New home sales slump continues in January

    TORONTO, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - With just 599 new homes and condominiums sold
across the Greater Toronto Area in January, 2009, the sharp downward trend
exhibited during the last quarter of 2008 has continued into the New Year.
    New home sales were down 69 per cent in January compared with the same
month the previous year. A review of the records reveals that January sales
have only been less than 599 units once (in 1992 - 513 units) since the
database was established in 1981.
    "The very slow start to the New Year did not come as a surprise given the
obvious trend-line and the macro-economic forces at play," said BILD President
and CEO Stephen Dupuis, "but that doesn't mean we're not concerned about it.
    "During January, buyers had yet to see the U.S. and Canadian responses to
the global economic crisis. The spring housing market will be unfolding in the
context of the new Obama administration in the U.S. and the massive fiscal
stimulus packages unleashed on either side of the border and time will tell
how homebuyers respond to these developments," Dupuis added.
    Mr. Dupuis expressed cautious optimism that the federal stimulus package
combined with further enticements expected in the pending provincial budget
together with the boost from 50-year low interest rates will have a positive
impact on the market so long as the measures are not undermined by
contradictory government policies that would increase the cost of doing
    Dupuis cited the provincial government's recent imposition of mandatory
WSIB coverage as an example of an ill-timed initiative and warned that
harmonization of the GST and PST would devastate the already moribund housing
sector. "There's no point in putting the gas pedal to the metal from a
stimulus standpoint while braking equally hard with the other foot, but that's
what harmonization amounts to," he said.
    As an example of a more enlightened approach, Dupuis complimented Toronto
Mayor David Miller and City Council on their decision to hold off any
development charges increases for two years or more depending on the health of
the industry. "The truth is that we need rollbacks in development charges, but
the City of Toronto nevertheless deserves credit for deferring the increases
to protect and promote jobs and investment in the City," Dupuis concluded.

    January       Low  Rise              High Rise               Total
    Region   2008  2009  % Change  2008  2009  % Change  2008  2009  % Change
    Durham    181   117    -35.4%    13     2    -84.6%   194   119    -38.7%
    Halton    283    69    -75.6%     2     6    200.0%   285    75    -73.7%
    Peel      219    84    -61.6%    82    15    -81.7%   301    99    -67.1%
    Toronto    69    21    -69.6%   508   184    -63.8%   577   205    -64.5%
    York      455    90    -80.2%   109    11    -89.9%   564   101    -82.1%
    GTA     1,207   381    -68.4%   714   218    -69.5% 1,921   599    -68.8%
    Source: RealNet Canada Inc.

    With more than 1,400 members, BILD, formed through the merger of the
Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association and Urban Development
Institute/Ontario is the voice of the land development, home building and
professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area. BILD is proudly
affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders' Associations.

For further information:

For further information: Cynthia Malagerio, Manager of Communications,
(416) 391-3450 or (416) 951-4081,; Stephen Dupuis,
Chief Executive Officer, (416) 391-3453 or (416) 948-8654,

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