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by Stephen Dupuis, President & CEO BILD



December 17 - GTA builders invade National SAMs

I know it's becoming a bit of a cliché lately, but I don't care because good news is still good news! The Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) has recently released the finalists for the upcoming National Sales and Marketing Awards (SAMs) with GTA builders claiming 16 spots as they compete against the best in the land!

December 10 - No bubble, no trouble

While I've prided myself in walking away from conversations involving the housing bubble, or lack thereof, on the basis of me being fed up with telling people it doesn't exist, a recent question at an Economic Forecast conference by the Ontario Home Builders' Association inspired me to revisit the topic.

December 3 - Who says you can’t afford a new home?

Sceptics are always looking for ways to knock the housing market down a peg or two, but after a recent report released by the Royal Bank of Canada, critics can no longer play the affordability card.

November 26 - October crowned high-rise king

Around this time last year, I wrote about the unfair comparison between 2009 and 2008 monthly new home sales, given the different overall states of the market in those years. This time around, however, we get to compare apples to apples and, not surprisingly, total new home sales in the GTA for the month of October remained relatively unchanged from October 2009.

November 19 - First, we take Orlando

About this same time last year, I wrote of  how proud I was that members of the Building Industry & Land Development Association  earned an amazing 57 spots in the finals of The Nationals - presented by the U.S. National Association of Home Builders' for community and new home design, sales and marketing excellence.

November 12 - The homeowners have spoken

In a survey commissioned by the Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA), 56 per cent of Ontarians admitted they have paid cash and avoided taxes for a renovation or repair job, the OHBA announced on Tuesday.

November 5 - Cruise control to the top

If we were living south of the border, the headline would read "Race to the top," but unlike our American neighbours, we operate on the principle that slow and steady wins the race.

October 29 - RenoMark™ rocking across Canada

While BILD's primary role is to act as the voice of the GTA's land development, homebuilding and professional renovation industry, I often find myself travelling to other parts of the country in order to share our successes as well as learn from the success of others.

October 22 - RealNet webinar reveals market pulse

In an interactive webinar earlier this week, RealNet Canada Inc., BILD's official, independent source of new home market intelligence, provided an in-depth analysis of the housing market's performance in the third quarter of 2010.

October 15 - Mortgage rates homebuyer friendly

Each month, homebuilders receive a two-page Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update authored by Dr. Peter Andersen, consulting economist to the Canadian Home Builders' Association. This internal newsletter tells it like it is, for better or worse. This month, the news was all for the better.

October 8 - Do horses drink green water?

As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

October 1 - GTA builders the best in Ontario

Local builders proved once again why the quality of new homes in the GTA is the best in the province with an impressive outing at the Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA) 2010 Awards of Distinction on September 21.

September 24 - Fall is here, and so is the Fall Home Show

Everybody has their own cue that Fall has arrived.  To some, it's the cooling temperature and the turning of the leaves. To others, it's the eternal hope for success in the upcoming hockey season. To me, it's the thick stack of Fall Home Show tickets that arrived on my desk earlier this week.

September 17 - Changing of the guard at OHBA Conference

This week-end, I'm off to Windsor, Ontario for the annual conference of the Ontario Home Builders' Association. The OHBA Conference always features a great line-up of information and education sessions combined with networking and social events. It's also where we do our "family business" in terms of approving budgets and priorities for the coming year.

September 10 - Who says you can’t go home?

Everybody has a hometown and in my case, it's Midland, Ontario where I lived until I headed off to the University of Waterloo way back when.

September 3 - How green it is

Green building has come a long way since the early 1980s when the Energy Crisis of the 1970s spawned the original energy-efficient building label known as R-2000. That program was specifically focussed on reducing energy consumption, and while energy conservation is still at the core of the many new green labels that homeowners see today (Energy Star, Green House, LEED, etc.), green building has continued to evolve into broader sustainability objectives including  water conservation and waste reduction.

August 27 - GTA builders aplenty among Ontario’s best

Looking back at any of the columns I've written over the years, I catch myself boasting the quality of construction throughout the GTA and, occasionally, declare it the highest in all the land. While I admit that these types of claims may be a bit biased, the Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA) recently gave me some fuel for my fire as they announced the finalists for this year's OHBA Awards of Distinction.

