Moving couch

by Stephen Dupuis, President & CEO BILD



December 25 - New home sales skyrocket once again

I've been in this industry for over 20 years  which may not make me an expert but at least I've seen  "the cycle" more than once. And given everything I've seen, it was painful but not difficult to predict at the beginning of this year that sales would be half of what they were in 2008. Of course, even the experts didn't foresee that sales this year would be more than double the predicted levels - yes, you read that right.

December 18 - Homebuilders feeling confident

As the year winds down, it's always good to know what's on everyone's mind when it comes to the housing market in 2010. This is why I eagerly awaited the results from a recent survey conducted by our partner, the Ontario Home Builders' Association.

December 11 - Home is where the heart is

I didn't know my good friend and colleague Carl DiNardo, who is president of the London Home Builders' Association, had a warm and fuzzy side until I read his recent column on the intangible advantages of new homes.

December 4 - It’s Vegas, baby – GTA style!

Every year, the U.S. equivalent of our Canadian Home Builders' Association Sales and Marketing Awards, known as The Nationals, recognizes innovation and creativity in new home sales and marketing. It's usually an all-American affair, but for the last few years, GTA companies have been building a steadily increasing profile.

November 27 - New home sales exceeding expectations

By the time you read this column, reporters, bloggers and Twitter enthusiasts will have undoubtedly informed you of the positive new home sales for the month of October, released by BILD on November 20.

November 20 - Freaky Friday the 13th

The development and building industry is well-known for charity fundraising events of which I've been to my fair share. While they are always enjoyable, I would admit to becoming a bit tired of the formula, but that all changed last Friday.

November 13 - What we learned in first period

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) held a highly informative Housing Market Outlook session last week, with more than 400 homebuilders, realtors and associated industry professionals eagerly anticipating the prognostications from our federal housing agency.

November 6 - High hopes for 2010

Recent reports from BILD's very own inside advisors are making me smile today, so I thought it's only fair to spread the joy to my readers.

October 30 - Temperatures fall while home sales rise!

My newest theory is that real estate fares better when it's cool, because as the warm, albeit wet, summer weather has given way to the crisp autumn temps, the numbers in the new homes industry are climbing to the top of the snow bank! Ouch, did someone mention snow?

October 23 - Show me the energy efficiency!

As you may all know, the new homes market is once again on the rise. As you may not yet know, the recession hasn't hurt homeowners' dedication to energy efficiency, as shown in EnerQuality Corporation's Energy Efficiency/Green Building Survey, released earlier this week.

October 16 - Habitat dedication a “moving” event

"My home is a castle; I will feel like a king when I am in my home."

The words above were written by a father struggling to make ends meet as a parking attendant. He and his son were living in an ill-maintained bachelor apartment until Habitat for Humanity fulfilled his dream of affordable homeownership.

October 9 - Make green renos your “turkey-topic”

Working the booth at last week's Fall Home Show I was amazed at how many homeowners brought up the topic of green renovations. So, with family time on your hands this Thanksgiving week-end, and with the topic of home renovations coming up whenever people get together, I put forth green renos as a worthwhile "turkey-topic."

September 30 - Gutsy awards play by OHBA

Before the final event of the annual Ontario Home Builders' Association Conference held in Niagara Falls last week, BILD was already having a very good week, having captured the coveted Local Association of the Year Award and seen a number of local members recognized in one way or another.

September 23 - A good week for BILD

The annual conference of the Ontario Home Builders' Association has come and gone but the memories of a great deal of local success will linger for quite some time.

September 16 - Hats off to industry leaders

Way back in the day, when I first started with the Toronto Home Builders' Association (now BILD), I had the good fortune of working with an individual by the name of Frank Giannone of FRAM Building Group who served as volunteer president of the Association in 1989.

September 9 - Put your tax dollars back into your home

The clock is running down on the Home Renovation Tax Credit even though it has not even been passed into law as yet. Presumably the powers that be will get it approved - they had better do so because millions of Canadians have embraced the program as an opportunity to spruce up their homes with a little help from the federal government.

