2018 News Index
Home security enhanced in a mobile world
Multi-family building security is being enhanced through links to the mobile phones that are in the hands of the vast majority of younger Canadians.
Passive houses open in Vancouver
Three Passive standard houses held tours over the Remembrance Day weekend in Metro Vancouver, and information on each project is available online.
Balanced housing markets emerging
The year-long drama in Canada’s housing market that saw an unprecedented government attack on demand, has resulted in “moderation in both housing starts and sales” in most of the country for the next two years
Glut forces Calgary home prices lower
Calgary’s high housing inventory is causing home prices to fall further as sales crater.
Detached sales in October totalled 829 units, a decline of 15 per cent from October 2017.
High-rise condos built with no cranes
Building multi-storey condo buildings without using a crane or scaffolding is pos-sible and practical, according to Upbrella Construction, a Montreal firm that is adding six new floors atop the 17-storey Hotel Le Germain in the city’s downtown.
Radon kills more Canadians than car crashes
Radon, a naturally occurring and cancer-causing radioactive gas, is responsible for the death of more than 3,200 Canadians a year—amounting to more fatalities an-nually than car collisions, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and drowning combined, according to national health groups.
“Henry” is the high-worth buyer to watch
A North American survey of more than 1,000 high-earning Millennials has turned up “Henry, the quintessential future home buyer that many home builders should be targetting,” according to real estate giant Engel & Völkers.
Legal weed: What are an employer’s rights?
The legalization of recreational marijuana under Canada’s Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) on October 17 has raised concerns about the rights of employers on construction sites—workplaces that often have inherent dangers.
Alberta increases safety inspections
As new regulations roll out, Alberta’s occupational health and safety (OHS) officers have increased inspections on work sites over weekends and other periods outside regular working hours through busy construction periods.
Luxury condos top high-end market
Sales of single-detached homes priced at $1 million to $2 million have declined in Toronto and Vancouver, down 35 per cent year-over-year, according to a Re/Max report on luxury home sales.
Restoration contracts seen as booming trend
Massive wildfires across the West. Floods in the Maritimes. Hurricanes and tornados--even in Ontario. Earthquakes off the B.C. coast. The litany of natural disasters seen this year has spurred demand for residential restoration work and some say climate change will keep such contracts growing.
Chinese buyers coming back to B.C.
Online searches for Vancouver area homes by China-based buyers surged 130 per cent in the third quarter from the second quarter, according to Juwai.com, the largest China portal for foreign real estate.
CREA upgrades its website
Perhaps partly in preparation for a Competition Tribunal ruling that realtors must publicly release selling prices on residential property, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has completed the first major upgrade of its listing website in years.
B.C. releases eased speculation tax
The B.C. government is forging ahead with its controversial speculation tax on vacant homes, but it has made some concessions to blunt its impact.
Gig economy affecting housing demand
A “phenomenal” increase in Canadians doing contract or freelance work is affecting home plans and projects—even how homes are financed.
“Lipstick” renos popular as budgets tighten
More homeowners may be looking for quick “lipstick” renovations to improve homes as renovation budgets tighten.
Halifax, Toronto up as Canada starts hit 19-month low
The trend in housing starts was 207,768 units in September 2018, compared to 213,966 units in August 2018, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
No sweat: Robot construction workers
Facing an aging population and a shortage of construction workers (sound familiar?), Japan is experimenting with robot construction workers in residential building.
PWC: Input costs the real threat
The costs of raw land, lending and steel are top of mind for Canada’s home builders as they attempt to deliver homes consumers can afford, according to a new survey by PwC Canada.
Tape hasn’t changed on housing ideas
Ontario’s housing market has changed dramatically over the past few decades but when the top residential lobby groups met to suggest how to improve it, the main advice proved the same as 20, even 30 years ago.
Turn a mud room into a cool space
The mud room is hardly the sexiest room in a new or renovated house, but it is an important component that can add value.
HELOCs debt at $290 billion
Canadians have racked up $290 billion in home equity lines of credit (HELOC) balances, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), with B.C. homeowners owing the most per household but Atlantic Canada homeowners taking out the highest percentage of loans.
LNG deal exposes housing shortage
Four years of hype and missed deadlines on resource projects cooled housing construction in northern B.C. communities, but builders are now scrambling to match demand for homes following confirmation that a $40 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant is coming to town.
Montreal, Toronto are islands of stability
Canada's two largest cities are bucking a national trend with Toronto prices recovering from a first-half downturn and Montreal posting years-high price and sales increases in September.
Buy an Ontario house for less than $275,000
While high-priced areas of Greater Toronto grab the headlines on home affordability fears, many places in Ontario offer detached houses for less than $275,000--far below the national benchmark price.
CIBC predicts mortgage plunge in second half
An expected hike in the Bank of Canada overnight lending rate in October would accelerate a second-half plunge in housing sales and related mortgages, major banks are warning.
Key to ease labour shortage: higher wages
There is a widespread concern in Canada’s construction industry about a shortage of workers and, in the United States, a recent survey found that 80 per cent of contractors said they have problem filling positions.
Jayman opens new concept in Calgary
Although the Calgary housing market continues to be sluggish, one of Alberta’s biggest home builders appears bullish with a contemporary stake on future new multi-family developments.
Montreal eases parking rules on new condos
The downtown Montreal neighbourhood of Ville-Marie has eased mandatory parking requirements for condominium developers. The former bylaw required residential developers to build parking spots proportional to the number of housing units, among other factors.
