Tag Archives: construction industry
Since 2000, the value of a Canadian home has doubled
Record investment dollars poured into Canadian housing stock over past decade
Billions spent in new construction, renovation, and infill over the past decade have contributed to a serious upswing in the calibre of Canada’s housing stock, propping up residential average price in the country’s major centres, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
Since 2000, the value of Canadian real estate has doubled, rising from $163,951 to $339,030 in 2010. Nowhere has the upswing been better captured than in both the value of residential building permits issued nationally between 2000 and 2010—at $340 billion—and the estimated $450 billion spent in renovation. The impact of these two forces alone has fuelled the Canadian residential real estate market – as well as the construction industry—for more than 10 years.
As a result, investment in Canada’s housing stock is at an all-time high in the 16 Canadian residential real estate markets examined in the RE/MAX Housing Evolution Report. Higher quality housing translated into extraordinary price appreciation across the country—with 62% (10 markets) experiencing increases in excess of 100% since 2000.
“While a number of external variables were also behind the exceptional gains, revitalization—amid an aging housing stock—and newer construction are largely underestimated factors supporting Canadian housing values. The trend is expected to continue for years to come as investment in residential real estate through renovation, infill, and redevelopment ramps up across the country. City planners, builders, developers, and homeowners have only just begun.
The report found that the unprecedented sum funneled into housing has effectively changed the landscape of Canada’s major centres. New home construction has advanced suburban sprawl, giving rise to new sought-after pockets in virtually every centre across the board.
Infill continues to redefine neighbourhoods, particularly in areas where the value of existing structures have not kept pace with escalating land values. The trend was evident in all centres, but had the greatest impact in large metropolitan cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. Bungalows on large lots are prime targets, making way for custom builds that transform working-class subdivisions of yesteryear into up-and-coming upper-end pockets. Infill is also maximizing land potential, often replacing one, two or several tired structures with a block of townhomes or mixed-use residential, even high-rise apartments.
Renovation has also had a tremendous impact on housing throughout the decade, so much so that it’s emerged as, arguably, Canada’s next national past time. Residential renovation spending has been gaining momentum year-over-year since the early part of the decade and now exceeds $60 billion annually.
The trend has not been limited to single-family homes—although that activity has been nothing short of remarkable. Canada’s cities have also mounted ambitious renewal of their own, particularly in the heart of most major centres—the urban core. Strategic smart growth plans are altering cityscapes, challenging our concepts and perceptions—including our purchasing patterns—and creating partnerships that are working to escalate our markets to world-class status. Non-residential construction, including infrastructure spending has had a positive secondary impact, in turn boosting spending on the residential side.
Toronto, for example, has become the largest condominium market in North America.
The past decade has also marked the rise of the condominium—moreover, its undeniable acceptance as an attractive option as opposed to a secondary compromise. Toronto, for example, has become the largest condominium market in North America. Yet, it isn’t just gaining traction in large centres like Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, but also in smaller cities such as Kelowna, London and Halifax—to name a few. Running the gamut from entry-level units to upscale, luxury suites, condominiums have gained widespread appeal with aging boomers, looking for lifestyle and low maintenance; young professionals, attracted to trendy locales; and first-time buyers, looking to get their foot in the door to homeownership.
Condominiums have changed the urban landscape, driving residential neighbourhoods up, instead of out, and bringing to market a bevy of new options from mixed-use residential, live-work studios, lofts, townhomes, and condo bungalows. Townhomes, in particular, have experienced a serious rise in popularity, bridging the gap for empty-nesters and retirees not yet ready for apartment-style living.
With construction of rental product few and far between in many Canadian centres, it’s no surprise that investors have also been particularly active in the condominium market, especially in college/university towns or where vacancy rates remain tight.
Redevelopment holds the greatest potential for cities on the cusp of exciting rejuvenation. While former brownfields can present challenges, many have opened up and revitalized entire areas. The Barrel Yards Development in Kitchener-Waterloo, for example, is expected to change stagnant industrial land into a bustling residential, commercial and retail hub. Past successful transformations include Garrison Woods in Calgary, the Hamilton Beaches in Hamilton and Bishop’s Landing in Halifax, with countless projects planned nationwide in the years to come. Conversions also continue to breathe new life into existing structures with good bones, while supporting the move to higher-density and the introduction of affordable options.
Greater sustainability overall, keeping the urban lifestyle attainable, livable and attractive at all price points, depends on redevelopment.
Lastly, population growth has been a key factor making housing evolution possible. Since 2000, Canada’s population has experienced double-digit growth of 11%. By 2031, over 42 million people are expected to call Canada home.
There’s no question that population growth will continue to support investment, propping revitalization and new construction in the years ahead, and by extension raising the bar and prices in real estate markets even further.
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.
Excerpt from an article by Tony Wong – Toronto
A correction in the red-hot Toronto condominium market “cannot be far away,” says a leading housing economist.
