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HBM 30 years

2020 News Index

Cities endorse 12-storey wood towers
On May 27, Vancouver City Council joined other cities across Canada in approving mass-timber construction up to 12 storeys for residential and commercial uses, doubling the current height limit of six floors.

CMHC’s gloomy outlook “unrealistic” Realtors say
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) released a doomsday-style housing forecast May 27 that envisioned a collapse of the housing market with national sales dropping up to 29 per cent, starts plunging 50 per cent to 70 per cent and average house prices dropping as much as 18 per cent with no real recovery until 2022.

Construction jobs nearly unscathed in April
Construction employment in Canada largely escaped a job-loss bloodbath in April that saw a decrease of 226,700 jobs across the country, according to ADP’s Canadian National Employment Report.

Big markets suffer largest sales decline
Housing sales were slashed nearly in half between February and April across Canada, but it was bigger cities where the cuts were deepest, says according to a Zoocasa study released May 22.

Virus may evolve home designs
With about five million Canadians working from home during the pandemic, many also with children forced to stay away from school, a trend towards more flexible home designs is expected.

BCCA takes builder training online
With the arrival of social distancing, the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) has taken its Builders Code training online and made it available for free to builders across the country.

Home price outlook a guess at best
Average home prices in Canada increased in April—despite the most dramatic plunge in housing sales ever seen.

Vancouver home prices keep rising
Housing sales across B.C.’s Lower Mainland cratered in April—the first full month since the COVID-19 crisis hit, but benchmark prices increased in both Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley from a year earlier.

Ontario sheds 93,800 construction jobs
The Canadian economy lost nearly two million jobs in April for a total of more than three million since February. A further 2.5 million people are employed but working fewer than half their usual hours since February.

Housing starts holding firm, for now
Canadian housing starts maintained a stable pace in April, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), which noted that if Quebec were excluded due to a partial ban on con-struction because of the pandemic, April’s housing starts trend would be 155,995—up from a pace of 153,463 a month earlier.

Housing starts will fall: Moody’s
The annualized pace of housing starts in Canada will drop 30 per cent in the second half of 2020 and remain muted for at least a year, with Western provinces taking the worst hit, according to Moody’s Analytics.

Edmonton developer wins global award
Edmonton land developer Beaverbrook Communities has beaten out eight finalists from around the world to win the prestigious Global Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) International Award for Planning Excellence.

Ottawa plan could cover half your business rent
Contractors and home builders who rent commercial space could share in the new Canada Emergency Rent Assistance program, which will lower rent payments by 75 per cent for small businesses hit by COVID-19 for the next three months.

Lunchbox Challenge: free food to construction crews
Workers at Scott Construction’s building sites in the Lower Mainland of B.C., Calgary, Alberta, and Milton, Ontario,  will be enjoying free food from local restaurants as Scott’s Lunchbox Challenge campaign gains recruits across the country.

Big landlords help tenants
Some of the largest landlords in the country stepped up early to help their tenants be-cause of the economic impact of COVID-19.

Fixed-rate mortgages ease
Weeks after the Bank of Canada slashed its benchmark lending rate to 1.25 per cent, major banks have started to lower the cost of five-year fixed-term mortgages.

Home prices could remain stable: Royal LePage
The price of homes in Canada is expected to remain remarkably stable through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a forecast by Royal LePage.

Alberta backtracks, bans rental evictions
The Alberta government has joined all other provinces and banned residential rental evictions, but the ban only applies to the month of April, though it may be extended.

Emergency aid could help contractors
As self-employed entrepreneurs providing essential services, home builders and renovators have a chance to benefit directly through federal assistance meant to soften the economic blow of the COVID-19 crisis.

Home sales rally stalled by virus
Housing sales in major Canadian markets were in the midst of a rally in March, but that ended mid-month when the extent of the COVID-19 crisis hit home, according to real estate sales data.

Many did not pay rent in B.C. on April 1
British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec have all banned rental evictions for the next three to four months due to COVID-19 job losses. In B.C. many have taken this as a signal not to pay rent.

Ontario halts most construction for 14 days
Following the lead of Quebec—and perhaps a harbinger for other provinces—the Ontario government has temporarily shut down most residential construction amid efforts to contain COVID-19.

Renovators work around virus
While self-isolation and economic woes threaten Canada’s $50 billion home renovation industry, some

1.99% mortgage as BoC slashes rate
HSBC began offering a 1.99 per cent three-year term mortgage as of March 27 after the Bank of Canada (BoC) slashed its benchmark interest rate to 0.25 per cent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virus may cause “paralysis” in housing market
While some mortgage brokers and real estate agents say the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could spur housing sales due to lower interest rates, the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) warns there will be a sharp downturn at least during the first half of 2020.

Renovation spending was tracking up
Renovation spending in Canada was tracking upwards, according to Altus Group, but most contractors say a slowdown is expected in the first half of this year. The reason, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic which is keeping many Canadian households in isolation.

COVID-19 slump exposes contractor liability
Residential and commercial construction will slow in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and the Council of Ontario Construction Association (COCA) warns this could leave builders on the hook.

Home shows cancelled, meetings postponed
Canada’s largest home show, the Toronto Home Show, has been cancelled.The largest home show in North America, in Chicago, had earlier been called off. Both cancellations were due to fears of the new coronavirus.

