canada’s hottest housing markets?

In Conversation With Deena Pantalone of National Homes

In Conversation With Niall Collins, President of Great Gulf Residential

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

Behind the numbers, Breaking down the market in March 2019

HPG golf tournament cracks $300K in funds for Raising The Roof

“Southern Ontario is witnessing some incredibly strong price appreciation, with many regions still seeing double-digit gains,” says Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Thanks to the region’s resilient economy, staggering population growth and relentless development, the 2020 market looks very optimistic.”

Toronto is set to experience a strong housing market this year, thanks to lower unemployment rates, economic growth and improved overall affordability in the GTA. ReMax is forecasting average sale price growth of six per cent, two points higher than the increase from 2018 ($835,422) and 2019 ($880,841).

The Niagara region is also showing strong growth, with average residential sale price increasing almost 13 per cent, from $378,517 in 2018 to $427,487 in 2019. Value-conscious consumers from the GTA are buying in droves, with many choosing to live in the region and commute to Toronto.

3 INTEREST RATES

In its most recent interest rate announcement, the Bank of Canada maintained its target for the influential overnight rate at 1.75 per cent, where it has been since October 2018. Though there is some global uncertainty, the Bank says, the Canadian economy is resilient, citing moderately expanding consumer spending, stronger wage growth and housing investment, increasing population and continuing low mortgage rates.

Many experts foresee mortgage rates holding where they are throughout 2020 – if not declining.

Indeed, James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial mortgage brokerage, predicts BoC will cut the overnight rate by a quarter point in the second half of 2020.

In 2019, central banks around the world cut their rates, but Canada was not among them. Facing somewhat slowing economic growth driven by decreased exports and a slightly higher unemployment rate, Canada will follow this trend and cut the overnight rate by 0.25 per cent in the latter half of 2020, Laird says.

“These savings will be passed along to variable rate mortgage holders in the form of a lower prime rate,” Laird says. “Therefore, Canadians who are in a variable rate will see their interest rate drop in the second half of the year.”

The Bank’s rate policy will cause fixed mortgage rates to remain low throughout the year, he adds. This should provide peace of mind to Canadians who have a mortgage up for renewal or those who have plans to purchase a new home in 2020.

4 GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association, Ontario Home Builders’ Association, Building Industry and Land Development Association, Toronto Real Estate Board – and other relevant industry bodies – are all lobbying hard for the various levels of government to address the issues facing housing. Ranging from the First-Time Home Buyers’ Incentive Program, the mortgage stress test or land-use policies that affect the level of homebuilding – and therefore buying – one thing is clear: Federal, provincial and municipal levels of government are listening.

(Many of the executives in our Outlook 2020 Q&As in the following pages touch on these issues, and we’ll have another related special feature in our February issue.)

At least one major source says governments have little choice but to take action. The Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), a real estate investment education, analysis and research firm, cites increasing immigration as the catalyst for change.

“An increase in the influx of migrants amounting to over one million people in three years is tantamount to increasing rental demand,” says Jennifer Hunt, vice-president of research at REIN. “This is good news for rental housing providers, as migrants have higher tendencies to rent property rather than to purchase their own homes, especially within the first four years of settling in Canada.”

Once settled and secure in employment, however, many of these new Canadians want to become homeowners, which leads to higher demand for housing, including new homes and condos.

5 FTHBI & THE STRESS TEST

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a shared equity mortgage through CMHC. The program is intended to reduce monthly mortgage payments for first-time homebuyers, without increasing the amount they need to save for a down payment.

Though some recent adjustments to the program, including raised purchase limits for high-priced markets such as Toronto and Vancouver, have helped, some are calling for further improvements to the plan.

REIN, for one, suggests watching for a potential increase of the FTHBI’s purchase price limit to nearly $800,000 in high-priced markets.

Ratehub is not convinced, expecting that the FTHBI will not be enhanced, and the existing program will see minimal traction.

“Less than five per cent of Canadians who are eligible for the FTBHI program will elect to use it,” says Laird. “Most Canadians do not want the government to own part of their home.”

REIN and Laird agree the mortgage stress test, which many in the industry have been calling to be changed, will likely remain unchanged.

