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.

Supporting BILD

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Here at BAM, we’re big on helping builders to be the best they can be; from green design within their communities and homes, encouraging better building practices, and – overall – just providing better products and service to their customers. In the end, helping them to put their best foot forward is a great thing for everyone, right down to the family who is purchasing their first brand-new home. It’s this same desire that drives BILD, which is an essential lifeblood of our industry. A product of the merger between the Greater Toronto Home Builders’ Association and the Urban Development Institute of Ontario, BILD is the voice of the land development, home building, and professional renovation industry in the GTA. Currently, it represents more than 1,400 member companies.

They provide a necessary link between the industry and governments, helping to promote both fair and effective policies. They also encourage innovations and excellence in the planning and building of sustainable communities – all while simultaneously protecting the best interests of homebuyers. Through home shows, their print publication, members-only workshops, courses, and seminars, they keep us abreast of everything that affects us. As well, through the sponsorship of university courses in planning, and their work with community colleges and unions to promote building trades as a career choice, they are strengthening our industry for years to come.

They are the backbone of the building industry here in the GTA, and we strongly support them as an active member. It was an honour for us to design their most recent advertisement, at no-cost to BILD, which celebrates the 64 BILD Award winners this year, and the amazing things they’re doing; from innovation in sustainability to affordable home design. It was our way of showing gratitude for everything they’ve done for our homebuilding community.

We’re Bigger And Busier Than Ever

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A few weeks ago, we celebrated a very big milestone for BAM – 15 years in business. It’s exciting to see not only how much we’ve grown over the years, but also how much we’re continuing to grow as a company. Our team is bigger and better than ever before; in fact, we’ve had to knock down walls and expand the office to accommodate everyone. To top it off, we’re busier than ever – in fact, we have four openings taking place this month alone!

In the coming weeks, our client Kaitlin Corporation has Presentation Centres opening for Lakebreeze, a master-planned waterfront community in Bowmanville, and Sunderland, an amazing new home community in Sunderland, Ontario. Also, our clients Lancaster Homes and Falconcrest Homes have a Presentation Centre opening up for Summervale, a new community in the heart of Bowmanville. Lastly, we have Pine River, a community by developer/builder Zancor Homes and builder Lancaster Homes, opening in Angus. When we launched the community store in Queensville, we were confident that we had raised the bar in terms of what we, as a company – and team – were capable of accomplishing. I’m excited to see the culmination of all of our tireless work come together as we launch these new Presentation Centres.

From digital marketing, online advertising and touchscreens, to digital site tables, videos, and websites, we’re growing in every sense of the word. Last year was one of the biggest years in our history, and it’s looking like next year is going to start with a bang! I look forward to sharing the new Presentation Centres with you.

Metrics: Understanding The Habits Of Your Consumers

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There aren’t many things that you would generally do without any research or insight. Can you imagine buying a car, building an addition to your home or doing an archaeological dig without doing ample planning and/or necessary surveying? Well, when it comes to marketing online, the mindset should be absolutely no different. How can you accurately strategize or make decisions around your online marketing – whether it be your website or social campaign – without understanding your audience and how they interact with your brand/product? For this reason, metrics are essential to not only gather, but also analyze.

Sounds like common sense, right? Not quite. In fact, a report by Grovo suggests that 90% of all (annual) digital advertising dollars across the board are spent without knowing whether or not they were effective. That sounds like a red flag if I’ve ever heard one!

Metrics, if planned into your overall strategy, can do a few things: tell you where, when and how your audience is interacting with your site/brand, and highlight where you’re losing them. It’s important to understand the habits, hotspots, pitfalls and potential dead zones. It will help to further shape, modify and optimize your messaging and content to better satisfy your audience, their needs and their concerns. This is true of not only your website, but your social networks. Listening to feedback, measuring engagement with your content, and understanding demographics and consumption patterns will help you to properly use the networks for optimal results.

What is the result of data analysis? More engagement, more leads and fewer complaints/questions. To top it off, you’re guaranteed to save advertising dollars. Being able to understand your audience and their lifestyles will help you to deliver more relevant marketing, which will inevitably give better bottom line results – it’s a no brainer. This type of information is readily available, and gathering it in-house, or by 3rd party, should be a priority when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of your digital efforts.

Green Builders are on the Rise

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Today, more than ever, people are paying attention to how the products they use, and their lifestyle, affect the environment at large. Green marketing, as we currently know it, is a phenomenon that began evolving at a rapid pace in the 1980s, with the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reports. CSR Reports provided an overview of companies’ environmental impact; consumers were now able to better understand which companies were wasteful, and which were implementing sustainable measures. This new awareness spilled over into multiple industries, including the homebuilding industry, resulting in increased attention given to “green” approaches to design and construction – and it’s continued to grow. In fact, in 2014 33% of builders in Canada reported that more than 60% of their projects use green construction. This number is steadily increasing due to a combination of buyer demand, municipal and federal green building policies and a conscious need to “do the right thing”.

When comparing two homes, 80% of homebuyers say that energy efficiency would have a moderate to large impact on their selection. As well, 78% of homebuyers said water consumption would make a difference – that’s a big deal. The problem is many buyers aren’t willing to dramatically pump up their budgets for green features. So with this in mind, a green building strategy, with energy efficient differentiators, is something that builders need to be cognisant of when developing their marketing strategies. Here at BAM, it’s something that we’ve been helping our clients develop, and with extremely positive results. In fact, two of our clients are in the running for Green Home Builder of the Year at the 2015 BILD awards, with green brands/marketing developed in collaboration with us.

As more and more builders begin to employ green construction and technology into their new projects, it will eventually become harder to stand out, especially with evolving municipal policies that govern the minimum levels of efficiency a new home must meet. “Nice to haves” are slowly transforming into standard expectations, which are going to force builders to employ cutting edge tech/green features, without affecting prices, in order to attract today’s new breed of buyer. With a projected figure that 70% of Canadian builders will be 60% green by 2017, it will definitely be interesting to see what developers will do to contrast their projects from the competition.

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