September 2 - Building Code trumps green labels

Ontario's mayors and councilors attending the annual conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) heard all about the many great things BILD and the industry itself is doing to promote sustainable development and green building but they also heard a very pointed message that municipalities should not be mandating green building schemes of their own or anyone else's.

August 26 - Growth rings reveal more than tree's age

When we think of growth rings, it's usually in the context of pinpointing the age of a tree but growth rings took on a whole new meaning at a media event held in Oshawa the week before last. Spearheaded by the inimitable Craig Marshall of Marshall Homes the event showcased the all-Ontario wood home, an idea Marshall conceived to promote both economic and sustainable development.

August 19 - Summer sales point to hot fall market

If anybody had told me in January that new home sales would be anywhere close to last year's pace at any point during this year, I probably would have scoffed. Considering how desperate the overall economic picture looked at the beginning of this year, the fact that new home sales through the first seven months of 2009 are even in the 2008 ballpark is amazing, but it's the truth.

August 12 - Well-deserved recognition for Brookfield Homes

I rarely write about individual builders but I am happy to make this exception regarding Brookfield Homes.

August 5 - New home sales surge in June

It has been a very long time since monthly new home sales exceeded the previous year but that's exactly what happened in June, which turned out to be the best month for new home sales of any month since June, 2007, according to RealNet Canada Inc.

July 29 - The relativity of affordability

If your were asked to list off the top of your mind the world's most expensive housing markets, chances are you would come up with London, England, New York or Los Angeles if not Paris, France or Dubai.

July 22 - Less sales, less starts, less jobs

I went out to Halton last week to put in my two cents worth on the Region's proposal to impose an additional $7,888 surcharge on top of its current development charge of $29,075.

July 15 - The GTA is our home too

Seventeen years ago, a few enthusiastic members of BILD's Condominium Committee decided to hold a little summer social barbecue gathering in the common area of a condo building in the Leaside area. There might have been 25 people in attendance, we had a cooler of beer, one of us flipped burgers and dogs on the bbq and it was, all in all, a relatively quiet event.

July 8 - Building green from the outside in

According to a new Leger Marketing poll, Ontario home buyers are ready to open their wallets for homes that are energy efficient, will retain their value and are built with environmentally friendly materials. These three features were identified as the top three features that Ontario homebuyers are willing to pay for when purchasing a new or resale home.

July 1 - There's no place like home

When it comes to homeownership, it's easy to get caught up in the hype about appreciation and overlook the equally important but more intangible benefits of owning your own home, which is why I found the recently released First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor national survey results from Genworth Financial Canada to be quite encouraging.

June 24 - New tune on harmonized sales tax

I know I have not had anything good to say about the harmonized sales tax since the concept was first sprung on us earlier this year but frankly there wasn’t much good to say about it, at least not until last week when the Province announced a dramatically different approach to taxing new homes which will result in some very sizeable reductions in the quantum of the tax increase.

June 17 - Triple-dip on reno rebates

Homeowners have a very rare, albeit time-limited opportunity to triple-dip on some federal and provincial government assistance programs designed to stimulate the economy while reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and your heating, cooling and electrical bills.

June 10 - Denver builders put out welcome mat for BILD

Having just returned from a housing study tour of Denver, Colorado, I am left with three top of mind thoughts -- two very positive and one rather negative.

June 3 - Window of opportunity is open

Back in mid-April I tipped-off Sun readers that opportunity was knocking in the new housing market and suggested that the best window of opportunity would be in the next six months or by the Fall of this year. Watching the market of late certainly confirms my forecast.

May 27 - April new home sales encouraging

For several months now, I've been wondering how it is that the resale housing market in Toronto has been performing at or near 2008 levels while the new home sector has been lagging quite far behind in terms of unit sales.

May 20 - Green dream homes showcased at Kortright

Earth Day 2009 (April 22) was a particularly proud day for the Building Industry & Land Development Association as Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman helped  BILD and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority officially open the Archetype Sustainable House at the Kortright Centre.