Special Report: Outlook 2020:

Jordan DeBrincat, Director of Operations, Altree Developments

Fan Yang, Deputy General Manager (Eastern Canada), Aoyuan Property Holdings (Canada) Ltd.

Nick Carnicelli, President, Carriage Gate Homes

Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes High Rise

Anson Kwok, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Pinnacle International

Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing, Solmar Development Corp

Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel

Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing Fieldgate Homes

Shakir Rehmatullah, President Flato Development Inc.

Mike Parker, Vice-President Sales & Marketing Georgian International Build Corp.

Brad Carr, CEO Mattamy Homes Canada

Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation National Homes

Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager Regal Crest Homes

 

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Outlook 2020 – Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing, Fieldgate Homes

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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.

Jim Andrews
Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing Fieldgate Homes

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

Outlook 2020 – Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Development Inc.

Outlook 2020 – Mike Parker, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Georgian International Build Corp.

Outlook 2020 – Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

Outlook 2020 – Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager, Regal Crest Homes

 

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Outlook 2020 – Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Developments Inc.

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Outlook 2020 – Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Developments Inc.

Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives

How do you see the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?

It’s bright. The economy is getting better and more homes are being sold, financial and mortgage markets are improving and the federal government is a little easier to deal with. However, the affordability for new-home buyers, especially firsttime buyers, is a challenge because of the stress test. We need to help these buyers, not make it more difficult.

Shakir Rehmatullah
Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Development Inc.

And for Flato Developments?

Similarly, the outlook is strong, largely because our target market is firsttime buyers and young families, and the homes we build are lower than the $1-million price point. For Flato Developments, most of our new homes will be outside of the GTA, from mid $400’s to $1 million, so affordability is key. People don’t mind driving outside the GTA as long as the location is right, the community is good, and they are getting value for their homes. It’s not just because home prices are lower, the cost of living is, as well. Living outside of GTA will be a trend.

What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

Affordability is the key. Most people can’t afford homes in the GTA. They are becoming too expensive too quickly, especially in last five years. All associated costs keep going up, such as developing charges, parkland levies, cost of construction, infrastructure and taxes. But personal incomes haven’t risen accordingly, so there is a gap and affordability has been affected.

In addition, the mortgage market has become very difficult and very tight. Most young families can’t afford to buy a home in the GTA. For example, single-detached homes in Markham are about $1.5 million. At Flato, we are stepping outside the GTA and going to place such as Dundalk, Beeton and Shelburne. We are exploring those areas because of the lower development charges, and we can afford to build the houses that people can afford.

What more could the industry do to address these issues?

The biggest thing is to work with the government, and we are fortunate to have the Conservatives in Ontario. They are cutting the red tape, and they are open for business. The less red tape, the better the market will be. The sooner we can bring homes online, more choices and more supply will bring down the prices. So, we need more supply, and the supply can only come with the government’s help. We also need to cut the red tape at the municipal level. The industry should continue to work with BILD on these initiatives.

What should prospective new-home buyers know about Flato Developments for 2020?

We are going to continue to build our Canvas on the Rouge condos in Markham, where construction just began, and the goal is to complete the project as soon as we can. We are continuing to build our master-planned communities in Dundalk and Beeton. Every year, we are looking to finish a part of the subdivision of these projects. In Dundalk, we have Edgewood Greens and we are excited to release Carriage House. In Beeton, we have Beeton Village and going to release another one, Green Ridge. We will have Grand Openings for Carriage House and Green Ridge early this year. They are all townhomes and single-detached. We are going to release the first senior apartment building, called Edgewood Suites, in Dundalk.

Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?

We are building communities, not just homes. We spend a lot of time on master-planning the communities. We consider everything that homebuyers will need, from amenities to accessibility to facilities to transit. We consider where the parks and schools will be, and how residents can walk to these places safely. Wherever we can do safer plans for them, save greenspace, plant more trees and work with the conservation authorities… we do it. We take all of these things into consideration at Flato.

Our customers have chosen to trust us when it comes to making the biggest investment of their lives, and we strive to return that trust – from the moment we meet them, to the time we hand over the keys, and beyond.

