Girl in condo with laptop

by Stephen Dupuis, President & CEO BILD



September 16 - Breaking bread with GTA leaders

There's nothing like breaking bread with someone to get them to open up and speak candidly about what's been going on in their world. With that in mind, we invited the regional government leaders from across the GTA, and more than 300 BILD members and guests, to have a little nosh at the Hilton Suites Conference Centre in Markham earlier this week.

September 9 - 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 2 - Put a little green in your reno plans

The popular federal ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program has been renewed and homeowners that have done or are thinking about doing some energy-saving home renovations can again apply to the federal government for up to $5,000 to offset retrofit costs. 

August 26 - BILDing Ontario’s best

The Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA) revealed the finalists for its 2011 Awards of Distinction earlier this week and while it's always pleasant to see that more than half the nominations have been garnered by GTA builders, I would be lying if I said I was surprised. We`ve got great builders, brilliant designers and incredibly creative and sophisticated marketers here in the GTA.

August 19 - Spinning the advantages of new homes

I'm an indoor cycler (better known as spinning) and try to get to as many classes as possible at my fitness club. As I was waiting for the class to begin this past Sunday morning, the class leader was talking about the fact that later that day, she had to go to her mother-in-law's home to de-clutter it as part of the process of prepping it for sale.

August 12 - Playing the termite card

I kind of lost it in responding to a Toronto Sun reporter last week who called to ask how I felt about the news release from the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association (CCMPA) regarding "termites munching through Toronto" so I feel I owe it to anybody who might have read my comments, including those from the masonry sector, to explain my colourful reaction.

August 5 - 100,000 soccer fields saved by growth planning

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 29 - 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 and 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?"

July 22 - New condo sales off to the races

The Summer months are typically a slower than usual time for the new home industry, particularly when it comes to sales. Having said that, BILD recently released its new home sales figures for the month of June and I am happy to tell you that the market trends are changing as fast as the weather, and things are heating up!

July 15 - House price predictions puzzling

So yet another bank economist has come out with yet another prediction about declining home prices. This week, it was the TD Bank's turn, and the number they have picked is 12 per cent. Meanwhile, the CIBC folks say any correction will be in the form of a gradual decline rather than a sharp drop.

July 8 - A housing tour for the royal couple

All of the buzz around the royal couple visiting Canada this week has me thinking about our annual BILD-led housing tours. Last month, a group of us went to Vancouver, B.C. to take in the city's top new condo projects and hear from their market experts. While Prince William and his new bride have planned an 11-day tour of our vast country, they won't be stopping in to see Vancouver's Olympic Village nor the many "regal" sites we have here in Toronto.

July 1 - Oh Canada, our home and native land

It's interesting how the first line of our national anthem refers to the biggest input (land) and output (homes) of the residential construction industry. We Canadians have a great deal to be proud of when it comes to housing. First and foremost is the way in which Canada emerged from the global economic crisis with its housing markets strong and growing, as opposed to the situation in the United States.

June 24 - Flying solo ain’t so bad

According to a newly-released report about first-time homebuyers, one in three women fly solo when buying their first piece of real estate. The results of the 2011 TD Canada Trust First-time Homebuyers report also found that the majority of men are also purchasing their first home on their own, which means the singles out there are entering the real estate world now instead of waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right to come along.

June 17 - Celebrating the success of Habitat for Humanity

There's a lot to be said of an organization like Habitat for Humanity Toronto - a non-profit charity constantly working to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty - but actions speak louder than words.

June 10 - Federal budget embraces construction industry

An association's relationship with the government is a lot like most people's relationship with their computers. When everything loads quickly and error-free, I remind myself of how fortunate we are to live in an era where technology can assist us in some of our most vital tasks. When my computer crashes as I'm putting the finishing touches on my column, however, it's a whole different story.

June 3 - A quick look at what’s to come

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its Spring Housing Market Outlook report earlier this week, offering an analysis of the housing market in the GTA thus far in 2011 and for what lies ahead.

May 27 - New condo sales breaking records in April

According to RealNet Canada Inc., this April's high-rise condo sales crushed April 2010 with an 89 per cent increase, marking it the best April on record. To make things even more interesting, the 3,249 units sold amount to the third-best monthly condo sales tally BILD has so far released, and double the average levels achieved over the last 12 years!

May 20 - BILD Awards not only about the builders

Do awards matter? They certainly do to members of the Building Industry & Land Development Association, and they should to you too. Allow me to explain.

May 6 - Round two for federal budget?

Well, the federal election is now over and it looks like the budget that never saw the light of day will be coming back to the table fairly quickly, so let's review what may be in store.

