2014 Real Estate In Review: Top 10 Stories (Pt 2)

Let’s pick up where we left off on Friday, and go through the rest of the “Top Ten” real estate stories of 2014.

When you get to the bottom, and you see what I deem to be the #1 real estate story of the year, you’ll probably have that pause, perhaps expecting something sexier and more interesting.  But then you’ll come to your senses, and realize that the way things are in Toronto in 2014, there couldn’t possibly be a bigger story.

And maybe, just maybe, the #1 story of 2014 will end up being the #1 story of 2015 as well.  It could happen, much to the chagrin of some real estate market participants, and to the delight of others…

Wayne'sWorld

5) Mirvish-Gehry Condominium Project

Perhaps I’m putting too much of my own spin on this story, but I think it’s one of the most notable real estate stories of 2014 for one simple reason:

This shows that the city will not say “no” to a developer, and that Toronto is unprepared to deal with the condo boom as it moves forwards.  They were probably never prepared to deal with it from the start…

Poor Jennifer Keesmat.

As Toronto’s Chief Planner, she is doing a job that should probably be split up between about seven or eight people.  It’s a thankless job, although then again, I’m certainly not making it easier…

In my opinion, the condominium project at King & Blue Jays Way that is being spearheaded by Toronto icon David Mirvish, and legendary architect Frank Gehry, is going to be a turning point for our city.

I don’t know exactly which way we will turn, but my fear is that we’ll look back on this in 20 years and possibly say, “That was the first monstrosity that we allowed,” if it so happens that more misplaced 80-storey towers are built in an area where 3-storey buildings currently prevail.

We might look back and say, “Here’s where the city of Toronto showed that condominium developers run the city, and not civil servants.”

Or, maybe we’ll look back and say, “That beautiful, awe-inspiring condominium that we all worship like a church or a temple actually had to go through a re-design, and wasn’t immediately green-lit!  Egad!  Sacrilege!”

I’m thinking it won’t be the latter.

My problems with this project are both the density of the development, and the process by which Mirvish & Gehry obtained approval, which I think shows that the city was never going to say “no.”

As for the first problem – the density, the two neighbourhing condo towers, Festival Tower and Cinema Tower, are only 42 and 43 storeys respectively.  So why would city planners EVER entertain the idea of two 90-storey towers next door?

As for the process over the last two years, it seems as though Mirvish & Gehry were always going to get the green-light, and they were always going to get close to what they wanted.  Sure, they had to “settle” for three towers of 80-storeys instead of two towers of 90-storeys, but was it ever really in doubt?

If you’re really interested in how this project has moved along over the past two years, here are the key articles from the Globe & Mail:

September 29th, 2012 – Frank Gehry To Remake David Mirvish’s King Street In Toronto

October 1st, 2012 – Frank Gehry Responds To Critics Of Design For Toronto Landmark

June 29th, 2013 – David Mirvish Unveils His Art And Pitches His Big Plan For Toronto

October 3rd, 2013 – Mirvish To Plead Case For Gehry Condo To Provincial Board

November 19th, 2013 – Mirvish Gets More Time To Ease Public’s Concern Over King West Condo

December 18th, 2013 – Toronto Councillor Crafting New Deal For Gehry-Mirvish Condo Project

January 15th, 2014 – Advisory Group Seeks Compromise On Gehry Condo Project

May 30th, 2014 – Mirvish Gehry Vision For King Street Is Scaled Down

4) Bidding Wars Don’t Stop, Continue To Make Headlines

I told my colleagues in January, “The first big bidding war of 2014 will be in all the newspapers, and it will be sensational.”

When 325 Perth Avenue hit the market in January of 2014, I said, “This is it.”

You can read the original blog post in its entirety HERE.

Everything about this listing had “bidding war” written all over it, right from the start.  All the stars were aligned.

It was early in the 2014 calendar, and buyers were out in full force, yet there was very little product to look at.

The house was in a pocket where many buyers were looking because they thought it was under-priced, relative to the rest of Toronto.

The house was severely under-listed; a strategy that would eventually pay off.

And to top it all off, the house was exceptionally well renovated, and “magazine worthy.”

Sure enough, this house received thirty-three offers, and sold for $848,625, listed for $639,900.  133% of the list price, and the Toronto Star and Globe & Mail were all over this story!

I wrote in my January blog post, “So hate me if you want, but I don’t think this is any indication that real estate prices are going down this year.”  And in the end, the average price of a Toronto home increased by 8.5% from 2013 to 2014.

This was the first big bidding war of the year, and it merely served to set the table for others just like it.

In Friday’s blog post, I mentioned “that stupid house” that got 72 offers, because it was priced at about HALF of fair market value.  That made huge headlines, but it wasn’t a real indication of where the market was.

What was an indication of where the 2014 market was?