Special Report: Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing, Fieldgate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Mike Parker, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Georgian International Build Corp.

Outlook 2020 – Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

Outlook 2020 – Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager, Regal Crest Homes

 

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Outlook 2020 – Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

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Outlook 2020 – Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives

How do you see the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?

We see continuing strength in the marketplace, with demand re-establishing itself from the downturn that occurred following the peak in spring 2017. Pricing has firmed up in recent months, and we are seeing good traffic at our communities. Overall, the GTA market is characterized by strong fundamentals – solid immigration trends and wage growth as well as low unemployment and a favourable interest rate environment. The outlook is all positive.

Brad Carr
Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

And for Mattamy Homes?

We’re continuing to leverage the diverse offering of a number of exceptional communities we have across the GTA, from Halton to Durham, as well as the strength of the well-established Mattamy brand in “stronghold” sub-markets such as Milton, Oakville and Brampton. We’re certainly heading into 2020 with an optimistic outlook for both our business and the industry as a whole.

What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

At Mattamy, we are always looking for new and creative ways to deliver attractive built forms at a lower cost. We continue to offer a broad range of housing types that appeal to customers whatever their stage in life or circumstances. This includes the introduction of midrise buildings and stacked townhomes – examples of a continuous cycle of product evolution and innovation to create new forms of housing at lower price points that both meets customer demand for affordability while still offering lifestyle opportunities.

What more could the industry do to address these issues?

With no significant policy changes on the horizon that would increase overall levels of supply, we continue to encourage all levels of government to find ways to create thoughtful solutions that increase supply as a way of tackling affordability while at the same time respecting the concerns of existing residents. We would welcome the opportunity to work more collaboratively with government, the broader building industry and other businesses in the housing ecosystem to find a way to bring more homes to market that are affordable and meet the needs of society.

What should prospective new-home buyers know about your company for 2020?

Mattamy is going to deliver our 100,000th home in 2020, which is a story of growth that’s pretty unprecedented. Growing from a single house closing in 1978 to becoming North America’s largest privately-owned homebuilder, delivering more than 8,000 homes this year is a journey we are extremely proud of. Even with that scale, for us it’s still all about one customer, one home at a time.

Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?

We have a number of exciting new master-planned communities launching in multiple markets across the GTA (such as Caledon, Toronto and Seaton). We’re also thinking a lot these days about ever-evolving customer expectations around technology. We are aware and paying close attention to all of the experiences our customers bring from other brand relationships and how these influence their expectations for ease and simplicity in the homebuying process. Things are changing very quickly, and we’re working very hard to stay on the leading edge of both technology and customer expectations.

Special Report: Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year

Outlook 2020 – Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing, Fieldgate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Development Inc.

Outlook 2020 – Mike Parker, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Georgian International Build Corp.

Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

Outlook 2020 – Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager, Regal Crest Homes

 

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Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

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Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives

How do you see the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?

We’re going to see strong demand fueled by record population growth. The period from August 2018 to July 2019 was the largest 12-month population increase in Canada’s history. And the industry is not building enough housing, especially rental housing. At the end of November 2019, ReMax predicted a six-per-cent increase in the average cost of a Toronto resale home in 2020 – fueled by demand that just isn’t being met.

Deena Pantalone
Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

Ben Myers of Bullpen Research says Toronto needs 22,000 new rental apartments a year to create a healthy vacancy rate of three per cent. If you include all the new purpose-built rental units coming on, say 4,000, plus if you assume that three-quarters of all new condos will be rented, then we’re still falling 9,000 units short. That’s not good for renters, homeowners or the health of our economy.

One thing I definitely see is that people are open to new ideas, new technology and design that will make their lives easier and give them time for the important things in their lives. And that means property technology (Proptech) will become more and more central to their lives, and to the building industry in general.

And what’s the outlook for National Homes?

For decades now, National has focused on putting the needs of our customers first, and that’s what our You are the Blueprint philosophy is all about.

