Moving couch


by Michael Moldenhauer

Michael Moldenhauer is the 2008 BILD President, and is also president of Moldenhauer Lifestyles.

December 17 - Development industry vital to Toronto prospects, Mayor says

There's some mixed signals coming out of Toronto City Hall which tempt me to suggest that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing however I'm prepared to give the Mayor the benefit of the doubt and suggest that it's more a case of the left hand getting ahead of the right.

December 10 - Land transfer tax fallout continues

I wouldn't bring this topic up again if someone else had not, but since the C.D. Howe Institute re-opened the Toronto land transfer tax (LTT) sore this week, I thought you'd be interested in knowing what the independent economic and social policy research organization found underneath the scab.

December 3 - Positive news travels slowly

Warning: the following article contains positive information from an independent third party.

November 26 - Are all jobs created equal?

There has been endless talk lately about the efficacy of bailing-out the automotive sector and while I don't intend to state a position on that question, I do have a question of my own?

November 19 - Buyers see glass as three-quarters full

There were more than 2,100 votes of confidence in the new home and condo market in the Greater GTA in October, which, considering the dramatic economic volatility prevalent throughout the month, suggests that savvy homebuyers are taking a long term view of the market, and rightfully so.

November 12 - Who says you have to fight City Hall?

It's not very often that the development and building industry accuses the City of Toronto (or any municipality for that matter) of moving too quickly but that was the message that BILD and a phalanx of condo developers delivered to the City's Executive Committee earlier this week.

November 5 - Facing the infrastructure future together

A few columns back, I congratulated Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty on his decision not to open the Development Charges Act. Acknowledging that development charges get passed on to new homebuyers, the Premier stated that with housing affordability a real concern in the marketplace, it would be a mistake to move in that direction.

October 29 - The 'big chill' comes over Halton

The word "freeze" is almost always a bad thing when it's used in the context of land development and homebuilding. The recent threat by the Region of Halton to freeze development pending resolution of its infrastructure "tiff" with the provincial government immediately comes to mind.

October 22 - Zap, development charges frozen?

I have to give credit where credit is due and it's due to Toronto Mayor David Miller for his enlightened proposal to freeze development charges for 2009 and perhaps longer. It's by no means a done deal, but on behalf of all new homebuyers, BILD is encouraging the majority of City Council to support the Mayor. 

October 15 - You can't build a nest-egg out of rent receipts

I took Tony Wong's advice to cut through the hype and do the math to heart and I have some very good news for all of you who bought back in 1989, as well as before or after that.

October 8 - Make green renos your 'turkey-topic'

By the time I ruled out negative or political topics for this week's column, the only positive, non-partisan message I could think of was related to home renovation, so here's something for you to throw into the mix as you enjoy this long Thanksgiving week-end.

October 1 - Development charges decision good for homebuyers

It has been a very good couple of good weeks for homebuyers. First, there was the federal Conservatives promise of a first-time buyer tax rebate to offset the closing costs associated with buying a new home.

September 24 - Help is close to home

During the previous federal election, Stephen Harper captured the public's attention very early in the campaign with his promise to cut the GST from 7 to 6 per cent (and subsequently to 5 per cent).

September 17 - Return to normalcy for condo market

After the hyperactivity of 2007 when there was a new condo project launched every three days and entire projects selling out in record time, condo industry guru Barry Lyon put the current condo market into perspective for a throng of industry insiders meeting under the auspices of BILD last week.

September 10 - Many green dimensions to Tower Renewal Project

While Mayor David Miller is looking at his Tower Renewal Project primarily through a sustainability lens, which is laudable, we like it even more for the way in which it compliments the intensification objectives set out in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan.

September 3 - When it comes to affordability, it's all relative

There's almost always a story behind the story, and this is the story behind Tony Wong's  "High expectations for condo craze" feature article that ran on the front page of the Saturday Star business section a couple of weeks ago.

Aug 27 - Price of standing ovation tops $1 billion

Would-be new homebuyers could be forgiven for not connecting the dots between the pending federal election, the most recent infrastructure announcement by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, and the price of new homes.

Aug 20 - All homebuyers not created equal

While you're trying to figure out how you can afford the homes offered in this section, the Canadian Home Builders' Association has been thinking about the same thing and has hit on a great solution.

Aug 13 - Looking ahead through the rear-view mirror

I knew as soon as I saw the news release from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation earlier this week announcing that housing starts fell in July that the headlines would be way out of sync with the reality, and that's exactly what happened.

Aug 6 - No green stone left unturned at sustainable house

I've been keeping readers up-to-date on our blitz- build, in partnership with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, of the Archetype Sustainable House at the Kortright Centre in Vaughan but looking back over those articles I realize I've been pretty general in talking about the actual green features of the homes.

July 30 - Housing sector is the golden goose of the economy

Through my industry association I get a wealth of information, particularly with respect to the state of the housing market, from various sources. Since this column is called Industry Insider, I'm going to let you in on some of that private information

July 23 - Green homes reduce greenhouse gases
My assertion in a recent column that the homebuilding industry is the only sector to have exceeded the Kyoto greenhouse gas reduction targets prompted a dubious response from one reader, so I wish to both clarify and amplify my remark.


July 16 - Two thumbs-up on federal mortgage moves

There's no point in closing the barn door after the horse has bolted so I congratulate our Federal Department of Finance for its pre-emptive strike to ensure that Canada's housing finance system and housing markets remain in rock-solid shape.

July 9 - Builders urged to make some green noise

Peter Love, Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer, has deep roots in the green building movement so his participation in the kick-off of the blitz-build of the Archetype Sustainable House at the Kortright Centre this week was entirely apropos, as were his remarks.

July 2 - Red carpet rolled out for transit

When it comes to the development approvals process, land developers and home builders are far more accustomed to red tape than they are to red carpet.