Downsizing homes can upsize costs
Selling an existing, larger home and downsizing to a smaller residence is popular with baby boomers, but a new survey finds it often costs more than most suspect.
National home sales ticked up in August
In what could be a sign that homebuyers are coming to terms with higher mortgage rates and tougher new mortgage regulations, Canada-wide housing sales increased slightly from July to August.
Ultra-lightweight concrete expands design elements
Thin, ultra-lightweight concrete panels proved a hit at the Vancouver Interior Design Show this month—both renovators and home builders are contemplating how they can be used for interior design treatments.
Fancy new Montreal sky bridge links with condos
An impressive new pedway will be built above St. Antoine Street in Montreal, providing a sheltered pedestrian walkway linking the Quad Windsor area to Montreal’s extensive 32-kilometre underground street network--and a selection of new condominium towers and townhouses reflective of a record-setting housing market.
Strong housing pace stumbled in August
Canada’s housing construction continued a strong pace in August, keeping the seasonally adjusted level at 219,526 starts, but slowing a bit from the action earlier this year, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Low-cost ways to melt snow on steps and walks
It is only September but some areas of Canada have already seen snow and soon all of us will. It may be time your clients begin thinking about installing a snow-and-ice melting system for their home’s steps and driveways.
Renovator offers cash reward to find workers
"We are looking for one Red Seal carpenter and one site supervisor with extensive residential experience. We are offering a $500 reward for each successful hire," said Metro Vancouver-based TQ Construction.
Hiring a contractor? There's an app for that
HeyBryan, an app that connects renovation contractors and other service providers to homeowners, has formed a partnership with HGTV's Bryan Baeumler.
Mortgage fraud overstated according to broker
Reacting to a recent article in this space, British Columbia mortgage broker Dustan Woodhouse claims that mortgage fraud in Canada is being overstated.
Calgary taking a hit as pipeline freezes
With the delay—even potential ending—of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline extension that was to deliver more Alberta crude to tidewater, Calgary’s housing market is taking another hit.
Halifax picked as best home buy
Halifax has been picked as among the best places to buy a home, edging out much larger and smaller Canadian cities.
Norbord video recruits trades
A Canadian supplier of oriented strand board is trying to turn the tide on the construction labour shortage with a promotional video.
Boomers will trigger reno boom
Aging baby boomers will drive the home renovation market over at least the next few years as they opt to stay in their homes rather than downsize or move.
Tool box goes high-tech
A high-tech, LED-lighted, Wi-Fi friendly tool box that can charge power tools, play music, show the time and roll along on rubber wheels has moved from crowdfunding to the market.
B.C. contractors fight mandatory unions
The affordability aspect of BC NDP government’s ambitious $6 billion plan to build 14,000 units of social housing could be jeopardy because, under a new NDP regulation, all government construction must be done by union members, according to independent contractors.
Greater Toronto Area home sellers getting their price
The general public can now see exactly what any home sold through the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) sold for following a Supreme Court of Canada ruling. A spin through the statistics shows most vendors are getting fairly close to their listing price.
Wood-burning fireplaces facing bans
Starting this October conventional wood-burning fireplaces will be banned in Montreal and similar legislation is on the front burner in Metro Vancouver.
What's hot in fireplaces for fall
For those seeking an alternative to wood-burning fireplaces--which will be banned in Montreal this fall and are may be outlawed in most of Canada within the next few years--there are some contemporary alternatives on the market.
Western builders steel for higher costs
Home builders and developers in B.C. and Alberta are bracing for higher material costs as the federal government threatens to widen the trade war on steel imports and lumber prices soar, partly as a result of massive wildfires.
GTA sales took a summer swoon
It was hot across the Toronto area this July but new homebuyers turned cold, according to data released by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) in Toronto.
Mortgage fraud drive faces pushback
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) is considering calling in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in a bid to battle mortgage fraud. The campaign is either overkill or inevitable according to mortgage industry sources.
DIY renos can be illegal and dangerous
Home renovation blogger Bob Weinstein warned in a recent missive that do-it-yourself (DIY) home renovations could be illegal, even dangerous.
Black coming back in baths
Bath giant Kohler is pushing to have black come back as a sophisticated option in bathroom decor including a voice-activated, matte black Numi toilet that proved a surprise hit at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Calgary housing market flattens
What looked like a rally in Calgary’s housing market earlier this year derailed in the first half and the outlook remains flat until at least the first quarter of 2019, says the Calgary and District Real Estate Board (CREB).
Canada home sales nudge upwards
Canadian home sales through real estate boards increased 1.9 per cent in July from June, building on increases in each of the two previous months but still running below levels recorded over the past five years, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Contractors among best "startups"
A survey citing the top 10 businesses to start in 2018 ranks landscaping services as No. 1 and a roofing company as No. 4 with residential renovation as No. 7.
Montreal home sales on 41-month roll
Montreal housing sales reached an eight-year high for the month of July with a total of 3,201 transactions, according to the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board.
Boomers will churn B.C. housing market
Baby boomers, those now mostly aged in their 60s, will create a churn in British Columbia’s housing market, where more than a quarter of boomers are banking on housing to fund their retirement.
GTA turns as condo starts highest in 13 years
Greater Toronto’s brief housing slump appears to be ending as resales surged 6 per cent in July while condominium starts hit a 13-year high.
Architects jumped gun on Indigenous "contest"
As part of the federal governments $1.5 billion housing plan for Indigenous Canadians, it has launched a $30 million contest to come up new ideas.
