2019 Toronto Housing Market: A Year of Opportunity?

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GTA real estate has entered a new era. Gone is easy money. Gone are many investors, including foreign ones, with the new 15% non-resident speculation tax imposed by Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan. Tighter lending conditions and new mortgage rules including a new mortgage stress test are producing fewer prospective buyers, while rising interest rates are scaring prospective buyers and reducing affordability.

The resulting benefits to prospective buyers haven’t been seen in over a decade!

  • Better choice
  • Better value
  • More time to evaluate and analyze
  • Better terms

Even last spring, most of the residential and investment properties I looked at were not interested in conditional offers. But that’s already changing.

On the other hand, supply of new low-rise housing remains constrained. Immigration levels are high and Canada plans to increase them even further in the next few years, with up to 350,000 new foreign nationals expected to arrive each year in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Rental demand far exceeds supply. Fewer people can afford to buy, which means there’s an increased demand for rentals. Furthermore, Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan expanded rent controls to all private rental units across the province, which will likely result in fewer rental properties on the market as developers move away from purpose-built rental projects for more profitable returns (despite the plan also including a five-year, $125-million program that’s aimed at encouraging the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges).

With the number of units available for rent expected to decrease and immigration rates set to increase, we can expect that in the long-term, the fundamentals underlying the real estate market’s strength and growth will still be very good. Demand will increase and prices will rise again, especially since we’re not significantly increasing the supply of low-rise homes and are not building enough high-rise units to keep up.

To me, this means opportunity! 2019 will be a good time to buy property in the GTA, as the market goes through this micro-adjustment. The long years of the GTA real estate boom are over and there are way more opportunities available for buyers now. But as we saw above, this opportunity may not be around forever – long-term, I expect the market to stabilize and grow again.

Personally, I’m looking around for opportunities, but taking my time. I’ll post my findings in the future.

Goodbye BAM, Hello New Opportunities

After an incredible 17+ years in business, I’ve decided to step away from my company, BAM Builder Advertising & Marketing Inc. I retired so that I could have more time to do the things I enjoy in life and have earned the ability to enjoy – spending time with my wife Karen and at my cottage in Muskoka, racing my car, skiing, and travelling. I’m also open to new opportunities in the real estate market.

Since my retirement, BAM has seen a major transformation with a new owner, name and brand. The agency now goes by Coolaid Studios and will be led by Rob Nicolucci. Rob is a longtime friend of mine as well as the President of RN Design, an architectural design firm in Vaughan, which he founded in 1991.

With BAM’s strength in digital marketing, its acquisition will help Rob Nicolucci and RN Design continue to expand in that direction. I’ve worked with Rob and his team for years, and am thrilled to be a part of this exciting change and to contribute to Coolaid’s growth as a Consultant.

I had a great run at BAM. The company was known as a key player in the new home industry. We worked with dozens of innovative builders and developers on groundbreaking, interesting projects that at times helped to change the face of the industry. We won many exciting awards over the years, and created countless inspired experiences for new home buyers across Ontario and beyond. Most importantly, I built a strong and strategic team that was the backbone of BAM, leading the company to success again and again. I’ve built relationships that will last a lifetime. After nearly 18 years, though, it’s time to move on.

Going forward, I’m open to new real estate opportunities and business ventures. Want to connect? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Changing Face of the GTA Housing Market

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The headlines across local and national media outlets all agree. “The market has changed.” “One of the country’s hottest real estate markets might be cooling down.” “Toronto home sales drop most since recession.” The GTA housing market is finally cooling.

After years of extraordinary home sales and incredible price jumps in the GTA, we might finally be seeing the market even out. Potential GTA home buyers had got to be relieved when the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported the GTA housing market’s declining numbers last month. For years, the red-hot housing market has favoured sellers (and new home and condo builders). It’s been a tough go for buyers, who have had to compete with investors and deal with rising prices and limited availability, and has contributed to the GTA market’s vast expansion. Now, with more homes on the market and prices going down, the market is starting to look more balanced.

These changes are being partially attributed to new rules put in place by the Ontario government to cool down the housing market – the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. The new rules include a 15 percent foreign buyers’ tax, rent controls that limit annual increases, and several other measures. Coupled with changes last year from the federal government to tighten up mortgage lending regulations, which restricted the amount of debt Canadians can take on, it’s natural to see demand for homes declining. There are many factors at play.

It’s too early to tell the long-term effects of this recent dip. It has definitely made an impact, and will make it easier for buyer demand to be met. But as Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis, reports, “the actual, or normalized, effect of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan remains to be seen.”

BAM at the 2017 BILD Awards

Once again, our team had a great time at this year’s annual BILD Awards in late April. The awards – now in their 37th year running! – celebrate excellence in the GTA’s new homes industry, from sales and marketing to design and construction. Our team always enjoys taking an evening to celebrate our accomplishments and to see some of the cool innovations going on in the industry. It’s also a great night to connect with our fellow marketers, builders and developers. It’s always rewarding to be recognized and to take home an award or two, too!

This year, we were honoured and excited to be nominated for several awards:
• Best New Community (Built) – Nuvo, Highmark Homes
• Best Digital Marketing Campaign (Low-Rise) – Triumph, Highmark Homes
• Best Semi/Townhome Design (Large) – The Touch, Triumph, Highmark Homes
• People’s Choice Award – Triumph, Highmark Homes
• Best Rendering (Low-Rise) – Charing Cross, Lancaster Homes

Part of the digital marketing campaign for Highmark Homes’ Triumph in Whitby community.

(You can see all of the 2017 finalists here and all the winners listed here.)

We were proud to join our client Highmark Homes on stage to accept the award for Best Semi/Townhome Design for one of their stylish, modern townhomes at Triumph in Whitby. This has been an extremely successful community – its latest phase is fully sold out – that we worked on developing and marketing with Highmark Homes and architect Hunt Design Associates over the past few years. It brought an innovative new product to the typically traditional and family-oriented Whitby market.

Helping our clients succeed is what we do best at BAM. When they win, we win. We’re proud and grateful for another year of amazing clients and communities. Until next year!

BAM + Google: Here’s how we’re setting ourselves above the rest

Hey there. We’d like to take a moment to give ourselves a big pat on the back. Today, we are very excited about Google AdWords – particularly after our amazing Quarterly Business Review with the good folks at Google.

Here in the BAM digital department there are plenty of things that get us excited. After all, we place a premium on digital advertising and praise its efficacy as a channel for new home and condo sales, so we quite literally live and breathe digital. We want to have the best ads, the best performance, and the cheapest clicks, so that we can convert those efficiencies into profitable new home sales.

Over the past 3 quarters BAM’s digital advertising team has worked tirelessly with new Google technologies, web development teams and clients to streamline the advertising process from start to finish. Efficiency is the name of the game, and BAM has innovated in ways to capitalize on efficiencies.

Quarter-over-quarter, BAM has reinvented the way it utilizes AdWords as part of the home selling process, and the results have started to pour in. Over the past 6 months, we’ve seen our overall account clickthrough rate on ads quadruple. From an average clickthrough rate of 2% in March, we’ve managed to up that figure to 8% through the end of Google’s Q3 in October.

Is that good? For comparison, other advertisers in our industry have seen modest increases from 2% to 3% in the same timeframe, which gives BAM a 172% advantage. When you see that kind of comparative improvement, excitement ensues. Check out the infographic below to see how BAM has upped its game with AdWords the past few months.

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