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by Michael Moldenhauer

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

December 17 - Big ideas from Mayor of the big city

There's some big ideas flowing out of Mayor David Miller's office of late and if we could just get the words and actions to add up a little better, we might be on the verge of something really good in terms of a three way win involving City Hall, the development and building industry and new homebuyers.

December 10 - Land transfer tax bites hard

There's usually very little solace in being able to say "I told you so," but a hot off the press report from the C.D. Howe Institute on the impact of Toronto's new land transfer tax has a lot of people saying just that.

December 3 - BILD members hit jackpot in Las Vegas

Building Industry & Land Development Association members have captured 18 Silver Awards as part of the National Sales & Marketing Awards offered by the National Association of Home Builders' in the U.S.

November 26 - House price appreciation to remain intact

The first sentence of the Real Estate Trends reported released by Scotiabank Group last week was a little tough to swallow but the rest of the report was remarkably positive and worth reviewing.

November 19 - Promises, commitments and opportunities

While all parties made their share of promises during the recent federal election campaign, the one's that count will be those made by the Conservative government lead by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. If the feds can find consensus and co-operation from the other parties, Ontario's housing market could benefit from some of Conservative promises, particularly those pertaining to housing and infrastructure.

November 12 - City grants temporary DC reprieve

At Toronto City Hall this week the City's Executive Committee presided over a public meeting held to garner feedback on the proposal to more than double development charges (DC's) from the current range of $4,467 - $11,082 per unit up to $10,920 - $25,095, phased in over five years.

November 5 - Facing the Future Together

When the Province calls a news conference for Halloween, you never know whether you're going to be on the receiving end of a trick or a treat. As it happens, our municipalities were on the receiving end of a $1.5 billion treat as the report of the Provincial Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review (PMFSDR) was released.

October 29 - A tale of two freezes

There's never a dull moment in the land development and homebuilding business and the last few weeks have been no exception.

October 22 - Good news comes in threes

When something good happens on the taxation or regulatory front affecting land development and homebuilding, I sometimes find myself at a loss for words. Our industry has become so accustomed to higher fees and levels of red tape that our vocabulary is geared to reactionary, not complimentary language.

October 15 - How to eco your reno

The decision to renovate is an incremental one involving hashing and re-hashing ideas. While you're imagining your new and improved lifestyle in that dream kitchen, en-suite, media room or addition, I encourage you to think about greening your renovation as well.

October 8 - Act now for Ontario

Whoever forms the federal government after all the votes our counted next week, I certainly hope they are prepared to deal with Ontario's "fairness" issue once and for all.

October 1 - McGuinty makes right call on development charges

Premier Dalton McGuinty paid a huge compliment to the land development and homebuilding industry last week and then backed up his words with a very positive announcement on development charges which should go over as well with new homebuyers as it did with the more than 400 members of the Building Industry & Land Development Association who heard it first.

September 24 - First-time buyers focus of tax break

We were very gratified to hear the Conservatives promise a first-time homebuyer tax credit on closing costs, not just because ownership housing rarely hits the radar screen in a positive way during an election but because of the connection in the announcement to the economic as well as the social impact.

September 17 - Moonlighters, fly-by-nighters and low-ballers

Deciding who to hire for your home renovation is a critical part of the planning process. You want to work with a professional contractor who is in business for the long term, who has experience with your particular project and whom you feel you can work with comfortably.

September 10 - Fall Home Show highlights renovation

Most homeowners think about renovating long before they ever pick up the phone to call a contractor and that makes sense, however it's also advisable not to lock-down your ideas too soon because  experienced renovators can contribute a great deal to ensure that the final result lives up to your expectations.

September 3 - Nobody builds high-rise like Toronto

The more I step outside of the vacuum of the Greater Toronto Area high-rise condo market, the more confirmation I get that nobody does high-rise like the condo developers in the GTA

Aug 27 - More mortgage protection pending

Readers of this section will know I wasn't a big fan of the so-called "innovation" in the financial sector which saw us beginning to head down the road traveled by our American friends to the South. 

Aug 20 - OHBA Awards finalists revealed

The good news for a lot of Greater GTA homebuilders and professional renovators is that they garnered the lion's share of Awards of Distinction nominations from the Ontario Home Builders' Association.

Aug 13 - Ty Pennington returns to his Home Show roots

Ever wonder how all those home and garden tv personalities got their start? Turns out one of the biggest names in the business, Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, got his on the home show circuit, and as of a few weeks ago, he's returned to his roots.

Aug 6 - The Third Little Pig had it Right

The third little pig had it right when he chose brick to build his home. Brick has been on construction sites for thousands of years, and for good reason.

July 30 - Builders give back to their communities

Happy Civic Holiday weekend! Since this weekend is all about our communities, its appropriate to talk about giving back, and when it comes to supporting local causes, home builders associations and their individual members are always there.

July 23 - Daily dispatches detail blitz-build progress

At the end of each day of the blitz-build of the TRCA/BILD Archetype Sustainable House at the Kortright Centre in Woodbridge I get an e-mail from the architects with photographs highlighting the daily progress

July 16 - Building greener, because the GTA is our home too

Last week I wrote of how the Building Industry & Land Development Association tagline, which is Building a Greater GTA, could be Building a "Greener" GTA, apropos of our involvement in the blitz-build of the Archetype Sustainable House with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.

July 9 - Building a greater (and greener) GTA

The tag-line for the Building Industry & Land Development Association normally reads Building a Greater GTA but for one exciting day this week, the 'greater' was changed to 'greener' as BILD and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority kicked-off the blitz-build of the Archetype Sustainable House at the Kortright Centre.