Speculation tax spooks B.C. Builders
British Columbia’s speculation tax on secondary homes is threatening the new home market and the provincial economy, according to Neil Moody, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, British Columbia.
Net Zero homes set for Mount Tremblant
Bone Structures of Quebec, which builds homes with steel framing, has re-leased plans for the construction of 42 Net Zero homes in a new lakefront resort community near Mont Tremblant in Quebec’s Laurentians.
York takes biggest hit in GTA new home sales
June new home sales in the York region of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) plunged to 475 units, down from 2,506 at the same period last year. This was the biggest drop in the GTA, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD.)
Get ready to welcome 1 million immigrants
Nearly one million new immigrants will settle in Canada between 2018 and 2020, under what Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has labeled "the most ambitious immigration levels in recent Canadian history."
Mortgage defaults plunge in Toronto, Vancouver
The federal mortgage stress test was meant to protect mortgage holders from getting overextended, but the latest mortgage data shows that mortgage defaults have fallen to record lows, even in Canada’s most expensive housing markets.
CMHC eases mortgages for self-employed
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) wsill make it slightly easier for self-employed borrowers—-which likely includes many residential contractors—-to access mortgage financing starting October 1.
Stay-home seniors skew retirement home outlook
Stubborn seniors are skewing the outlook for the retirement residences market in Canada by opting to stay in their own homes when they retire. But the trend could prove a boon to the home renovation sector.
Teardown Vancouver apartments sell for $980K
A scarcity of land in Vancouver has caused many owners of older rental and condominium projects to sell the entire building to developers who plan to construct higher-density housing on the sites.
Home renovation spending tops $77 billion
On average, Canadian homeowners are spending more than $6 billion a month on renovations and the industry is expanding at more than 3 per cent a year, according to an Altus Group study released July 25.
London developer tees up housing play
London developer Corlon Properties is teeing up land for a condominium and townhouse development adjacent to the Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in the city’s north end.
Luxury wood bathtubs a renovation show-stopper
If your renovation company has been asked by a wealthy client to "do something great with the bathroom," a plastic bathtub and surround may not cut it. Sure, the stylish new porcelain bathtubs are nice, but they have also become ubiquitous.
Housing sales up and down
June housing sales in Canada were up from May but down 10.7 per cent from June 2017, reports the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Women in trades centre opens
The new BC Centre for Women in the Trades officially opened June 28 in
Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Key building material prices increase
Building material prices are rising due to the growing international trade war and related tariffs, according to analysts.
Velux skylights control themselves
Velux Active With Netatmo is the first smart skylight system that connects with Apple HomeKit, allowing homeowners to manage indoor climate control at home or remotely across all Apple devices.
Trade tiff drives steel prices higher
Canadian steel prices are hitting record highs this year and the Canadian Coalition for Construction Steel (CCCS) is calling on the federal government to look closely at any plans to tax imported steel, such as rebar.
Victoria aims to outlaw mini-suites
The City of Victoria is considering a ban on mini-apartments in the downtown core.
Multiples lead home start increase
Record starts of multi-family units are credited for the June increase in national housing starts, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), which reports the seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) was 222,041 units in the month, up marginally from a month earlier.
GTA house and condo prices rally
A recent increase in City of Toronto home prices is a harbinger for the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) this year, a leading real estate agency forecasts.
Edmonton residential land sales slump
If housing is a harbinger of a city’s economy, Edmonton could be in trouble.
Residential land sales in the Alberta capital dropped 57 per cent last year from 2016...
Define "crisis" Vancouver: 14,000 homes sold at $966,000 average
In the past six months, 14,379 homes have sold in Metro Vancouver at an average price of $966,000.
This is known as a "housing crisis" in Canada’s most expensive and active residential market, according to the RBC Royal Bank and an apparently endless parade of pundits.
First-timer buyers could lead GTA recovery
Spring is traditionally the time when everything sprouts—including home sales. But this year in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), even with a record warm weather, the housing market is as cold as December.
Four top things homebuyers want
Four of this year's top design trends in the housing market, according to Home BUILDER magazine and its industry sources.
Kitchens still the reno money room
Housing demographics have changed over the years and Canada’s housing market has changed in the past few months, but a national survey shows that one home aspect remains constant.
Contractors face trust issues
A new Reno-Assistance survey conducted by Ipsos across Canada has found that two in three Canadians (64 per cent) do not trust general renovation contractors.
Detached houses lead Calgary builds
New detached houses in Calgary are seeing higher starts, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Feds and British Columbia ink housing agreement
The federal government and the B.C. government have formalized a $990 million agreement, originally floated in November 2017, that proponents say will repair and preserve about 34,500 social housing units and deliver thousands of new affordable rental homes.
TREB praises Housing Committee
The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has applauded recent Toronto and East York decisions which the board believes could have a positive impact on housing affordability and supply.
Port Hope House pushes Passive
A stunning new house by Teeple Architects of Toronto has pushed the limits of design combining Passive House standards.
Apprenticeship drop worrisome
Despite an apparent shortage of skilled construction workers across the country, fewer young people are pursuing apprenticeship training in the trades.
How to make Ontario homes affordable
There is apparently a four-point plan that would allow Ontario municipalities to increase housing supply and keep homes affordable.
Brandon buyer grants taken up fast
It was good idea while it lasted. As of June 15, applications received had claimed all of the $140,000 in homebuyer grants offered by the City of Brandon, Manitoba.
Biophilia design trend surfaces
Think you have heard it all in new home design trends?
How about biophilia?