August 20 - Green building great cause for celebration

The best thing about builders having freedom of choice on green building initiatives is that when they commit to sustainable development and green building, they actively celebrate it.

A perfect example of what I am talking about is the June 22 event by Geranium Homes announcing the official ground-breaking celebration of the first ENERGY STAR neighbourhood in Stouffville.

August 13 - Take a walk on the green side

Living in Aurora and working in Toronto for the majority of my career has given me enough time to appreciate the differences between the two communities, particularly during my daily commute as I transition from the relatively pastoral suburbs of 905 into the fast-paced, intensified world of the 416 area code. 

August 6 - BILDing for Humanity

Having worked in the building industry for most of my life, I have been to my share of construction sites and have always marvelled at how a team of skilled workers can turn a pile of materials into beautiful homes in a matter of months, or tall sleek condo buildings rising high in the sky.

June 30 - Get renovation contracts in writing

With the recent implementation of the HST, the price of renovations just went up about 5.4 per cent with zero value added. If you're wondering why the number is not 8 per cent, which was the Provincial sales tax rate, renovators can now deduct input tax credits on their materials, which are estimated to be 2.6 per cent.

July 23 - A tale of two markets

When the new home sales statistics came in from RealNet Canada Inc. earlier this week, I stared long and hard at the numbers trying to figure out what exactly is happening in the market. I finally concluded that it's a tale of two markets with the low- and high-rise sectors behaving quite differently.

July 16 - The race for homeownership

The community partnership between the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and Habitat For Humanity Toronto has reached the seven year mark with no signs of the proverbial "itch" in the relationship. In fact, the BILD membership continues to embrace the partnership through its ongoing support of events like the annual Charity BBQ and the Party for Humanity, both of which benefit Habitat Toronto.

July 9 - The hunt for affordable new homes

Those who have followed my columns over the years are probably aware by now that my favourite slogan is "Buy new, buy now." According to TD Canada Trust's 2010 Home Buyers Report, the message is catching on in a big way!

July 2 - Homebuyers need true harmonization

As I write this column two days prior to Canada Day, I think I can safely predict that the sky will not have fallen as a result of the July 1 implementation of the harmonized sales tax in Ontario.

June 25 - Real estate in Toronto is the real deal

With the world's most influential leaders gathering in Toronto for this weekend's G20 summit, I can't help but wonder how they view our city's economic structure, particularly the housing market's impact on the national economy, assuming of course that they can see anything over the fences and barricades.

June 18 - Boston condo builders welcome GTA counterparts

Having recently returned from a high-rise housing study tour of the Boston market, my top three takeaways are: it's a beautiful City, particularly the public spaces; the industry folks there are tremendously hospitable; and, it's very, very pricey.

June 11 - Renovating condominium spaces

When you hear someone mention renovation, chances are the first images that pop into our mind are of kitchens and baths in single detached homes in older, established neighbourhoods. But with today's high demand for high-rise condominium units, renovating your home has taken on an entirely new meaning.

June 4 - No interest rate overkill in store

A normal Saturday morning for me typically involves a trip to the fitness club for some spinning and/or yoga so you can imagine that listening to an economist would be the farthest thing from my mind on the weekend.

May 28 - What a difference a year makes

I find myself saying "what a difference a year makes" quite a lot these days, usually when I open the monthly e-mail from RealNet containing the new home sales data for the past month. Last week, I got the numbers for April revealing a continuation of the very strong market pace set during the first quarter of the year.

May 21 - The new way to find new homes

It amazes me how quickly new marketing techniques jump out at new home builders these days. Trends are constantly changing, and the latest "in" is social media.

May 14 - The little engine that did

With the housing industry's recent emergence at the forefront of Canada's economic recovery, there's been a difference of opinion in terms of how its success impacts our country's economy as a whole.

May 7 - Buying your first new home

Everybody remembers the exact details of their first home purchase as well as the mixed emotions of excitement and fear that were part of the decision-making process.

April 30 - Green builders face off at 2010 BILD Awards

Tonight, two home builders will be basking in green glory while many others will be green with envy as BILD hands out its fourth annual Green Builder of the Year awards along with 44 other awards for sales and marketing, design and project excellence.