June 25 - Make no little 'transportation' plans, MacIsaac

Rob MacIsaac, head of Metrolinx, formerly the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, is thinking BIG, which is a good thing from a transportation planning standpoint. Of course, big plans also mean big price tags. 

June 18 - Housing stimulus never a good sign

Thank goodness for the way our housing system operates here in Canada as compared to the United States. Things have gotten so bad down there that the U.S. builders are begging the government for another bailout.

June 11 - Making a green fashion statement

At the risk of sounding like I have "label envy" it's interesting to note that our Association launched one of the first green labeling programs more than fifteen years ago. Called Build Green, the program promoted the use of recycled-content building materials

June 4 - Ostrich politics surround growth debate

We frequently hear local politicians and ratepayers declare that growth is not paying for itself. What they really mean is that they don't want any more development, but that's not as politically correct to say.

May 28 - Green blitz-build locked and loaded

As Energy Conservation Week winds down I have to let the cat out of the bag and reveal to you that by the federal government's own admission, the residential sector has already met the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

May 21 - Packed house for Tarion delayed closing seminar

How do you get nearly 400 homebuilders, real estate lawyers, brokers, agents and lenders into a seminar room first thing Tuesday morning right after a long week-end

May 16 - Development charges over the top, and then some

Last week, I wrote of how development charges, the fees paid by homebuilders (and ultimately homebuyers) every time they take out a building permit in the GTA have risen over the top, and I said there's more to come.

May 9 - Development charges rising over the top

If you think about the cost to fill-up your gas tank seven years ago versus today, you are probably painfully conscious of the difference. According to Statistics Canada, that tank of gas is costing you a whopping 57 per cent more today than it did back in 2001.

April 30 - Housing jobs in jeopardy

In some kind of eerie foreshadowing, my column last Saturday opened with the comment that if the General Motors plant in Oshawa or the DaimlerChrysler plant in Brampton were to shut down or even slow down, it would be the lead story on every newscast.

April 23 - If houses had wheels

If the General Motors plant in Oshawa or the DaimlerChrysler plant in Brampton were to shut down or even slow down, it would be the lead story on every newscast. Politicians at every level would be lining up to express their dismay and it wouldn’t be long before some big money was thrown at the problem.

Mar 16 - EnerQuality raises green building bar

It wasn’t all that long ago that ENERGY STAR for New Homes was the new kid in town. Launched in 2005 as a pilot program in Ontario by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and EnerQuality Corporation, even the most optimistic participants didn’t expect the overwhelming acceptance demonstrated by both homebuilders and homebuyers: more than 10,000 enrollments and 4,500+ houses labeled in less than three years.

April 9 - Turning dirt into gold

This week, nearly 400 developers, homebuilders and BILD members at large jammed our Industry Luncheon at the National Home Show and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the promise of a free show pass that swelled the crowd. They came to hear what one of the most informed persons in the industry had to say about land and housing trends in the GTA.

April 2 - We’re a renovation nation

A recent survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows that the renovation market continues to boom with Canadians forecast to spend more than $53 billion this year, up from $45 billion in 2006.

Mar 26 - The power of an hour

On this auspicious occasion of Earth Hour I have three green teasers of the “coming soon” variety but first I want to congratulate and thank the Toronto Star for championing this very positive global event here in the Greater GTA. What this newspaper has done to raise local awareness of Earth Hour has been truly remarkable and most praiseworthy.

Mar 19 - Is clothesline answer blowing in the wind?

If nothing else, the debate about outdoor clotheslines has generated lots of catchy editorial headlines such as “hung out to dry,” “let it all hang out” and “what’s the hang-up about clotheslines?”

Mar 4 - Buyers sold on energy-efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, homebuyers want their builders to start talking it up more, even though they’ve already bought the message. That’s the key finding of a recent J.D. Power & Associates Survey conducted for EnerQuality Corporation.

Feb 26 - Talk of Greenbelt expansion premature

For the record, the Building Industry & Land Development Association supports the provincial Greenbelt. If anyone suggests differently, they are either not properly informed or making an assumption.

Feb 19 - Condominium renovations newest market trend

Last year was dubbed “the year of the condo” and I said a few weeks ago that 2008 could be “the year of the reno,” but it may very well be the year of the “condoreno” – a new word I just invented to describe a rapidly growing trend.

Feb 12 - No Time to Rest on Green Laurels

The residential sector has been leading all other parts of our economy in the areas of energy efficiency and reducing climate change emissions, the president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association revealed in a recent editorial.

Feb 5 - The ABCs of Sustainable Design

“If little wee Barrie can do it, then great big Toronto should be able to do it ten times bigger and better.”

Jan 30: 2007 By the Numbers

The new housing market definitely felt pretty vibrant last year but somehow the recent revelation that it was the second-best year ever caught me by surprise.

Jan 24 - What’s the hang-up about clotheslines?

In case you missed it there was a big housing-related announcement made by our provincial government this week. What’s the big scoop?

Jan 16 - Shrill Sound of Smoke Alarm Music to my Ears

Of all the enlightened changes to the Ontario Building Code that have been made over the years, the least celebrated but most impact may very well be the 1985 requirement for every new home to have hard-wired smoke detectors that are always on, always ready to give that all-important early warning for occupants to get out of the house.

Jan 9 - 2008: The year of the reno?

Last year there were more new condos sold than ever before, in fact there were more high-rise than low-rise units sold for the first-time ever. If 2007 was “the year of the condo,” will 2008 be the “year of the reno?” There’s reason to believe so.2008: The year of the reno?

Jan 2 - A Time for Engagement

As the 2008 president of the Building Industry and Land Development Association my objective is to engage all stakeholders in a wider debate about future growth in the Greater GTA.