Biophilia is about incorporating the natural world into a new home. It is trend some see catching on because studies show that Canadians are spending the vast majority of their time indoors, most often at home.
Halifax Saltbox reno wins green award
The conversion of hundred-year-old Halifax Saltbox house into modern commercial space has earned Nova Scotia architect Salterre Design and the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) a national green building award.
More women in trades needed
Over the past 15 years, Canada’s construction workforce has grown by over 90 per cent, yet women’s participation has grown on average by roughly 1 per cent, notes Keri Salvisburg Miller vice-president, member services at the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada.
Resale housing slump continues
Sales of existing homes in Canada have slowed and are now forecast to decline 11 per cent this year, compared to 2017, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
M-City looks to third phase in Mississauga
The long-awaited 15-acre M-City residential development in Mississauga, Ontario is underway—big time.
Passive homes house Indigenous
A $6.4 million townhouse development primarily for Indigenous tenants, built to the latest Passive House standards, will help Nanaimo address a severe shortage of affordable housing.
BILD gets political
Fresh off the election of Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives as the new Ontario government, the building community is now focused on the Ontario municipal elections this October.
Mortgage lenders take $2B haircut
Canada's mortgage lenders saw business plunge by $2 billion in the first quarter to $13.7 billion, the lowest level in nearly four years, Statistics Canada reports.
Quebec seen as hot cottage market
According to a cross-Canada survey of Royal LePage's recreational property specialists, the recreational market is primed for growth in 2018 as buyers flock to lakes and mountain tops with an eye towards retirement or a secondary home to raise children.
Winnipeg's SkyCity tower cancelled
The tallest condo building ever planned for Winnipeg has been toppled before it started.
Home developer links with Ti-Cats
Vaughan, Ontario-based Empire Communities, which has built more than 10,000 new homes over the past 25 years, has teamed with the Hamilton Tiger Cats football team in a unique promotion.
Cascadia Windows takes green product award
Cascadia Windows of B.C. won the Green Building Product of the Year award from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) for its Universal Series product line of triple-paned, fiberglass-framed windows.
Vancouver average new house price tops $3.8 million
There were 1,413 new single-detached houses under construction in May across the City of Vancouver and the average price of the 587 houses completed in the month was $3.87 million, down 1.7 per cent from a year ago.
Housing starts remain above 210,000
While national housing starts trended lower in May than in April, the seasonally-adjusted trend points to 216,382 new homes to be built this year, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Mining smart meter data paying off
Smart electrical meters have been installed in many homes across Canada and now the massive data they collect is being collated and monetized.
Vancouver pilot fast tracks permits
The City of Vancouver is launching a new fast lane pilot program for experienced home builders to reduce building permit processing times from 28 to 38 weeks to six to eight weeks. It is aimed at detached house permits.
London may boast Ontario’s greenest condos
London may be home to the greenest residential tower in Ontario as Sifton Properties accelerates work on its large West 5 development.
Green builders meet in Toronto
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) will hold the World GBC Congress in Toronto from June 5-7 at the Beanfield Centre.
CMHC clueless on foreign buyer data
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) is clueless regarding the impact of foreign capital on Canada’s residential market, a senior analyst told a recent Vancouver housing conference.
Banks draw down in mortgage battle
While the Bank of Canada held its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1.25 per cent at its May setting, major banks have drawn down in a mortgage rate war.
But consumers may have to get in early.
Luxury rentals sprout in Vancouver
Condominium developers in Vancouver are building luxury rentals to capture what is seen as a growing trend in Canada's most expensive housing market.
Quebec aid: $200,000 to renovate flooded homes
A year after the Quebec government offered financial aid to homeowners whose property was damaged in serious spring flooding, residents are rebuilding but some say they have not yet received compensation.
Ontario’s best kitchen chosen by NKBA
Binns Kitchen + Design of Toronto has designed and created the best kitchen in Ontario, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Ontario Chapter’s 2018 awards.
Land cleanup rules cover 20,000 pages
Cleaning up contaminated land before new homes can be built is expensive and complicated as government regulations continue to change.
GTA sales and prices down, inventory up
April new home sales and prices slipped lower in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as inventory continued to increase, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).
Ontario builders help rebuild Puerto Rico
In May 2018 home builder Doug Tarry, owner of Doug Tarry Homes of St. Thomas, Ontario, returned from his third trip to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico where he has led a Canadian team building and repairing homes.
Boomers bounce into cottage country
Baby boomers and retirees now account for 91 per cent of recreational property sales in Canada, according to an annual survey of the recreational residential market by Leger for RE/MAX Canada.
"Indoor generation" faces health threat
A new generation of Canadians is spending up to 90 per cent of their time indoors, which can be unhealthy, according to Velux Group.
Montreal home starts hit 20-year high
Home building in Montreal crested a 20-year high in April, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), led by multi-family construction of new condos and rental units.
Governments blamed for "sticker shock"
Feeling the pinch as an Ontario house builder while margins narrow in a changing sales environment?
Well, you will be glad to know that one outfit adds six-figures to every new home, regardless of the market conditions.
New Caesarstone look polishes kitchen renos
Caesarstone, known for its popular quartz countertops, has unveiled a new collection of contemporary urban designs inspired by
factories and lofts."
Mortgage "bazooka" knocks sales to 7-year low
What some realtors are calling a mortgage “bazooka” has driven Canadian home sales to a seven-year low following the implementation of tougher mortgage regulations.
New homes sold as Alberta builder fails
More than new 125 new home properties in Alberta are being sold, some at deep discounts, after major homebuilder ReidBuilt was forced into receivership last November.
