Couple on balcony

by Stephen Dupuis, President & CEO BILD



September 15 - Markham Mayor “LEEDs” the way

The vast majority of the new high-rise condo sales in the GTA are recorded in the City of Toronto, typically 75-80 per cent on a monthly basis. But who's number two? You might think Mississauga but looking over the last 12 months, it turns out that Markham is number two by volume, with Mississauga, Richmond Hill and Vaughan rounding out the top five. 

September 8 - Fall Home Show all about better living

Home shows are for homeowners, and whether you live in a low- or high-rise home, if you're thinking of renovating, the Fall Home Show (, which runs from September 22-25 at the aptly named Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, would be a great place to start.

September 1 - Good night in store for Toronto condo builders

I'm glad Labour Day is relatively late this year because after that, it's pedal to the metal, not that things actually slowed down this summer. As I look ahead in my calendar, I see two great things happening on September 22, one of which will be of interest to condo owners, the other to condo buyers.

August 25 - Four seasons to GTA new home market

Nothing says Fall more than the CNE so I guess we can start talking about the Fall housing market, assuming we will be able to tell the difference from the hot Summer market, which was itself a continuation of a very strong Spring market.

August 18 - Low interest rates silver lining behind U.S. woes

They say that every dark cloud has a silver lining and although it took me a while to find the silver lining in the storm clouds associated with the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating and the ensuing stock market turmoil, I actually found two layers of good news.

August 11 - Jobs ahead thanks to hot high-rise market

It has been said that analysis of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation housing starts data is akin to looking in the rear-view mirror, and while that sounds a little derogatory, it's not at all. As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC does a great job tracking housing markets across Canada, releasing local, provincial and national housing starts data on a monthly basis.

August 4 - 100,000 soccer fields saved by smart growth

It should come as no surprise to readers of this column that development in the Greater Toronto Area is becoming much more intense, but a recent study has quantified the extent of densification that has been occurring.

July 28 - How’s the housing market “up there?”

I headed off to Northern Michigan last week for my annual golf junket with a great bunch of guys from the Southern U.S. (Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi) that I got hooked up with about ten years ago. The boys are well aware of what I do for a living and so of course they would ask "How's the housing market up there?" With the most recent RealNet statistics hot off the press, I could not help but brag - believe me, on a golf junket, bragging rights are everything.

July 21 - High praise for high-rise design

I had breakfast last week with some colleagues from Edmonton who were here for meetings with prospective clients. In their free time, they took a driving tour of the City and were quick to tell me how impressed they were with the number of construction cranes here, but more-so the quality of our condominium building design.

July 14 - Time flies when you’re building condos

It might seem premature to write about the 2015 Pan Am Games given the fact that the four-year countdown to the day we welcome 10,000 athletes into the City has just begun, but we all know that time flies. Frankly, it's not uncommon for the condominium development cycle to take that long from concept to completion.

July 7 - Condo market spellbinding

Members of the Building Industry & Land Development Association receive monthly internal newsletters written by the foremost housing economists in Canada. The Canadian Home Builders' Association newsletter is written by Dr. Peter Andersen. The BILD newsletter is authored by Dr. Frank Clayton. Both comment on the Greater Toronto condo market this month, both from the rental perspective.

June 30 - Turkey dinner this Canada Day?

Tomorrow is Canada Day but the spirit of Thanksgiving always seems to come to me on our nation's Birthday as I think about how much Canadians have to be grateful for. With my housing hat on, I think the thing we should be most pleased with is our very high rate of homeownership and our healthy housing market, particularly compared with the U.S.

June 23 - Condo market breaking its own records

Low-rise, high-rise and total new home sales in the Greater Toronto area were all up year over year in May, with high-rise condo sales racing ahead with a 50 per cent increase.

June 16 - Keeping up with the times

It can be tough to keep up with the rapid pace of technology sometimes, but the residential construction industry is not going to be left behind. Especially when it comes to giving you information about the latest development projects in your city. By now, you've probably seen a QR code-a Quick Response code. There's probably a few in this very newspaper. They are square barcodes that can be scanned by a smartphone such as a Blackberry or iPhone, and the code tells your phone which website to load. Instantly, you are viewing a website and in the case of our industry, a ton of project information.

June 9 - Vancouver parallels Toronto condo scene

Buyers camped-out for days in front of one sales office. Controlled entry into a sales event at another newly opened project? Just a routine day on the Toronto condo scene, right? Actually, I witnessed both of these things in Vancouver, B.C., on a BILD-led housing study tour of that market last week.

June 2 - Condo stock hits renovation sweet spot

With all the new condo construction going on in this City, the last thing on many people's minds is suite renovation but I frankly expect it to be one of the fastest growing segments of the renovation market over the next few years.

May 26 - New condo market sizzles in April

No amount of rain could slow down the high-rise housing market in the GTA in April as buyers snapped-up 3,249 new condominium suites, resulting in the best April ever for new condo sales.

May 12 - Condo facts and fallacies

I did something last Thursday that I hardly ever do. I devoted an entire day to listening. It helped that there were so many great speakers at the Land & Development Conference held in Toronto. 

