Expect housing starts to slow in 2019 Image

Expect housing starts to slow in 2019

By Sam Reiss on Nov 22, 2017

Altus Group Ltd. says the cost of land in some areas of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has nearly tripled in the last five years, now accounting for roughly half the price of a new home. In 2011, it was just over a third.

According to the Financial Post, it’s a major factor in developers struggling to build new homes people can afford. Along with tougher government rules including mortgage guidelines, the pinched supply resulted in about 2,600 new homes available at the end of September, down from about 15,000 10 years ago and close to a record low.

Malone Given Parsons Ltd., a development consultant in Markham, told the Post that there are 17,200 hectares of land available, far less than the 100,000 the province claims. Transactions in September were less than a third of those a year ago, at 352 according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Their forecast for 2019 says we can expect about 66,000 groundbreakings, down 13% from 2017. Prices had gone down (!) to $1.2 million for new detached homes and townhomes, which is more than 20% over last year but down 6.6% from August.

It’s clear we’re going to have to start looking at the rental market as a viable lifestyle choice, although it’s a scary place too. Last month, Ryerson City Building Institute and Evergreen released a report that found the current vacancy rate to be just 1.4%, with many industry advocates claiming anything under 3% is problematic.

The report said we’d need at least 8,000 new rental units a year to get closer to that number. The average rent of a one-bedroom is now about $2,000 a month.

Housing starts

On another note…

A rap on the knuckles to: Every single one of the 47 out of 93 Canadian senators who awarded themselves one of the $225,000 bronze medals with which they were supposed to recognize unsung community members in their jurisdictions.

Among those saving one of the dozen medals they were allotted to pat themselves on the back were two of the most controversial: Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy. Seriously? The 150-anniversary commemorative medals the Senate initiative was designed to honour are for those “who have done wonderful work” but may not get recognition from, for example, the Order of Canada, said Sen. Jane Cordy in the National Post.

The Senate of Canada Sesquicentennial Medal is supposed to give some “much-deserved recognition to Canadians who share the Senate’s goal of giving voice to people or issues that sometimes fly under the radar or don’t grab headlines,” according to Sen. David Wells when the medals were struck this past summer.

This is not just a disgrace but a personal embarrassment. How much does an honour mean when bestowed on one’s self? I’m thinking about having a “World’s Best Guy” trophy made and putting it on my mantel.

After all, it’s just meant to be a conversation piece, as Wells said when defended the action. “I chose to receive [one] and I’ll have mine in my office so when people come to my office, I’ll be able to use that as a way to discuss the Senate,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know about the Senate and its importance over the years and I’ll use that as a launching point for the discussion.”

Isn’t it enough that the person is in your office in THE SENATE? Isn’t that a good conversation starter about the Senate? Duffy, I suppose, deserves recognition for being found not guilty of 31 criminal charges in 2016, and is now suing the federal government. The RCMP closed its investigation into Wallin in 2016 as well. Kudos! As the kids these days say, I can’t even.

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