Stress test gets more stressful
The federal mortgage stress test being applied to all new homebuyers became more stressful this month after an increase in the bellwether five-year mortgage rate. This is the rate that mortgage seekers must qualify at, regardless of the amount of their down payment.
Vancouver developers warned "the end is nigh"
Metro Vancouver condominium developers were warned of a potentially sustained downturn after housing sales in April plunged by double digits compared to a year ago. April is traditionally one of the strongest months of the year, signaling the start of the spring selling season.
Taxes nail costs to new homes in GTA
Rising government taxes, fees and charges now total $186,000 on the cost of a new detached house in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and an average of $121,000 to the price of a new high-rise condo, a new study suggests.
Solid slabs hot for backsplashes
Renovation contractors should take a close look at new trends in backsplashes -- a product that can frame a kitchen makeover and make it pop.
The kids are all right: Genworth
Perhaps to the surprise of many, the majority of young adult Canadians have already bought a home, according to study from Genworth Canada -- the second-largest mortgage insurer in Canada.
Ontario Millennials fear they will never buy
Nearly 70 per cent of young adults in Ontario fear they won’t be able to buy a home and about 58 per cent of all adults agree.
Solution floated for flood-prone homes
Rising water levels threaten homeowners and construction sites from Atlantic Canada to the West Coast. Restoration and renovation companies will no doubt be busy when the water recedes.
Mayor blames "NIMBYs" for high home prices
The mayor of the Metro Vancouver suburban community of Port Coquitlam told a Vancouver real estate conference last week that not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) activists help to keep home starts down and home prices high.
Buyers pick best Ontario builders
Tarion has awarded its annual Homeowners' Choice Awards to builders who received the highest ratings from actual home buyers across the province.
These are the only awards that focus solely on customer service and are based on feedback from homeowners.
Gasp! Big banks compete on mortgage rates
Canada's major banks are currently competing on mortgage rates, a rare occurrence comparable to gas price competition or, perhaps, Sasquatch sightings.
CREA urges ban on home grow-ops
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is urging Ottawa to put the brakes on letting people grow pot at home until it can better regulate it to prevent property damage and higher risks of crime and fires.
CMHC names “vulnerable” cities
What does Hamilton have in common with Victoria, Vancouver and Toronto?
Robot cues CAD to build house in a day
A California experiment has led to developing a robot that can read an architect’s computer aided design (CAD) drawings and build a full-sized concrete house using 3D printing technology in one day.
Zero Emissions centre underway
The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) in partnership with the City of Vancouver Passive House Canada and the Open Green Building Society are building a Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Centre of Excellence.
Calgary renovator first to take Bitcoin
Trademark Renovations of Calgary is believed to be the first renovation contractor in Canada to accept bitcoins and other cryptocurrency as payment from clients.
Ottawa starved for home listings
Ottawa’s hot housing market is starved for listings, real estate agents say.
“Inventory continues to fall below normal average, but we are still seeing more sales than last year because listings are not staying on the market,” said Ralph Shaw, president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.
Banks pull trigger on rate hikes
TD bank was the first on the draw but other big banks are expected to also pull the trigger on mortgage rate increases. In fact, one already has.
Bank rate hikes ahead
The Canadian dollar fell sharply immediately after the April 18 release of the Bank of Canada's official statement providing a more bullish forecast for the economy while holding lending rates steady.
Alberta buyers will flee B.C. according to survey
Albertan buyers will be dissuaded from buying vacation homes in British Columbia and may be forced to sell secondary homes they own there because of B.C.’s new speculation tax, according to a Royal LePage survey.
London: Where detached houses rule
According to one national trend, building new, detached houses is taking second place to condo apartment construction across Canada due to demographics and higher home prices.
Top four ways to make landscape pay
Putting an emphasis on landscaping can pay off in new detached house sales, according to an industry organization that cautions builders are ignoring “the family yard which has become an extension of the home.”
Ottawa sales, starts on a roll
Canada’s capital city is bucking an Ontario—even national—trend as Ottawa housing sales and starts came into March like a lion.
Stress test stalls move-up buyers
Realtors and mortgage brokers warn the mortgage stress test that began covering all homebuyers this January is freezing plans of move-up buyers.
Calgary condo inventory declines
First-quarter new condo sales in Calgary plunged 32 per cent from the previous quarter, according to Urban Analytics. The research agency said the new mortgage stress caused both Q4 2017 sales to rise and Q1 2018 sales to drop.
NYC houses homeless in $174-night hotels
New York City plans to spend $1.1 billion to house some of the city’s 60,000 homeless in Manhattan hotels over the next three years.
Home prices poised to increase: Royal LePage
If you are waiting for Canadian home prices to crash, don’t hold your breath, says Royal LePage. The large real estate agency expects prices to start increasing again the second half of this year.
Montreal offers new homebuyer incentive
The City of Montreal will offer eligible homebuyers from $5,000 to $15,000 in subsidies and tax rebates, with an emphasis on those buying new homes.
The program is available to first-time buyers but also to families with young children who already own a home.
Housing starts stable in March
Canadian housing starts posted a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 226,842 units in March, up from 225,804 in February, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Developers cancel pre-sold condo projects
High construction and financing costs are being blamed as a string of pre-sold condo projects in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia have been cancelled by developers before buyers get a chance to move in.
Renos: bold wall colours make statement
Renovation contractors should consider bold wall paint as a final touch on a project, suggests paint expert Bev Bell.