May 5 - Tridel has night of a lifetime at BILD Awards

When the BILD Awards were first held in 1980, there was a grand total of zero categories for high-rise building.

April 28 - New home market reaches sustainable equilibrium

According to RealNet Canada Inc., BILD's official source of new home market intelligence, there were 3,434 new homes and condos sold in March, 2011 and a total of 9,374 units sold from January to March. First quarter sales were down a modest 8.5 per cent year/year, but true to form, the condo sector kept pace with 2010 sales levels.

April 21 - Mountain views come with a hefty price tag

I was out in Vancouver last week checking out the high-rise condo development scene in advance of a pending housing study tour by Toronto condo developers, designers and marketers. The selection of Vancouver as the tour destination was no accident considering that it is the second most active high-rise market in North America and the fourth most active housing market overall (the GTA is tops on both counts).

April 14 - Three startling statistics from the guru

I went to a BILD-hosted seminar to learn about low-rise land supply (actually the lack thereof) but I came away with three absolutely startling statistics gleaned from the GTA residential development market perspective presented by George Carras, President of RealNet Canada Inc. and the numbers guru for the entire industry.

April 7 - The door is open to homeownership

If you're a would-be first-time homebuyer, two different organizations are putting you in the spotlight this month, with the Canadian Home Builders' Association celebrating April as New Homes Month and Genworth Financial promoting Homeownership Education Week, April 11-15, 2011. Both organizations have great resource information on their web-sites, while Genworth, the largest private provider of mortgage insurance in Canada, has taken its outreach to the social media level.

March 31 - High-fives for high-rise awards finalists

The Golden Globes, Academy Awards, Grammy's and Junos are behind us now, but it's far from the end of awards season, in fact it's just beginning as far as the building and development industry awards are concerned. On Friday April 29, BILD will hand out 46 different awards for everything from sales and marketing to building and suite design, plus several project-based and special awards including Green Builder and Home Builder of the Year.

March 24 - Condo sales skyrocket in February

Recently, I was asked by a reporter what I thought of the fact that new home sales in the GTA were down 13 per cent in January. My response was that January is when builders are offering inventory as opposed to new launches, therefore I would be no more or less excited if sales were up or down by 13 per cent. I added that sales in February and March would be much more revealing of any trend, and that I expected some positive results based on the industry buzz about new project launches.

March 17 - Homeownership message worth re-tweeting

As Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak arrived at the Allstream Centre to speak at BILDs annual industry luncheon a few weeks ago, he tweeted something that in my opinion is well worth re-tweeting. I don't know if it counts as a re-tweet in print, but in 140 characters or less Hudak texted "About to speak to @bildgta about the Canadian value of home ownership, reducing red tape, job creation."

March 10 - Nobody does it better

I always say there's a song about everybody and everything, and the song that came to my mind last week as I toured several high-profile marketing and design professionals from Vancouver, Calgary and Boston around a great many of our downtown condo sales offices was the Carly Simon song Nobody Does it Better.

March 3 - Leading economist likes GTA market

It was so cold in Banff, Alberta during the annual conference of the Canadian Home Builders' Association held there last week that the ski resorts shut down twice, so it's a good thing I wasn't there for a holiday. I was there for all the Council and Committee meetings, particularly the Economic Research Committee, featuring presentations from leading private and public sector economists and institutions as well as the major banks.

February 24 - Living in a Glass House

Last Friday, before the ribbon was cut on opening day of The National Home Show, I got a sneak peek at the futuristic Glass House, built by Concept PolygHome and interior-designed by Debbie Travis. The home was pieced together in a short seven days inside the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place.

February 17 - Sunny days take on a whole new meaning

When Andrei Zaretski, BILD's Manager of Marketing and Media Relations, proposed Rooftop Surfing as the theme of this weekly column, I liked it instantly. Today, I like it even more because today is all about the roof at BILD's headquarters in Don Mills.

February 10 - Condo construction spikes in January

The numbers for January are in and if they are a sign of what's to come, this year is going to be an active one for condominium construction.

February 3 - No free lunch, no free ride

Somehow, an old story became new again last week as the previous City of Toronto Council's decision to force condo builders to give condo buyers a "free" TTC Metropass for their first year of occupancy was back in the news.

January 27 - The year of the condo

RealNet Canada Inc. released the December results and year-end totals for the Greater Toronto Area new homes market late last week and, when all was said and done, there were 36,803 new homes and condos sold in the GTA last year.

January 20 - Toronto a great place in a great nation

Upon winning the Golden Globe award for best actor in a musical or comedy, Paul Giamatti, the star of the movie Barney's version, gave the mother of all shout-outs to the City of Montreal and to Canada overall. "An incredible place in a great nation, Canada," he said. I feel the same way about Toronto, particularly after attending the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Florida, last week, where local builders cleaned-up at the annual home building awards show known as The Nationals.

January 6 - Healthy, not hyper year ahead

Have you ever noticed how many forecasters don't reveal how accurate they were with their previous projections? I think I know why. Looking back on my own forecast for new home sales for 2010, I was off the mark by more than 20 per cent. Thankfully, I was low.