Emergency BoC rate cut will fuel home sales
The 0.5 per cent reduction in the Bank of Canada (BoC) overnight lending rate on March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic will “add fuel to the fire” in the housing market. Some homebuyers could be paying mortgage rates as low as 1.95 per cent.

GTA home sales kick into higher gear
Housing sales across Greater Toronto soared 45.6 per cent in February compared to February 2019 in a widely based rebound that reached from downtown Toronto to communities through the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Unique insulation promises aesthetics, performance
A unique new insulation product may please both architects and contractors on new home sites, perhaps a breakthrough itself.

Rate cut expected to fuel home sales
The dramatic rate cut by the Bank of Canada could throw fuel on a rapidly developing housing sales recovery in Canada’s biggest and most expensive housing markets.

'Trust in Real Estate' act passed
Ontario has passed the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (RESA), which has wide support from the real estate community, including the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the Toronto Real Estate Board.

It’s housing starts, stupid
Minor tinkering with government monetary policy and buyer incentives is not what is needed to create more affordable and accessible homes in Canada: It is an increase in the supply of homes that is the solution, analysts argue.

Mortgage stress test relief coming
Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, has announced changes to the benchmark rate used to determine the minimum qualifying rate for insured mortgages, also known as the “stress test.”

Soaring condo insurance costs spook B.C. realtors
Soaring insurance costs for condominium projects and condominium owners has convinced the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) to rewrite its provincial disclosure statements for homebuyers.

Immigrants not filling skilled labour gap: study
Three in five new immigrants to Canada hold a university degree but what appears to be a bonus is actually causing problems in meeting Canada’s actual skilled labour shortage.

Sales down, starts up as new decade begins
Sales of existing homes were down but starts of new homes increased in January 2020 compared to the last month of the previous decade.

Immigrants pooling in just three cities
If three cities are taken out of the equation, the rest of Canada is seeing only about 56,000 new immigrants a year, according to new Statistics Canada data, despite immigration levels hitting unprecedented highs.

Uh-oh, Toronto bounces back into boom zone
January home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were so strong the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) is now forecasting a return to the booming levels of four years ago.

TD kicks off five-year rate cut cycle
In what some believe could be the start of a downward cycle, TD Bank has chopped its interest rate on five-year mortgage loans.

Smarter concrete sensors allow remote monitoring
Concrete sensors have been around for a while now, but new technology unveiled at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas this month has moved the dial on its acceptance and versatility.

Robot dogs patrol construction site
A Montreal construction site is using two roving robot dogs for safety and monitoring—apparently the first time in the world that such robots are used daily on an active work site.

Few opt for first-time buyer incentive
Less than 3,000 applicants were approved last year for the federal First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) which began September 2, 2019. But the program is not the “flop” that some critics claim, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

Land swapped for low-cost seniors’ housing
In a unique agreement, Vancouver developer Intracorp has partnered with a non-profit group to deliver affordable senior housing and develop market townhouses.

Daniels Corp. building Canada’s biggest project
Daniels Corp. has been awarded the contract for what is being hailed as the largest mixed-use development in Canada—a 130-acre project surrounding the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga that will eventually include 18,000 residential units.

New appliances for condo spaces
A sink that washes dishes and range with an onboard air fryer are among the hot new appliances designed for condo living, but could also be incorporated into secondary suites during renovations.

Edmonton realtors brace for slow year
Edmonton housing sales will not be much better in 2020 than a year earlier, even as housing prices decline and housing starts increase, according to the Realtors Association of Edmonton (RAE).

Mortgage stress linked to rental crisis
Evidence is mounting that the federal government mortgage stress test may have led to the current rental crisis in Canada, which has seen rental vacancy rates fall to 2.2 percent—their lowest level in 18 years—and rental costs rise for the third year in a row.

Mortgage delinquency rate rising
Apparently slightly more Canadian homeowners are slipping behind in their mortgage obligations, perhaps a reflection of the higher consumer debt load.

Townhouses becoming rare in Vancouver
Despite high buyer demand and a record-setting home construction pace, new townhouses are becoming rare in the city of Vancouver.

Jeld-Wen opens new tri-pane window
Jeld-Wen Window and Doors will use the Western Retail Lumber Association (WRLA) 2020 Buying Show taking place in Calgary from January 22-24 to introduce its new line of windows, the Northern Tri-Pane Collection.

AI could help condo buyers
A Vancouver tech company says it has come up with an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that can help condo buyers and their real estate agents sift through years of condominium and strata corporation documents.

5,400 more construction jobs—more growth predicted
Canada’s construction industry added 5,400 jobs from October to November of 2019— but this may pale in comparison to potential job creation in 2020.

First-time buyers face challenging year
It will be difficult for first-time buyers to share in the expected housing recovery in 2020, according to Canada Mortgage News.

GTA housing demand will eclipse supply
Re/Max is bullish on the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) heading into 2020, forecasting a 6 per cent increase in average composite house prices from the $766,236 level of 2019.

Steady sales, rising prices seen for 2020
The Canadian housing market will gain strength in 2020 and homebuyers will continue to see rising prices right into 2021, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).




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