Halifax among top cities for Millennial buyers
Halifax is among the top five cities in Canada for Millennials planning to buy a home, according to a recent national survey by Point2Point Homes.
Kamloops dodges tax bullets
Kamloops, B.C.’s third largest city outside of the Lower Mainland, has been granted exemptions from two provincial taxes that affect homebuyers and owners.
Mike Holmes stands with GE Appliances
GE Appliances Canada has inked a partnership with home renovation experts The Holmes Group. Mike Holmes, along with his son Mike Holmes Jr. and his daughter Sherry Holmes, will work together as spokespeople and ambassadors for the appliance brand throughout 2018.
Home starts, spending to dip: study
New home construction and renovation spending are both expected to dip this year but the downturn will be modest, according to the Conference Board of Canada.
Ontario Municipal Board replaced
After years of complaints that it was too cozy with developers, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has been disbanded and replaced with a new entity, the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT).
Smart locks tough to hack, despite concerns
There can be technical glitches with home smart locks, but the potential of someone hacking in is unlikely, according to Weiser, Canada’s biggest manufacturer of door locks.
Uninsured mortgages climb
Canada’s uninsured mortgage market reached an eight-year high in January as government steps to reduce its exposure to the housing market gained traction, according to data from the country’s banking regulator the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
Greater Toronto Area home auctions are emerging
What's a resale house in Mississauga, Ontario really worth? Buyers will find out April 10 when On The Block Realty puts a four-bedroom, four-bath resale house up for auction through an online bidding process.
Purple reigns as the hot colour: Really?
According to the experts, purple is the colour of the year for 2018, especially "ultra violet" hues.
Follow up key in new home walk-through
Every home builder knows the drill: The new home is sold, but then comes official closing day. The builder or his or her agent walks the buyer through the house to check all the details.
Chinese can now buy Canadian homes like shoes
Chinese consumers can now buy Canadian homes online through a deal inked with Juwai.com (China’s largest real estate website selling international properties) and JD.com (China’s largest retailer, online or offline).
Index confirms price correction
The most recent Teranet-National Bank house price index has confirmed that Canadian house prices are tracking down. The index for February shows that home prices were down for the fourth time in six months, dropping 0.1 per cent from a month earlier.
High-tech bathrooms trending
Faithful readers may recall a few months ago when we spoofed smart showers controlled by a cell phone, but high technology continues to make waves in bathroom design.
Quebec credit unions toughen mortgage rules
Quebec credit unions are apparently preparing mortgage regulations that will mirror the stress test being applied to federally regulated banks.
Carney joins chorus against B.C. housing tax
Former Conservative Senator Pat Carney has joined the chorus of protest against B.C.’s punitive new “speculation tax” which taxes homes that are left vacant.
GTA new home prices sticking
Sales action may have slowed but new home prices are sticking in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with new detached house prices up 12.8 per cent from a year ago and condo and townhouse values up nearly 40 per cent.
Surprises in homebuyer survey
According to the Prospective Home Buyers Survey just released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., making an investment is among the top motivators driving Canadian home homebuyers this year.
Pets and renovations don’t mix
As a renovator you have likely had a client with pets. If not, remember this: pets and home renovations don’t mix. It is best to set some ground rules for the clients and their hairy friends before you start pulling the kitchen apart.
New Brunswick losing tradespeople
New Brunswick is facing a skilled construction labour crunch harder and faster than possibly anywhere else in Canada, warned Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada.
33,000 homes are Built Green
Built Green has hit a milestone with more than 30,000 detached houses and 3,380 multi-family units now built under the Built Green banner.
Edmonton ICES condo sales
Edmonton condominium sales have doubled in the past year and analysts say it is all due to the skyrocketing popularity of the new downtown entertainment zone known as the ICE district.
Small-town builders beat the big boys
Small-town British Columbia builders beat major developers and homebuilders from Metro Vancouver during the annual Canadian Home Builders Association of BC (CHBA-BC) Georgie Awards on March 10.
West home prices tower over East
It’s nearly 4,000 miles from Vancouver to Moncton, but as far as home prices ago it is light years in distance.
Cheaper smart windows invented at UBC
University of British Columbia chemistry researchers have developed a simple, cost-effective technique for making smart windows that could lead the way for wide-scale adoption of this energy-saving technology.
Ottawa surges as national housing starts settle
The pace of single-detached house starts in Ottawa surged to an 11-month high in February and multi-family starts increased in Vancouver, but national housing starts moderated in most of the country, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Longer mortgage amortization urged
Mortgages of more than 25 years would benefit homebuyers and increase competition in the mortgage market, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.
Quebec, Mohawk hammer construction deal
A new partnership is underway between the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK), and Tewatohnhi'saktha to help Mohawk workers successfully integrate into the Quebec construction industry.
Vancouver looks to mandate green roofs on new homes
The City of Vancouver, which is aiming to become the world’s greenest city, is looking at mandating green roofs on new residential developments.
Foreign buyers not needed or wanted: RBC
Foreign-home buyers are not needed or wanted in Canada, the president and CEO of RBC—Canada’s biggest bank—told a New York investors conference last week.
Best green builders awarded
Ontario’s best Green Builders were celebrated last month at the EnerQuality Awards Gala (EQ Awards), held at the Universal Eventspace in Vaughan, Ontario.
Asian buyers often dismiss contracts
George Lee, founder and principal lawyer at B.C.-based George Lee Law Corp., claims his Asian real estate clients are often confused and dismissive of legal contracts.