This year, we’re introducing a wide range of “Bright Ideas” that were developed at National’s inaugural Blueprint Workshop. Globally recognized leaders in the fields of technology, product development and design, participated in group interactions and the co-creation process. Also taking part were dozens of past and prospective National buyers of varied ages and demographics; National staff architects, designers and engineers; and students from York University’s Schulich School of Business real estate master’s program. The results are now being unveiled in our newest communities.

What is National Homes doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

Our Bright Ideas are intended to make people’s lives simpler, from innovative Proptech to design solutions. We are introducing four different townhome projects, from Courtice in the east to Burlington in the west. We are also introducing new construction thinking, such as our Panergy Wall Systems that bring factory efficiency and quality with significant energy cost savings, year after year.

We’re also making it easier for young families to own with plans for flexible down payment programs.

What more could the industry do to address these issues?

It’s all about innovation! The building industry hasn’t changed much in 100 years. New thinking, new products, new technology… the only way we’re going to adapt to the needs of a new millennium are by doing things differently and better.

Our industry needs new ways of building that save time, and therefore money, new products that save real dollars in energy costs, new construction methods that reduce waste and improve quality.

What should prospective new-home buyers know about National Homes for 2020?

In Bradford, we have 40 detached ravine lot homes from the mid $800’s at The Forest. In east Brampton’s Three Rivers Claireville, we have Phase 2 of our townhomes, right next to the 850- acre Claireville Conservation Area. In Burlington, we’re launching townhomes at Tyandaga Heights on Brant Street, by the Tyandaga Golf Course. And in Courtice, we’re introducing The Vale by National, backing onto woods and a stream.

Why should homebuyers consider buying from your company in 2020?

We design with the needs of our customers in mind. That’s more than a motto, it’s central to the way we work. Our Blueprint Workshops are the spark that drives our design. We learn what people want; what they wish builders could offer; then we create the communities, the homes and the features that satisfy those dreams. And we’re building communities from east to west, so if you’re looking for a National home, we’re where you want to live.

Special Report: Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing, Fieldgate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Development Inc.

Outlook 2020 – Mike Parker, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Georgian International Build Corp.

Outlook 2020 – Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

Outlook 2020 – Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager, Regal Crest Homes

 

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Outlook 2020 – Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager, Regal Crest Homes

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Outlook 2020 – Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager, Regal Crest 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?

There are buyers out there, as witnessed during several openings this year. If the developer does not adjust his land price to more current numbers, then sales will not be evident. This year looks promising, and several new projects are slated for release.

Art Rubino
Art Rubino, Contracts Manager & Marketing Manager Regal Crest Homes

And for your company?

Regal Crest is preparing two large project releases, as well as two new phase releases. We are bullish on new home sales, and our development arm is staying abreast with consumer demands, so we can deliver what our customers want.

What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

We are currently redesigning down – eight-ft. basements instead of nine-ft. basements… Nine-ft. main floors instead of 10-ft… Architectural design made more simple for construction.

What more could the industry do to address these issues?

The stress test is killing us, and yet the government continues to pound away. Increased development charges pressure the builder and developer to raise prices due to increased costs. We need to lobby the government to remove the stress test and to open doors for immigration – with skilled labour.

What should prospective new-home buyers know about your company for 2020?

Our website is up to date with current availabilities, but they should know that Regal Crest Homes has been building homes since 1965 and will continue to build for another 54 years.

Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?

Our consistent delivery of quality-built product continues to be our success.

We build homes better today than yesterday, and when spending your life savings, you really want a quality-built product that will last the test of time. The days of buying and selling quickly are gone, and you want a really well-built home. That’s what we do best!

Special Report: Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – Jim Andrews, Director of Sales & Marketing, Fieldgate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Development Inc.

Outlook 2020 – Mike Parker, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Georgian International Build Corp.

Outlook 2020 – Brad Carr, CEO, Mattamy Homes Canada

Outlook 2020 – Deena Pantalone, Managing Partner and Director of Marketing & Innovation, National Homes

 

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Outlook 2020 – Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing, Solmar Development Corp.

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Outlook 2020 – Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing, Solmar Development Corp.

Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives

Condo Life: What is the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?