Buying for investment purposes in the Toronto condo market has been “far in excess of market needs” and buyers face “very high risks,” said economist Will Dunning in his most strongly worded analysis yet of the Toronto market, released yesterday.
Nearly a decade into a robust housing cycle, high-rise condo sales remain extremely strong, with second quarter sales at an annual rate of 20,800, a record high, said Dunning.
While other housing economists have expressed concern over what they see as a potentially frothy Toronto condo market, Dunning, a former Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. economist, has been among the most conservative.
“An onslaught of Toronto condo completions is just beginning and I expect that rents will start to fall late in the year with the possibility of price weakness to follow,” said Dunning.
Toronto condo buyers have lucked out so far only because the construction industry is at capacity, said the economist.
Some analysts have said the market is sustainable because prices haven’t gone up as far or as fast as in the 1980s, just before the market crashed.
They also say banks are much more stringent and developers have to sell most of their units before construction. Also, high house prices mean Toronto condos are now the only choice for some buyers.
He forecasts 15,910 condo starts this year, with another 16,623 for 2007 and more than 10,000 in subsequent years, meaning buyers will have a lot more Toronto condos to choose from.
He has revised his home price forecast upward for 2006, and expects the average home to increase by 5.7% this year (compared with a previous forecast of 4.3%) to $355,305. He expects resale prices to move 3.4% higher in 2007 and then level off at about the inflation rate in 2008 and 2009.
With the deterioration of affordability due to higher house prices and rising interest rates, Dunning estimates that sales of existing homes (both condos and low rise) should be 10% lower than current levels.
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Each month, our local home builders’ association receives several market intelligence reports from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. This month’s newsletter contained a number of items that I thought would be of interest to new-home buyers in the GTA.
Dr. Peter Andersen, CHBA’s consulting economist, notes that this year will be much busier than expected for construction activity of all types. Housing starts have surged and residential construction has picked-up again. Non-residential construction, always a second-half cyclical performer, is in a solid expansion. A strong office leasing market and a declining office vacancy rate are signaling the onset of an office tower construction cycle.
Housing starts averaged 248,000 at annual rates in the first quarter – an increase of 17% from the same period a year earlier. This is far above the 2005 housing starts total of 225,481 units and also the annual cyclical peak of 233,431 units set in 2004.
The March starts figures were striking – 252,300 at seasonally adjusted annual rates. The first-quarter surge reflected both single-detached and multiple-unit starts. Housing start forecasts for 2006 are being revised upwards as a result of the monthly performance through the first three months of the year.
The resale market is always a good indicator for new-home demand. It is still hot and shows no sign yet of affordability stress. First-quarter sales were at an all-time record high, after adjusting for seasonality. Sales of existing homes and condos in March continued at close to record levels. This is also good news for renovation demand as the stimulus to renovation from resale housing activity, which works with a lag, shows no sign of slowing down. The national average resale price in March in major markets was up by 11.5% year over year.
RBC affordability index
High home prices and utility costs in the last three months of 2005 pushed home affordability to its highest level in 10 years, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.
RBC’s affordability index measures the proportion of pre-tax household income it takes to service the costs of owning a home. Despite the fact that incomes continue to rise, this increase does not match the hikes in mortgage rates, house prices and utility costs.
Income growth in Canada is starting to accelerate, wages are rising, but the increase in house prices has been faster. Add to it higher interest rates and overall size of rising mortgages, so affordability is going down.
Vancouver and Calgary were hit the hardest as housing prices soared in the last quarter of 2005. Affordability is expected to get worse in the first half of this year, but should level off by year’s end.
The construction industry is concerned after hundreds of construction workers from Portugal and other countries have been deported as the new Conservative government moved away from Liberal government promises of an amnesty plan.
Promises of an amnesty gave hope to underground workers who came forward to file refugee claims as a result. Their attempts to stay in the country legally ended up getting many of them deported. Canada’s current immigration system is tailored to educated immigrants, and blue-collar workers often do not qualify.
“This is insanity,” says immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman. “We have an immigration system that is supposed to supply workers for jobs, but these blue-collar workers who are needed cannot qualify to get in.”
There is a major labour shortage in the construction industry – an industry that accounts for 9.5% of Canada’s total gross domestic product and 7.5% of Ontario’s alone. It is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 illegal immigrants working in southern Ontario’s construction and hospitality industries, and 200,000 undocumented workers across the country. Deportations are therefore a major threat to the construction industry.
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association wrote a letter to Immigration Minister Monte Solberg, supporting the work foreign workers do in the homebuilding industry and urging him to resolve the labour shortage.
Solberg says the government is working with the provinces to ensure labour needs are met. “We understand the process doesn’t work well for a lot of people. We’re trying to fix that. The ideal situation is for people to go through the process.” He ruled out an amnesty, he said, because he doesn’t want to encourage people to come to Canada illegally.
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