In B.C. you’re a foreign buyer
Under new legislation from the NDP provincial government, any Canadians outside of British Columbia purchasing recreational property are considered foreign homebuyers and will be subject to punitive taxation.
Syrians trained as GTA bricklayers
Syrian refugees to Canada are being trained as bricklayers to help meet a critical shortage in the trade across southern Ontario’s residential construction industry.
Analysts see a soft landing for housing
The Canadian housing market is returning to a normal pace that will result in a “soft landing” for sales and prices, according to Dr. Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Dominion Lending Centres.
Roofing: it's what undercover that counts
Modern roof coverings—from asphalt to metal—all perform well, but it is what is underneath the shingles that often dictates long-term performance.
Chinese buyers: Only 14% eye Canada
Even before the B.C. government boosted the foreign-buyer tax from 15 per cent to 20 per cent and expanded it across southern British Columbia this month, interest from China-based buyers towards Canada was waning, according to a survey by Juwai.com.
Decks seen as top reno payoff
While kitchens and bathrooms remain the perennial money rooms when it comes to renovation payoffs, adding or expanding a deck is now being ranked as high or higher, at least according to U.S. studies.
Housing will bolster Alberta construction
Residential construction and renovation will act as a brake on the decline in Alberta construction work this year, according to BuildForce Canada.
GTA detached sales hit 18-year low
Sales of new single-family homes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) hit their lowest level for January in at least 18 years, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).
B.C. budget spells construction jobs
An ambitious, housing-focused provincial budget is calling for a massive multi-year construction pace across British Columbia. The province has pledged to build 114,000 homes over the next 10 years.
$500 million Montreal project set to go
The City of Longueil is plunging ahead with a $500 million mixed-use, transit-linked development that will include more than 500 condos.
Biggest Passive multi-family starts
Spire Developments is building the largest Passive House multi-family development in Canada.
Vancouver developers squeezed by pre-sales
While most condominium developers want the fastest and most pre-sales as possible, selling condos before they are built is causing problems for some Metro Vancouver developers.
Saskatchewan leads start increase
Saskatchewan housing starts rose 123.5 per cent in January 2018 when compared with January 2017—the highest percentage increase among the provinces according to Statistics Canada.
Hamilton hammered as home sales fall
Housing sales fell across Canada in January compared to a month earlier as new stress-test mortgage rules kicked in, but some areas were hit worse than others.
Mattamy makes smart mandatory
Canada’s biggest homebuilder is making smart homes mandatory in all of its new builds.
Vinyl planks a hot housing trend
Vinyl plank flooring is becoming a hot trend in new homes and renovations. A near dead-ringer for wood, the planks are also waterproof and rugged.
LEED farmhouse heating bill $60
Heating a renovated 2,530-square-foot farmhouse in a frigid Quebec winter for $60 a month may seem a miracle, but it is made possible with advanced green engineering.
Will tiny homes catch on?
Alberta and B.C. companies are pitching tiny homes as alternative for residents seeking more affordable but comfortable homes.
Housing starts “stable” as year begins
Canadian housing starts maintained a seasonally-adjusted pace of 224,865 in January, nearly identical to the 226,346 in December 2017, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Greybrook leaps into Brooklin
Greybrook Realty Partners, in partnership with Fieldgate Homes, has put up $10.9 million to acquire and develop a prime 18-acre parcel of residential land in Brooklin, Ontario.
Hero kitchen renos that work
You are a renovation contractor and a homeowner wants you to transform their kitchen, but they have a shoestring budget.
If you want to remain a hero in their eyes, and perhaps get referrals, there are some ways to makeover a kitchen fast and relatively inexpensively.
Toronto buyers feel mortgage sting
Some are pointing to new federal mortgage regulations for a sharp slowdown in housing sales across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in January.
CMHC suggests plans to boost building
In what Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) says is the “the most thorough examination of house price patterns ever completed in Canada,” the federal agency floats some controversial ideas to increase housing supply.
Six kitchen trends to watch
Farmhouse-style kitchens peppered with modern fixtures and materials are among the top kitchen trends for 2018, according to the annual forecast from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).
Rules spook new home sales agents
B.C. real estate agents selling new homes fear new regulations from the provincial Superintendent of Real Estate will make their jobs harder.
The Superintendent of Real Estate announced the new Real Estate Consumer Protection Rules in November 2017 and they come into effect March 15, 2018.
What it REALLY costs to build a house
Following Home BUILDER magazine’s article published earlier here on the annual Altus Construction Cost Guide 2018, Altus Group reported that due to “formatting issues” some of the construction cost estimate numbers in the Guide were incorrectly transposed, and therefore wrong. Here is the updated version.
Hard-hat workers in high demand
Canadian construction workers should have no problem finding work over the next few years, according to BuildForce Canada, which forecasts that more than 200,000 workers will be needed by 2028.
Alberta new home permits increasing
Rebuilding homes in Fort McMurray, a northern city that was ravaged by forest fires two years ago, has helped boost Alberta’s new housing construction to its first annual increase since April 2015.
Edmonton eyes bonus for bigger condos
In a bid to lure more families downtown, the city of Edmonton is considering a density bonus—two extra floors on condo projects—if the new units are three-bedroom suites.
Levitating doors among hot trends
The home show season is in swing across Canada and the U.S., and new products are appearing that may prove a hit in the home renovation sector.
We highlight three new products that homeowners may be requesting for their makeover.
Luxury bunkers seen as elite trend
U.S. futurist Ross Milroy notes that a trend is emerging among the wealthy towards creating luxury “doomsday bunkers” that could survive anything from a hurricane to a nuclear attack.