July 2 - Homeownership rate at all-time high

Homeownership is at an all-time high. Statistics Canada reports census data that shows 68.4 per cent of Canadians owned their homes in 2006, up from 65.8 per cent in 2001 and 60 per cent in 1971.

June 25 - Sustainable housing forms growing in acceptance

A unique study has found a high degree of flexibility in what residents in the Greater Toronto Area would or could accept as their type of residence. The results suggest a much greater opportunity for suburban municipalities to accommodate new urban growth in a compact and sustainable manner.

June 18 - BILD to McGuinty: Don't touch that DC dial

With the report of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review expected out very shortly, BILD has written a very direct letter to the Premier of Ontario outlining what we hope to see in the report, and more importantly, what we don't want to see.

June 11 - Put your money where your house is

We knew that renovation was hot but were surprised to learn that renovation spending in the ten major Canadian centres surveyed as part of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Renovation and Home Purchase Survey jumped by $2 billion last year.

June 4 - Canadians manage mortgage debt responsibly

Over the past year we've heard a lot about serious problems in the sub-prime mortgage market in the United States.  Unfortunately, some American families have lost their homes as a result of undisciplined lending practices.

May 28 - Check ego for sustainable house project

Of all the hurdles that needed to be cleared to move forward with the Archetype Sustainable House blitz-build, the most practical yet crucial was the acquisition of a building permit from the City of Vaughan

May 21 - Double downloading needs reloading

Two weeks ago I highlighted the findings of Over the Top, BILD's report on the impact of development charges on new homebuyers.

May 14 - Enough already on development charges

I wrote last week of how Mike Harris allegedly "gutted" the Development Charges Act, the very legislation that many municipalities have used to double, even triple their charges over the last seven years.

May 7 - Development charges rise over the top

The saying that politics makes for strange bedfellows came true this week as BILD became the advocate for fiscal relief for GTA municipalities.

April 30 - Environmental responsibility top CHBA priority

The new President of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has outlined plans to build on the industry’s achievements in improving the energy and environmental performance of Canadian homes.

April 23 - BILDing the Best creates Big Buzz

Dubbed “BILDing the Best,” the annual Home Builder Awards have grown into the “Academy Awards” for homebuilding in the Greater GTA, right down to the staging, lighting, live music and photo-ops.

April 15 - Toronto’s best renovators named for 2008

The Building Industry and Land Development Association handed out its coveted Renovation Awards last week, naming Superior Quality Renovations as the 2008 Renovator of the Year.

April 9 - How’s that little project coming?

How’s that little project coming? If the answer is that you can’t seem to get it started, let alone finished, then don’t miss this last opportunity to visit the National Home Show, on through Sunday April 13 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

April 2 - Basic strength describes Canadian housing

In his most recent economic update to members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, housing economist Dr. Peter Andersen describes in graphic detail the fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis affecting the U.S. housing market, which of course begs the question of where we stand here in Canada. Much better is the short answer.

March 26 - Home Builder Awards finalists revealed

The judges have come and gone, the more than 800 nominees have been winnowed down to less than 200 finalists, and the excitement is building towards the 28th annual Home Builder Awards, BILD’s celebration of the best of the best homebuilders, community developments, projects, product and promotion.

March 19 - High-rise rising high

Despite the absolutely nasty weather we experienced during the first two months of this year, new home sales have weathered the storm quite nicely, particularly on the high-rise side.

March 12 - Need your Home Show fix?

For all of you who had your heart set on visiting last week-end’s Home Show at the International Centre, we’re sorry that Mother Nature prevented you from getting your home show fix.

March 5 - Here’s to some successful “BILDers”

It’s always nice when your members do well, particularly when it’s on someone else’s stage, and the last few weeks have witnessed some great examples.

Feb 27 - BILD gets “off the bottle”

If you’re going to talk the green talk, then you have to walk it too, and the Building Industry and Land Development Association is doing just that with a number of greening initiatives at its headquarters building in Don Mills.

Feb 19 - Condo market defies skeptics

Two highly respected internal industry reports landed on my desk this week in the form of Altus Clayton’s Housing Report and Housing Forecast. Both provided independent confirmation of things I have been saying for months.

Feb 12 - Mortgage rates abate

If there’s an upside to all of the fallout from the U.S. sub-prime mortgage woes, it’s that interest rates that might have been going up in Canada are now going the other way, fast.

Feb 6 - Building with CREWS

In 2001, BILD founded the Construction Recruitment External Workers Service (CREWS) program which links employers with temporary foreign workers.

Jan 30 - Silver medal for 2007 market

The evening news would have us believe that a collapsing mortgage industry in the U.S. will have repercussions in this country as well. Are Canadians poised on the brink of a recession or are the strong building and renovation markets likely to maintain their vigour over the course of the next year?

Jan 23 - Great green moments start year off right

Although the year is still young there have already been some great “green” moments for the residential home building industry across Ontario including many success stories right here in the Greater GTA.

Jan 16 - Sprinklers save property, smoke alarms save lives

In the tragic wake of two recent fatal house fires I am not surprised to hear the call for all newly built homes to have fire sprinkler systems mandated under the Ontario Building Code. Unfortunately, this solution could cause more harm than good by diverting attention away from the real problem and a better solution.

Jan 9 - Girls night out at the Metro Home Show

A home show is a home show is a home show, right? Not quite. Some home shows are just about the booths, aisle upon aisle. Then there’s the BILD/dmg world media home shows, with two great partners devoted to adding value by investing in show features, celebrities and promotions.