Expert homebuying advice from Cheryl Shindruk, Executive Vice-President, Geranium

By Wayne Karl
December 12, 2022

Housing supply, rising interest rates, affordability, inflation, the economy, the lingering effects of COVID… there’s a lot on prospective homebuyers’ minds these days, when it comes to things that may impact their purchasing decisions.

To help you understand all the factors to make a better, more informed homebuying decision, our 2022 Builders' Annual sat down with some of the industry’s top builders and developers for expert advice.

Given the various characteristics of today’s housing market, what is your outlook for 2023?

We continue to operate in a context where housing is in short supply. For the past 15-plus years, housing supply has not kept pace with demand. Emerging from more than two years of pandemic with its lockdowns and then the interest rate upticks, some buyers have taken a pause which resulted in a quieter summer market. For example, I know several people who say they are “taking a break from house shopping” to do things that they have not been able to do for the last two years, such as travel. I fully expect these folks will return to the housing market soon because the underlying need is still there. I believe 2023 will see many people come back into the housing market, having adjusted their expectations to the higher interest rates. Demand for homeownership is still there and supply remains tight.

What advice would you offer to buyers?

Be persistent but patient. The Greater Toronto Area housing market has a wide array of housing styles to suit a variety of purchasers. However, some home styles are in shorter supply – such as single-detached homes – depending upon location. It may be necessary to consider a townhome or semi-detached home to buy a suitable home in your price range and preferred neighbourhood.

Like many industries, construction continues to contend with labour and material shortages and longer delivery times which impacts timelines. When you purchase a new home, be aware of this and prepare to adjust to circumstances as they arise. I know that our construction team at Geranium does everything possible to keep to scheduled timelines, but there is a great deal that is beyond their control and, as we’ve seen in past years, has proven unpredictable.

How is your company addressing the affordability issue?

When designing our communities, we aim to provide a range of pricing, home styles and sizes such as including small, detached homes, two- and three-storey townhomes, flats and stacked townhomes. All very livable for families while offering a more affordable lowrise ground-related home.
Geranium works with the municipality concerned to review and align expectations around density in a community, so that a mix of housing types can be built thereby meeting a range of affordability needs.

What is it about your company that you would like prospective buyers to understand as they go through the homebuying process?

Geranium builds beautiful, timeless homes that appeal to contemporary tastes. We also commit to include features that add to the environmental sustainability of the home and result in a high-quality living environment for the future residents. These are features you cannot necessarily see as they are “behind the walls.” Many are standard features that go above building code requirements and that add to the efficiency, comfort and livability of the home. For example, providing a rough-in for a future grey water recycling system, Energy Star-qualified windows, sprayed-in-place foam insulation in areas traditionally difficult to heat and cool, and programmable thermostats, to name a few.

We also take the time to show our owners-in-waiting and prospective buyers how we build. We have recently resumed our Hard Hat Tours, which provide attendees with a guided tour of a home under construction so that they can see for themselves our “behind the walls” practices. Owners also meet future neighbours and our construction team and hear firsthand how their home is being built.

About Wayne Karl

Wayne Karl is an award-winning writer and editor with experience in real estate and business. Wayne explores the basics – such as economic fundamentals – you need to examine when buying property.

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