Vancouver levies $77,988 per new home
Civic costs and fees levied on home builders by the City of Vancouver now average $77,988 per residential unit, by far the highest in B.C. according to a new study.
Prairie contractor license plate battle ends
Alberta construction contractors can once again feel safe driving into Saskatchewan with Alberta license plates on their truck.
Passive build sets airtight record
The Wood Innovation Research Lab (WIRL), currently under construction in downtown Prince George, B.C., set a Canadian record for air tightness for buildings of its type.
2017: Over 120 new homes sold each day in the GTA
Sales of new homes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) averaged more than 120 a day, seven days a week during 2017 as sales hit the fourth-highest level on record.
What it costs to build a house
A high quality 2,000-square-foot detached house would cost up to $460,000 in hard construction costs to build in Vancouver, $420,000 in Toronto, but around $300,000 in Montreal, Calgary or Halifax, based on the Altus Group Canadian Construction Cost Guide 2018.
Construction a highlight in job report
Construction employment was among the highlights in job creation in December 2017 as Canada shed tens of thousands of jobs in the month, compared to November.
Renovators can share in $784 million school upgrades
Ontario renovation contractors may be tempted to turn from home renovations to school work this year to share in a multimillion-dollar renovate and build program.
Thunder Bay leads permit increases
Calgary, St. John, Sudbury and Thunder Bay were the unlikely leaders in construction permit building values in 2017, all with triple-digit increases from 2016, reports Statistics Canada.
Underground contractors threaten asbestos ban
A wild card in the recent federal ban on asbestos is the unregulated black market in renovations, according to industry groups.
Mortgage effect delayed by pre-approvals
Even in high-priced Vancouver, the effect of an interest rate hike in January and the introduction of a federal mortgage stress test failed to cool the market quickly.
Ontario insulation funds equal $1 to $2 per square foot
Green Ontario Fund incentives to make home renovations more energy efficient work out to from $1 to $2 per square foot for adding insulation.
Canada now “a condo nation”
It may seem absurd in a nation with the world’s second-largest land mass but condominiums have become the fastest-growing housing choice for many Canadians.
Owners of empty homes face punishing tax
The City of Vancouver has mailed notices to more than180,000 city homeowners to explain Canada’s first Empty Home Tax.
Landlords lobby for cannabis ban
British Columbia landlords want the province to follow the lead of Quebec and ban marijuana growing in private homes when recreational marijuana becomes legal under federal legislation on July 1.
Housing starts remain strong, stable
Canadian housing starts totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 226,777 in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Green builders sought for trade mission
Are you are a net zero carbon home builder? The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is looking for 15 leading Canadian cross-sectoral companies and professionals to join Thomas Mueller, CEO and president of the CaGBC, on a trade mission to the Netherlands and Austria in late January.
TREB blames government intervention
It was not resistance to higher home prices but government intervention that cooled the Greater Toronto housing market in late 2017, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).
Montreal tracking to record sales year
Montreal had a bigger increase in housing sales than either Toronto or Vancouver in 2017, and is on pace to set a record for residential transactions in 2018, according to the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB).
Calming seen for housing markets in 2018
After a tumultuous year, 2018 should see a much calmer Canadian housing market, according to James Laird, co-founder of RateHub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial.
Legal weed spooks some safety officials
Some Canadian safety officials fear the impending legalization of marijuana could undermine efforts to cut down on workplace accidents and enforce site safety rules. The federal government is pushing ahead with plans to legalize recreational marijuana, with new rules set to take effect July 1.
Lethbridge extends $30,000-per-home incentive
Lethbridge, fourth-largest city in Alberta, has extended a popular incentive program that offers builders up to $30,000 for each housing unit they complete in the downtown area.
Smart light protects home
A discrete new lantern-style porch light could be a high-tech add-on for home renovations: it acts as a first-response burglar alarm. The lamp is armed with motion detectors, a high-resolution video camera, and two-way speaker system connected to your smartphone.
Housing shares in biggest GTA deals
When all the numbers are in, the Greater Toronto Area is expected to have hit its fifth straight record year for commercial real estate sales and total dollar volume in 2017, with land for residential developments among the biggest deals of the year.
New Canadians boost housing market
An increase in immigration to Canada, not foreign buyers, will fuel future housing demand in major cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, a new study suggests.
Home prices will rise 4.9 per cent in 2018
Average home prices in 53 Canadian cities are expected to rise by 4.9 per cent by the end of 2018 to about $662,000, according to December 2017 outlook from Royal LePage.
London eyes record housing starts
Home builders in London are flirting with a record pace of housing starts, despite an October stumble.
Home builders grab Vancouver land
If a housing bubble is building in Metro Vancouver, residential developers apparently haven’t heard the news.
Mortgage crackdown a threat, broker says
Vancouver-area mortgage broker Dustan Woodhouse fears that the federal government is moving too fast with mortgage regulations and that it could threaten the national economy.
Edmonton condo inventory drops
A 21 per cent increase in sales and a slowdown in new construction has led to a decline in the number of new and unsold condos in Edmonton, according to an Urban Analytics report.
Builders, renovators flood back into Gatineau
Three months after paying out about $6.5 million for 724 water damage claims, the Quebec government has reversed an earlier decision and will allow homes to be rebuilt or renovated in the flood-prone Gatineau region.
CCA president Atkinson resigns, replaced
Michael Atkinson, who was president of the Canadian Construction Association since 1993, has resigned as the CCA turns 100.
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