Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Mobile Storm Is Coming

Home Builder Magazine released its annual "Industry Leaders Speak" edition (Vol.24 No.6) this week, and featured was Conasys CEO & President James Christensen.

Here is the article:

"We can all agree, the Internet changed how we do things and email changed how we communicate. Today, we have our corporate websites polished up and our smart phones feeding us emails wherever we go. Now, we need to get ready for mobile devices to change what we thought we had figured out.

At first, email replaced mail and that was great, but when email started to reach our cell phones, it created a communication revolution. Mail became instant; you could get it and read it anywhere. Companies figured this out and now marketing, sales offers and news can be sent out with immediate results. More recently, social media tools have made this communications even more focused.

A subtle but significant change is now upon us; Mobile Internet access. The handheld revolution we have seen to date has been about users receiving information anywhere. We are headed for users looking up information anywhere they want as tablets and smart phones take over the marketplace.

So be prepared to bring real time information to your customers and prospects. After all, they can now look up the competition's information or product details while they are in your showroom. Make sure your sales team has the right information or, better yet, has the same mobile tools in their hands. In 2012, it's time to get mobile ready."

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Canada's Housing Market to Stabalize: CMHC

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Q4 Housing Market Outlook Report is suggesting that 2012 will see a stabilized and balanced real estate market in Canada. The report focuses on 7 key factors that influence real estate and provides an outlook over the next 12 months. The key factors are:
  • Mortgage Rates: Short term and variable mortgage rates are expected to remain at historically low levels. The report assumes they will stay flat until late 2012, which will support housing demand.
  • Employment: In the past 12 months, employment has grown by 1.7% (+294,200). Full-time employment rose by 2.5%, while part-time work declined 1.5%. This overall increase and change to full-time positions will support housing demand.
  • Income: Growth in income improved in 2010 because of the economic recovery and the resulting improvement in the labour market. Income will continue to grow at a slower pace in 2011 and 2012, which will provide moderate support to housing demand.
  • Net Migration: The Canadian economy will continue to attract immigrants from struggling economies (net international migration) which will continue to push net migration up in 2012. This will support housing demand.
  • Resale Market:Market conditions in 2011 and 2012 are expected to be in the balanced market territory.
  • Vacancy Rates:Vacancy rates will remain relatively stable in 2011 and 2012. Modest rental construction and strong rental demand from immigration will be offset by increased competition from the condo market.
  • Natural Population: A low Canadian birthrate (births minus deaths) will lessen the demand for additional housing stock in the medium and long term. This is the only factor currently thought to have a negative affect on housing demand.

With any outlook there are assumptions made based on current market conditions which could impact the accuracy of the report. The US economic recovery is generally seen as the largest risk, as both a faster & slow recovery than expected could skew the results. Other factors are the assumptions made in the projected mortgage rates, GDP, Employment, Income and Migration levels.

All in all the Canadian real estate market appears to be relatively healthy and projected to stay that way for the next 12 months.

Monday, 28 November 2011

VANDYK Group Setting a New Customer Care Standard in the GTA

The Vandyk Group of Companies and Conasys are pleased to announce that all new homes built by Vandyk will be receiving Home Information Packages (HIP).

Delivered through a web-based portal, a HIP provides homeowners with operation, maintenance and warranty documentation for the products installed in their home. Automated email reminders when scheduled maintenance is due gives homeowners peace of mind knowing they will know exactly when and how maintenance must be done to maximize both their new home and manufacturer's extended warranties.

"The Conasys manual is the perfect tool to help us stand above the "pack" and a great extension to our "Red Carpet" treatment," shares Ron McMillan, Vice President of Residential Construction for Vandyk.

Watch the video for an overview of what Home Information Packages provide to new homeowners:

International Green Construction Code (IGCC) Established

After more than 2 years of development, The International Green Construction Code (IGCC) is now finalized and will be released in Spring, 2012.

The IGCC is not a rating system, but an enforceable code which will require minimum mandatory requirements based on the following areas of construction:
  • Energy Use Conservation/Efficiency
  • Water Use Conservation/Efficiency
  • Indoor Environment Quality
  • Materials & Resource Conservation
  • Jurisdictional Requirements
  • Project Electives - Designers Choice
  • Existing Buildings & Sites
  • Commissioning, Operation & Maintenance

By setting a "floor" through enforcing mandatory minimums, the hope is that it will create an opportunity for optional certification programs such as LEED to push the "ceiling" higher and reward buildings that reach greater levels of performance.

The IGCC is the first significant step toward creating universal green construction standards, but still requires local governments to voluntarily adopt the code. It will be interesting to see how the program is adopted throughout 2012.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Real-Estate Round Up - November 24, 2011

Bank of Canada holds key interest rate at 1%

In a move that surprised no one, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney announced it will be keeping its interest rate at 1%, likely for the foreseeable future.

It wasn't all that long ago when Carney was hinting at possible rate hikes which likely would have already been implemented, but the US recovery stalled and the Euro Debt Crisis worsened. Carney called that situation "barely contained."

2011 GTA Condo Sales Break Previous Record

The Building Industry & Land Development Association (BILD) announced that the 23,747 condo sales in the GTA through the first 10 months of 2011 has broken the previous record high of 22,316 in 2007. Quite the feet considering there is still 2 months of sales to go.

High-rise sales have accounted for 61% of the sales, compared to 57% to this time last year. Joe Vaccaro, Acting President of BILD commented, "Ten years ago the split was 25% high-rise vs. 75% low0rise."

It would appear Toronto is "growing up."

NDP Leader Slams Liberals for Not Clarifying HST Transition

Adrian Dix is slamming the BC government for not transitioning back to the PST system immediately, or at very least clarifying the rules on the transition back to the old taxing system.

Dix wasn't the only one, as NDP Housing Critic Shane Simpson added "The Urban Development Institute, the Canadian Home Builders Association and the BC Real Estate Association have all said it's hurting their industries. The industry is looking for certainty and clear rules on the transition back to the PST."

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon admitted that the transition back is more difficult than he anticipated. "The PST is a stupid, inefficient tax. The issues associated with it are much more complex than I honestly could have ever imagined."

It doesn't appear as if there will be an answer for the situation anytime soon.

Conasys Parties for Humanity!

On Friday, November 18, Conasys team members attended the BILD GTA Party for Humanity. The event raised over $25,000 for Habitat for Humanity - Toronto. Everyone had a great time supporting a great cause. Watch the video below, or view the pictures on the BILD Facebook Page.

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