Home Buying Practices In The Technological Age


Is retail dying? It’s a fair question to ask amidst lowered sales projections by large players like Wal-Mart. There’s no denying that the general public is more comfortable than ever with the concept of making both small and large purchases online. In fact, within five years online purchases will account for 8% of the total retail nationwide. Close to 50% off all transactions involve the Internet in some capacity if you factor the research that consumers often do before making an online or physical purchase. This brings up the question, could this comfort level with online spending transcend into the real estate industry?

Well, with increased transparency displayed to homebuyers – and builders giving floor plans, finishes and detailed information on the minutest details of a home’s development online – it seems inevitable that engaged buyers would be able to take the next steps. This type of thinking is already being applied overseas. In India, for example, Tata Housing works with banks to facilitate the entire home buying experience online – and has had lots of success thus far. Meanwhile in China, E-House China Holdings Ltd is leading the peer-to-peer lenders phenomenon, which finances (and manages) down payments for new buyers 100% online in minutes. Could this type of concept apply to a North American housing market?

A recent Harvard report has shown that brick and mortar retailers still control between 94% and 97% of total retail sales. A vast majority of consumers who appear to be liberally shopping online are doing so from trusted retailers. Metrics are also a bit skewed when you consider that most consumers who purchase online visit physical locations to check out the products beforehand. So this raises the question, is it reasonable to believe that buyers would purchase a property without physically experiencing it? Perhaps, in the case of condos or new builds without models; however, there are also security issues in play – and one would have to take a great amount of due diligence around the genuineness of the transaction. Is retail dead? Not yet – and neither are traditional home buying practices (for the time being).

Adapt or Die: My article for Ontario Home Builder’s magazine

In an article I wrote for the latest issue of Ontario Home Builder magazine, I took a look at the changing landscape of technology in real estate marketing. The article explores basic marketing principles like knowing your audience, but discusses how technology can vastly improve marketing homes to certain demographics and coming up with new and innovative ways to solve the hurdles of traditional marketing. The new marketing 101.

Read the entire article:


John's OHB Magazine article Winter 2014 - scan of published copy

Real Estate Pessimists Proven Wrong


The success of communities like TEN 88 is hardly a surprise when you look at how quickly consumers are buying this summer.

Much has been written in the press lately about the real estate market’s poor performance.

But according to recent Market Watch report released by the Toronto Real Estate Board, July’s sales represent the best July since 2009.

In fact, it’s the third best July on record.

This despite tighter mortgage insurance rules that were implemented last year, such as the one cutting the maximum length of an insured mortgage to 25 years from 30.

Of course, it’s also quite possible that many potential buyers who put their decision on hold then are now back in the market.

And although semis in the 416 area saw the biggest year-over-year boost in sales, increasing by 28.8 per cent, semi-detached homes in the 905 followed closely behind with a 26.4 per cent jump in transactions.

That’s good news for our clients, many of who sell in the 905 area. After all, though these are resale stats, the findings should spill over into the new homes market when resale prices go up and/or supply decreases.

Read the report here (PDF). 

How Two of Our Upcoming Projects Benefit From The Rise Of The Single-Person Household

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Single women account for one-third of all new sales at popular condo builder Tridel.

When I began working in the industry, most homebuyers were married and with kids. Over the last few years, however, an increasing amount of singles have been snatching up homes across Canada.

Indeed, only one year ago Stats Canada reported more one-person households than couple households with children for the first time ever, according to a recent Ontario Home Builder magazine article.

The reasons for this are threefold: first, as baby boomers age, many find themselves living alone; second, young people are marrying later; and third, many divorcees are in no hurry to tie the knot again.

Obviously, these new homebuyers are attracted to a different type of home. For one thing, space isn’t as important to them. Instead, they focus on amenities and features and finishes. Practicality matters too — as the OHBA article states, single homebuyers can view a condo, townhouse or small detached home as a stepping stone to something larger, with or without a partner.

This phenomenon, of course, presents a marketing opportunity — one that we’re only too eager to benefit from. Take two communities we’re hard at work on, Ten88 and Villagio.

The former is a condo project in Scarborough featuring a payment program designed to enable renters to purchase their first home. The latter is a smaller, somewhat more traditional community in Maple, Vaughan. In both cases, homebuyers can get one-bedroom units. They also get attractive pricing and finishes that are as sleek as the ones they’d find in a condo. And since our client, Empire Communities, also builds high-rise, it will be that much easier to blur the lines between a typical low-rise community and a high-rise condo one.

Now I turn it over to you: how are you making the most of the rise in single-person households?

BAM Wins CHBA Marketing Excellence Award

Last Friday, I was honoured to watch BAM’s efforts receive a highly regarded recognition, when our long-time client Brookfield Homes (Ontario) won the CHBA Marketing Excellence Award for its project Pathways in Caledon East.

As most readers of this blog know, this important award goes to the CHBA builder member whose single project combines the best overall achievements in marketing. The award is based on the cumulative results attained in at least four Marketing Award categories.


To differentiate Pathways as an exceptional new community that would appeal to families, we divided the community into six unique neighbourhoods and designed a map showing several pathways winding their way through the community. We produced gorgeous renderings of the two parks that the community will feature, as well as a stunning streetscape rendering. We also developed additional benefits for the community to offer, such as Brookfield’s Save Green program.

What’s better than winning the CHBA Marketing Excellence Award? Skiing at Lake Louise with the boys from Curb Signs and winning the CHBA.

What’s better than winning the CHBA Marketing Excellence Award? Skiing at Lake Louise with the boys from Curb Signs and winning the CHBA.

The results? A best-selling, award-winning community that homebuyers quickly identified as ideal for strolling, walking, enjoying nature and interacting with neighbours.

Congratulation to Brookfield Homes and our team at BAM!

P.S.: Pathways campaign elements can be found in our portfolio section, including video, eblast, social media campaign, logo, print ad, and more.

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