National conference provides valuable insight
IRECENTLY attended the national business meetings and conference of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. Each session provided enough material to fill numerous columns; however, I thought I’d share a few nuggets of information gleaned from the meetings.
Michael Collins-Williams of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association presented two interesting papers. The first was on offsetting inclusionary zoning with density bonuses, reductions in development charges, changes in parkland dedications, changes in parking allowances, tax exemptions and elimination of land-transfer taxes. He warned of screening problems in Toronto regarding those who can own versus those who can rent, questioned rules regarding resale and the role of condo governance and fees.
His second paper was on transit-oriented development opportunities. This will be the subject of an entire column at a later date, but he outlined the perils of stations that seemed to be politically established and then were being utilized at ridership levels below subway service, light rapid-transit service, bus service or, for that matter, any form of transit service.
There was also an interesting presentation by Charan Sethi of Tien Sher Homes in Surrey, B.C. They are developing micro-condos, some under 600 square feet, in order to allow people to become homeowners in an extremely expensive market.
About a dozen new home builders in Manitoba participated in the Local Energy Efficiency Project hosted by NRCan and Manitoba Hydro a couple of years ago. Many new energy saving options were presented and adopted into Manitoba new homes as a result of this workshop. A motion was put forward nationally to introduce a similar concept for renovators. Expect MHBA RenoMark renovators to be one of the first in Canada to step up to the plate and take part.
Peter Norm of the Altus Group shared some interesting financial information. He stated Canada’s debt service ratio has been dropping every year since 2009 and that our rate of saving has continued to grow over the past 10 years.
Throughout Canada, 40 per cent more is spent on renovations than on new homes. In fact, more is spent on renovations than commercial, industrial and institutional construction. Renovation spending exceeds $70 billion a year in Canada. He shared that every existing home sale generates an average of $10,000 worth of renovation activity. Of course, none of this is news to residents of Winnipeg and Manitoba — the renovation capitals of Canada. Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association
This artist rendering of an affordable 300-square-foot condo in San Francisco may soon become reality here in Canada.