Marotta: We’re very optimistic, as national averages increase together with market demand and population growth, especially as employment opportunities increase. We see growth in the outer cores of Toronto, namely Mississauga, Vaughan and Scarborough, as price surges in Toronto make it unaffordable for some to own. We see an increase in lower density housing, as condo prices continue to increase, making a townhouse, semi or detached in some municipalities more affordable and desirable to own.

Angela Marotta
Angela Marotta, Director of Sales & Marketing Solmar Development Corp

CL: And for Solmar?

Marotta: We have almost 1,000 units across two highrise projects hitting the market this spring – Oro at Edge Towers in Mississauga, and our final tower at Park Avenue in Vaughan. The first two towers at each of these projects are sold out, so these new towers at each project are the final ones. We’re planning new mixed lowrise density developments for 2021 and into 2024 in various areas across the GTA, including Niagara on the Lake, Caledon and Erin – all of them master- planned communities.

CL: What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?

Marotta: We are building in various parts of the GTA and surrounding areas, which allows us to plan and build various types of housing at various price points. Master-planned communities are in preliminary stages in Caledon and Erin, which sees us building mixed lowrise, together with employment lands which will continue to attract new homebuyers. Some of our other lands within the GTA will be designated highrise density, as we foresee this continuing to be a growing market.

It will be interesting to see how the First-Time Buyer Incentive program impacts the market, as most properties in the GTA cost more than $525,000 and with a minimum required income of $120,000, I’m not sure if these homebuyers can afford to carry the property, even with the assisted down payment of 10 per cent. It would require a lot of lifestyle changes that perhaps most people are not willing to make. Increasing the RRSP withdrawal cap to $35,000 is a great incentive for first-time homebuyers, as down payment is an issue even if qualifying for a mortgage isn’t.

Solmar will continue to promote homeownership, as it remains a stable investment opportunity for all and gives great sense of pride.

CL: What more could the industry do to address these issues?

Marotta: It’s difficult because there are a lot of regulatory costs, increased development levies and other costs that are not unique to us as a developer and builder. The end consumer will ultimately be affected by growing end costs, and this results in increased prices across all housing types, regardless if they’re high- or lowrise.

At Solmar, we try to be as efficient as possible during the planning stages of development, but we are all at the mercy of regulatory and political authorities. As an industry, we also need to look at providing more product that is more “affordable” to encourage homeownership across all sectors. This would push development out of the city core, so municipalities need to focus on infrastructure and transit to allow for this expansion, which in turn could allow for growth of more affordable product.

CL: What should prospective new-home buyers know about your company for 2020?

Marotta: Oro, the third and final tower at Edge Towers in Mississauga, is set to open in early spring, with pre-registration now open. It will rise to 50 storeys and have 630 residential units. Indoor and outdoor amenity space stretches over two floors with views over the city. A mix of one bedroom, one plus den, two- and three-bedroom suites are available, including three luxury penthouses across the top floor. It is the only new project that borders the future LRT transit line.

The third and final tower at Park Avenue in Vaughan is slated to open this spring, with more than 24 floors and about 250 suites, located in a prime area of Vaughan surrounded by a park setting. It is a luxury condo project with a similar mix of suites as Oro at Edge.

Bellaria Phase 2 in Vaughan will be an exciting project, following in the footsteps of Bellaria Phase 1, which was the first highrise condominium project in Vaughan, with four towers. We are in design stage and plan for launch in 2021.

CL: Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?

Marotta: Solmar homeowners have seen healthy increases in overall value, which has them purchasing from us again and again. This is based on the location of our communities, proximity to transit, design and quality of their home, our continued in excellence with Tarion Warranty Corp. and referrals from past Solmar homeowners. Our reputation with the industry and consumers alike is very important, and we have worked very hard over the past 30 years to attain it and cherish it!

Special Report: Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year

Outlook 2020 – Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes High Rise

Outlook 2020 – Anson Kwok, Vice-President Sales & Marketing, Pinnacle International

Outlook 2020 – Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel

Outlook 2020 – Nick Carnicelli, President, Carriage Gate Homes

Outlook 2020 – Fan Yang, Deputy General Manager, Aoyuan

Outlook 2020 – Jordan DeBrincat, Director of Operations, Altree Developments

 

 

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