The home building, land development and professional renovation industry builds cities and produces jobs.
We are the industry that designs, develops, constructs and renovates the buildings and communities where people live, work, play and shop, and in so doing, are one of the largest employers in the region, providing jobs for thousands of GTA residents every year.
In 2016, our industry was responsible for 173,719 on-site and off-site jobs in new home construction, renovation and repair, according to estimates prepared for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association based on Statistics Canada and CMHC data.
While last year’s job numbers were down almost 23,000 from 2015 numbers, they were still well above the 155,300 on-site and off-site jobs of 2014.
In 2016, the renovation and repair side of the industry accounted for nearly as many jobs as the new home construction component. About 85,876 people in the GTA worked in jobs in residential renovation and repair, while 87,843 were in on-site and off-site jobs in new home building.
The number of jobs in the new homes construction area of the industry is directly influenced by new housing starts, the number of units of new homes on which construction begun. In 2016, there were 40,277 new housing starts in the GTA, compared with 44,092 in 2015. Given our housing supply woes in this region and the challenges the industry faces bringing product to market, it is not surprising that starts were down last year.
Nearly half, 19,617, of last year’s new housing starts were in the city of Toronto, and Toronto was one of the few areas of the GTA were starts were up from 2015. In York Region there were 8,926 starts last year, down from 9,775 in 2015. Meanwhile in Peel Region, construction began on 5,362 new housing units last year, significantly fewer than in 2015 when ground was broken on 8,100 new homes.
Again, none of this is surprising given that the industry is building to the Province’s intensification policies and we are selling and building significantly fewer low-rise homes and far more mid-rise and high-rise homes than we did a decade ago.
The building of new homes and communities is a multi-faceted process involving the hard work of hundreds of industry professionals. It is estimated that every construction crane represents up to 500 jobs.
The process of developing homes and communities begins long before the shovels reach the ground and requires the expertise of a wide range of professionals. Urban planners, architects, engineers, financiers, and lawyers are just some of the many experts needed to bring development projects to life. While designers, marketers, brokers, and salespeople are a few of those needed to bring new homes to the market. Then there are the numerous skilled tradespeople such as carpenters, masons, drywallers, and electricians that work constructing new homes and communities.
Our industry is a major employer and key driver of our economy. Last year in the GTA, the many professionals involved in new home construction earned about $5.2 billion in paid wages, while the numerous professionals working in residential renovation and repair earned $5 billion in wages. In total the industry paid $10.2 billion in wages, and those wages were used to purchase such things as groceries, clothes and cars, and thereby support growth in other industries and contribute to the economic prosperity of our region.