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2018 News Index

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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