April 29 - Mountain views come with a hefty price tag

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

April 22 - Hugh Heron fan club gains key supporter

Some readers may recall a column I wrote last August giving a shout-out to Heathwood Homes on the ground-breaking for their ultra Green Home in Richmond Hill. Heathwood President Hugh Heron was on hand that day sharing his thoughts on the building industry's continuous efforts to evolve sustainable development and green building practices.

April 15 - High-fives for BILD Awards finalists

On Friday April 29, the Building Industry & Land Development Association 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. In a testament to the relevance and popularity of these awards among our very competitive builder members, this year the Association received more submissions than ever before, and we're talking 31 years here.

April 8 - 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.

April 1 - New condominium sales soaring high in February

Those that follow the new homes industry are no doubt aware of the fact that new home sales in the GTA were down 13 per cent in January. Those that have a thorough understanding of how this industry works are no doubt aware that this number says nothing about the overall state of the market.

March 25 - Adding a bit of green to your home

When I first started working in this industry, greening your home meant little more than setting back your thermostat at night and turning off the lights when you left the room. Today, as we enter the second decade of the new millennium, green is gold and with the technological advancements that were made over the years, green products have become affordable, available and attractive for any homeowner.

March 18 - Celebrating Women in Construction

I was the lone male celebrating International Women's Day last week with more than 40 professional women who work in the construction industry. Women of all ages and representing all facets of the industry came to the BILD office to learn about the benefits of joining the Canadian Association of Women in Construction, and its new partnership with us. Some of the ladies are already members of CAWIC and inquired about joining BILD and RenoMark, others were just being introduced to all of the above.

March 11 - Think I’ll go out to Alberta

As I reflect back on the recent Canadian Home Builders' Association annual conference in Banff, Alberta, I've got that Ian and Sylvia Tyson song (but the Neil Young version) Four Strong Winds playing in the back of my mind -- Banff is a truly beautiful place in an amazing Province, even if it was so cold that they actually closed the ski hills, not once, but twice (can you say minus 51?).

March 4 - Buy with your head, not your heart

With the Spring housing market in full swing, I thought I would offer some advice to first-time buyers. Before I get into the advice though, I have to say that given the realities of land supply and low-rise housing prices, first-timers are realistically looking at starting out in a condo suite, if not driving a long way to qualify for an affordable low-rise home.

February 25 - Soaking Up The Sun at BILD

It was Murphy's Law that the day we planned a celebration for the unveiling of an 80-unit solar panel array on our rooftop, the clouds rolled in. So we tried our best to create a sunny atmosphere inside BILD headquarters by choosing some tunes that would cheer everyone up. Coming up with the soundtrack wasn't hard. I admit, I'm a bit of a music buff and it doesn't take much for me to veer off from a conversation into the chorus of a related song.

February 18 - Renovation inspiration, information, conversation at National Home Show

Last week I told you all about the amazing before and after photos of those renovation projects of all types and budgets being showcased at Destination Renovation at the National Home Show, which opens today (February 18) and runs through February 27 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

February 11 - Renovations full of inspiration

If renovating your unfinished basement, outdated kitchen or tired bathroom seems daunting, you need to take a look at the before-and-after photos submitted by this year's finalists for BILD's Renovation and Custom Home Building awards.

February 4 - Grit and grace Lawson’s secret to success

For decades, Mary Lawson has been breaking through glass ceilings in the residential building industry and just last week she shattered another one when she became the first woman to be inducted into the Building Industry and Land Development Association Hall of Fame.

January 28 - Moving forward in 2011

Given that it's the last week of January, it may seems like it's a bit late for the "what's to come in the new year" announcement, but there are several reasons that justify an exception this time around. Here are my top three:

January 21 - A golden run in the sunshine state

Last week, I boarded a plane and headed south to Orlando, Florida to cheer on GTA builders, developers, agencies and new home gurus at the National Sales and Marketing Awards. While these awards are usually reserved for American companies, I was delighted to witness our local representatives ascend to the stage 15 times to collect their much-deserved trophies.

January 14 - Exceeding expectations in 2011

Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but when it comes to bragging rights we tend to be a bit modest, unless we're talking hockey, of course. The housing market is hardly on ice though, in fact it's actually a lot hotter than we expected.

January 7 - Habitat for Humanity puts down roots

You never know where or when you are going to run into another Midland boy, but my ears perked right up this week when I heard the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, introduced as being born in my hometown. It's interesting that Onley still has that in his bio and it tells me that he is as proud of his small town roots as I am.