April 23 - March new home sales beat the street

For those following college basketball this year, allow me to be the bearer of bad news and tell you that "March Madness" just got some competition from the GTA housing market. While I expected last month's new home sales numbers to be high, the final stats exceeded my high expectations.

April 16 - Building the best

Spring is always an exciting time for the building industry in any city, but in the case of the GTA, there's more to this time of year than a boost in construction and sales.

April 9 - Condo craze reaches all corners of City

A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of touring some west-coast industry guests around Toronto to look at the City's top development areas. When you take it in all at once, it's truly remarkable to see what has been happening, let alone what is yet to come.

April 2 - What women want

Over the years, I have grown to accept the fact that no man will ever know the answer to the mother of all questions: what do women want? So it came as a bit of a shock to me when a press release containing that exact information arrived in my inbox not too long ago. Jackpot!

March 26 - Don’t fear the HST, just look for the RenoMark

Spring is here, and so is renovation season! While the Home Renovation Tax Credit is already behind us, a new flock of renovation-seeking consumers have taken over the fort. I call this group the "Beat the HST Crowd," named, of course, after the infamous Harmonized Sales Tax scheduled to make its debut on July 1.

March 19 - Sunny with a chance of blue skies

Last week I let readers in on the highlights of the inaugural address of the newly elected president of the Canadian Home Builders' Association, Victor Fiume, of Durham Custom Homes. BILD wishes Fiume well as he takes over the reins from Gary Friend, a Vancouver builder who lead his industry at the national level with great distinction throughout one of the most challenging years ever faced by a CHBA president given the global economic crisis that dominated Friend's tenure.

March 12 - New CHBA President Sounds Alarm on Affordability

The newly elected president of the Canadian Home Builders' Association has called on the federal government to lead efforts that would lay the groundwork for new, more effective approaches to the full range of tax and regulatory issues that challenge housing affordability and choice.

March 5 - New home sales off to a good start, but what does that mean?

It's always nice to see positive sales numbers, especially when you work in an industry that has experienced some hardships just over a year ago, but now that the new homes market is coming back strong, it's hard not to get caught up in the hype.

February 26 - Award-winning renos displayed at National Home Show

With the Harmonized Sales Tax only a few months away, homeowners across the GTA are faced with the difficult task of finding a renovator they can trust to work on their homes before the tax man cometh on July 1.

February 19 - Eurodale Dream Home centre-piece of National Home Show

The National Home Show opens its doors today and for the next ten days, homeowners from all over the Golden Horseshoe will be descending upon the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place for this annual rite of Spring and ultimate celebration of homeownership.

February 13 - A green shout-out for BILD

The Building Industry & Land Development Association was the recipient of a very special award at the EnerQuality Awards of Excellence last week. Any time you win an award for Leader of the Year you know it's big and I was very proud to accept the award on  behalf of so many individuals and companies at BILD that have been a big part of our green leadership.

February 5 - Next stop, National Home Show

Even if the federal government doesn't extend the popular Home Renovation Tax Credit, I still expect to see lots of renovation activity in the next few months as homeowners rush to beat the HST deadline of July 1, 2010.

January 29 - Toronto condo builders hit jackpot in Vegas

I don't know what to brag about more - the fact that I didn't live up to the movie The Hangover in the slightest during my recent trip to Las Vegas for the International Builders' Show or that Toronto builders picked up 25 per cent of The Nationals.

January 22 - We’re all about the mortgage-burning party

Those of you who have been following my recent columns would know that I'm less than impressed with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's musings about slowing down the housing market.

January 15 - Central Bank says no bubble, no trouble

It's always good to have allies, particularly highly credible, third-parties. That's why I was thrilled earlier this week when I read David Wolf of the Bank of Canada saying what I've been saying, which is that there is no need to artificially cool down the housing market.

January 8 - A new housing decade begins

It's right around that time of year when you still type 2009 in the dateline yet 2010 is upon us and with it, the dawn of a new decade.

January 1 - Looking ahead by looking back

Happy New Year to all readers and I hope you all had safe and happy holidays. This is the time of year that we all start predicting what lies ahead. Sometimes I find that that the best way to start looking forward is by looking back at where we've been.