Expert Panel Dave De Sylva - President Howland Green

We went to the experts – executives at some of the top builders and developers in the GTA – to help answer what we think are some important insights that buyers would want to know. From his point of view:

Dave De Sylva, President
Howland Green ltd.

My key advice to homebuyers searching for a new community and home is:

To look for sustainable features that will help you financially on a long-term basis. This will include ways of reducing energy costs through building design and construction as well as monitoring your consumption in a way that allows for possible further reduction. In addition to this, it is important to consider your location. This helps the average person minimize the time and cost of trips by combining stops during the day as well as advantages of transit-oriented activities.

The major benefit of purchasing a pre-construction home or condo over a resale dwelling is:

In all probability, the price of a pre-construction home will be less than the market will pay when the home is built. Usually, pre-construction pricing is geared to creating sales so that construction can begin. After completion, the real market takes over and typically the price of the home is higher, thereby creating a profit for those who took the risk of purchasing before construction.

Our top priorities when designing a new community are:

Efficiency in building design and energy. This includes how the entire home functions in terms of operational energy demands as well as water conservation and general maintenance. Taking the time to understand how the building functions during the design stage creates long-term benefits for the future owner by saving time and money. At Howland Green we don’t just build homes, our mission is to build “Positive Energy Developments”. These are zero-energy homes, buildings and communities that are so efficient they produce more energy than they consume. Hence our corporate tagline “Beyond Net Zero”.

As a builder of new communities in the GTA, we are most proud of:

Setting a standard for real measurable sustainability. To promise an outcome is the initial effort, but to be able to deliver and prove through ongoing measurement that the goal has been reached is just as important. One must measure in order to manage. Partnered with this is the ability to provide product that the average person can afford. By setting the price points consistent with others, the public does not have to fear that there are any premiums for sustainable design and construction. The home must also be “attainable” to be “sustainable”.

We give back to the community by:

Honouring the challenge of building in a way that benefits the world at large. By working to reduce the global carbon footprint rather than increasing it, we set a standard for others in a way that is educative and demonstrative. Apart from the physical benefit of decarbonizing our process, the public becomes aware of the importance that this goal has in every walk of life with a real example of achievement. At Howland Green, we have an ongoing partnership with like-minded organizations like Forests Ontario.

At our current project, Milton’s Bronte West, we are planting a minimum of 100,000 trees on behalf of the development. That works out to 757 trees per suite, and each resident will receive a title certificate and a thank-you for choosing Howland Green. It is our way of doing more than our part!

We can help alleviate the housing crisis in the GTA by:

Lobbying the process to make the ability to produce housing much easier. The faster the process, the more product will be out there and no shortages will mean that the prices will not be driven up out of reach. Housing is no different than any other product. Fundamental economics hold that the more a supply is restricted, the greater the demand and therefor the price. In places where the demand is not high, it shows that the price is not high either. Affordability only happens when the average person can purchase without jeopardizing their ability to survive. By reducing processes and timelines, market forces will dictate the industry instead of shortages.

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