The Greater Golden Horseshoe is one of the hottest housing markets in Ontario, if not all of Canada. But limited supply, rising prices and other issues are posing some challenging questions for homebuyers. For answers, we enlisted the help of Paul Golini Jr, executive vice-president, Industry Relations, at Empire Communities.
NextHome: For Empire Communities, 2017 was a year of…
Paul Golini: Launches – with several new lowrise communities. From Wyndfield in Brantford and Lush in Stoney Creek, to Avalon in Caledonia and Imagine in Niagara, plus Legacy in Thorold, it was an action-packed year.
NH: And 2018 will be highlighted by…
PG: Our resurgence in the highrise market. It’s been a few years since Empire launched a new condo project, and we’ll be coming to market with two exciting developments that will take their place in Toronto’s skyline: Phoenix in South Etobicoke and Maverick on King Street West.
NH: What differentiates your company from others?
PG: We take a holistic approach to planning communities. Our condos and lowrise developments feature amenities that are strategically planned to enrich the lives of our residents. Avalon in Caledonia, for example, was planned with amenities that allow residents to take advantage of the natural surrounding features – including a unique linear park, a proposed on-site school and a multi-purpose sports field.
NH: What is Empire doing to address housing affordability?
PG: Looking for development opportunities outside the GTA. We started building in places such as Brantford more than 15 years ago, when it was a lesser-known community. This allows us to bring homes to market at reasonable prices. In Toronto, we are responding to the City’s plans for highrise density with two new condo developments that will bring more much-needed residential to the market.
NH: What can buyers look forward to most in one of your homes?
PG: Smart design and quality. We create floorplans and homes that cater to how people live, with finishes that reflect their style. One of our best selling floorplans features a unique loft-floor landing between the main level and the bedroom. People love it because it’s such a usable space for family.
NH: If asked by the next provincial government for advice on land supply and other policy issues, what would you tell them?
PG: That a single course of action to address the housing supply issue and rising prices is not enough; we need to tackle this from many different angles. However, one glaring issue is development timelines of new projects. Due diligence, revisions and community consultations are all necessary parts of the approval system. But when new homes and condos take five to 10 years to be approved, it’s time to acknowledge there’s an issue. Inventory is being left “in the process” for years and isn’t being delivered to market. As a result, the supply issue continues to worsen.
The province, municipalities and developers need to work together to tackle housing and infrastructure issues. We have to make use of public-private partnerships to find ways that benefit homeowners, renters and the economy.
NH: What would your advice for homebuyers be?
PG: Don’t get discouraged. The noise surrounding the housing market can be overwhelming and confusing. If homeownership is your dream, meet with your financial advisor to see how you can make it happen.