May 13- Home Truths: HST not good policy

A report released last week by BMO Capital Markets Economics echoes and amplifies everything the Building Industry and Land Development Association has been saying about the HST prior and subsequent to the March 26 Provincial Budget.

May 6 - HST threatens more than 20,000 jobs

A new report released earlier this week by the Building Industry & Land Development Association (BILD) reveals that Greater Toronto Area new homebuyers will absorb an exorbitant share of the whopping $800 million tax increase on new homebuyers across the province under the Provincial government's harmonized sales tax (HST), which could threaten up to 21,200 jobs.

April 29 - BILD Awards attract 800 movers, shakers

Nearly 800 local industry movers and shakers attended the 29th annual BILD Awards held April 24th in Vaughan.

April 22 - Harmonization off key for GTA homebuyers

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the final decisions were made with respect to the recent provincial budget, particularly related to the imposition of the harmonized sales tax on new homes over $400,000.

April 15 - Opportunity knocks

I don't profess to have a crystal ball but I do have lots of perspective and information at hand to offer my opinion that the housing market will end this year stronger than it began with 2010 picking up even further.

April 8 - Separating the pros from the schmoes

If our previous home show was any indication, and we have every reason to believe so, then there's going to be a whole lot of very productive renovation conversations taking place at Destination Renovation at the Metro Home Show, on until 6 p.m. Sunday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building.

April 1 - Get stimulated at the Metro Home Show

Maybe it's the relatively warm weather of late. Whatever it is, interest in the new Home Renovation Tax Credit is absolutely overwhelming, which makes next week-end's Metro Home Show, April 10-12, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, very well timed.

March 25 - Awards celebrate the best of the best

Every year for the past 28, going on 29, the Association has handed out annual awards for the best sales, marketing, design and overall project-based awards.

March 18 - Getting it right on tax harmonization

BILD's release last week of a report on the impacts of GST/PST harmonization on new home buyers generated some fabulous headlines around the Province.  From "Harmonization will whack buyers" (Sudbury Star) to "Harmony has its backers, bashers" (London Free Press) to "Tax grab could hurt housing market" (Windsor Star), the message rang out loud and clear across the Province that housing is different.

March 11 - Harmonization would slam door in buyers' face

Ontario's new homebuyers would face a massive tax grab under the proposed harmonization of the federal GST and Ontario PST, a new report released earlier this week concludes.

March 4 - New deep green label for homes available

The Canada Green Building Council launches its LEED Canada for Homes "deep-green" label earlier this month at BILD's Archetype Sustainable House at the Kortright Centre.

February 25 - Countdown to renovation inspiration

The Building Industry & Land Development Association handed out its annual Renovation Awards last Friday in a luncheon ceremony kicking off the National Home Show.

February 18 - Putting the dream in the dream home

The National Home Show opened February 20th for a ten-day run through March 1 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, and as always, the number one attraction among so many Show features will be the Dream Home.

February 4 - Turning red tape into red carpet

Leith Moore, the new Chair of the Building Industry & Land Development Association, has spent an entire career pursuing development approvals on behalf of the Sorbara Development Group, so when he says there's too much red tape in the system, he is speaking from experience.

February 11 - Tax credit fever hits National Home Show

Ever since the federal government announced the Home Renovation Tax Credit, advance ticket sales for the National Home Show, February 20 - March 1, 2009, at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, have spiked.

January 28 - Greenest year on record, thanks to EnerQuality

The land development and homebuilding industry tends to give out lots of awards but hey, what's wrong with recognizing the good things that individuals and companies do, particularly when it comes to sustainable development and green building?

January 21 - Chorus of voices sing praises of infrastructure

The chorus of voices singing the praises of infrastructure as the top priority for the pending federal budget has grown dramatically with over 60 representatives from a wide cross-section of labour and construction management organizations urging all levels of government to act now and make a substantial investment in infrastructure to help stimulate the economy. 

January 14 - No express lane for development approvals