How about 1 Fenwick Avenue, which received 21 offers, and sold for $1,725,111, listed at $1,100,000.  This was notable because we’re not used to seeing this kind of action at a price point this high, and since the house was a complete gut (probably needs $500-$700K), it amazed me that 21 people were willing to: a) take on an 8-12 month renovation/build, b) outlay $2.5 Million for the project, c) know that not a single house in Riverdale has EVER sold for anywhere close to the amount of money they’d be shelling out.

Now I do think this project is worthwhile, and I do think that a “finished” house on this spectacular 40-foot lot adjacent to Withrow Park and steps to Danforth, could re-sell in 2015 for $2.5 Million or more.

But I never expected 21 offers.  Not for a project, and that shows you not only how much money buyers out there have, but also how many of them are willing to think outside the box.

3) Centurium Condos

When I first heard this story, my reaction was, “I’m surprised this is the first time it’s ever happened.”

We’ve had an incredible 17-year bull run in the real estate market, and wherever there is money being made, there are usually scammers, con-artists, and people looking to make a bigger, better, easier buck.

Back in August of this year, a pre-construction development project called Centrium Condos made headlines when it was discovered that the developer fled to Korea with all the buyers’ deposits for the project.

I remember thinking, “That’s odd; how did the developer get his hands on the money?  Wasn’t the money in a trust account?”

Yes, it was.

In fact, every deposit is supposed to be held in either a real estate brokerage’s trust account, or a lawyer’s trust account.  If you’re a buyer, and you’re ever involved with a transaction where the seller and/or selling agent cross out the listing brokerage “in trust” on the offer, and insert the seller’s name, this is a major red flag!  The entire point of a trust account is so the seller can’t touch the funds.

There are only three ways, legally speaking, in which a deposit can be released from a trust account:

1) Successful completion of a sale, and subsequent closing.
2) A Mutual Release signed by all parties involved.
3) A Court order.

Those are supposed to be the only three ways in which a deposit can be released from either a lawyer or a real estate brokerage’s trust account, however in the case of Centrium Condos, we discovered a fourth way: the lawyer simply hands the money over.

It’s been four months, and we’re still waiting for a full, logical, truthful explanation, but in today’s society, many people in cases like this are guilty until proven innocent, when tried by the court of public opinion.

The lawyer for the developer at Centrium Condos, a woman named Meerai Cho, handed over $15,000,000 to the developer, who then took the money and fled to Korea.

The money still hasn’t been returned.

When this story broke in August, it made huge headlines, and it shocked every part of the real estate market.  Buyers got nervous, and began to ask more questions.  Brokerages instructed their agents to explain what a trust account is to their clients.  Lawyers got inundated with calls and emails from buyers under contract, who wanted to know what could happen to their own deposits.

And all the while, some experts wondered why it took so long for this to happen.  You’d think on a long enough time horizon, and with all these condos being built in Toronto in the past two decades, somebody else would have stolen money from a trust account.

This story will probably make headlines again in 2015, since the legal proceedings are still ongoing.  Ms. Cho was scheduled to appear in court on October 2nd, but her lawyer appeared for her and the proceedings were adjourned until December 4th.  I can’t find any information on what happened on the 4th, which makes me think this case is being dragged into the New Year.

Other investors in the project whose deposits were not stolen, asked a judge to sign a court order releasing those funds.  In September, $9,000,000 in deposits were released to 180 buyers, irrespective of the $15,000,000 in funds that were stolen.

It’s amazing to think that after the $15 Million went missing, and this story broke, that the project wasn’t immediately terminated, with all funds returned to the other buyers.  Imagine the developer, and the developer’s lawyers, trying to forge ahead?

I don’t believe the $15 Million will ever be recovered, but I can’t wait to see what, if anything, happens to Ms. Cho.

You can read my original blog post, including a summary of 4-years worth of comments about the condo project on an Internet thread, HERE.

2) Mortgage Rates Drop AGAIN

My very first mortgage was a 5-year, fixed rate of 5.69% in 2006.

My father told me at the time, “Rates will never be this low again.  You really need to consider the 10-year rate of 6.79%.”

I may have never owned property before, but I was aware at where interest rates were in the 1980’s.  We’ve all heard our parents’ stories that start with “Back in my day,” and explain what life was like when rates were at 21%.

I took the 5-year rate, and I watched rates drop.

Rates dropped to the mid-4’s, before going back up to 5.99% again in late 2007.

But after that, rates dropped.  And they haven’t stopped since.

When I saw rates drop below 5% in 2008, I thought, “Well this is probably where they’ll stay.”

When I saw rates drop below 4% for the first time, I thought, “Rates will never be this low again.”

In March of 2013, the 5-year, fixed rate dropped to 2.99% in an all-out “rate war” between Canada’s major financial institutions, and I thought the market had gone mad.

Now it should be noted, however, that the 2.99% rates in March of 2013 were “stripped down” mortgages that offered very few “features,” such as pre-payment privileges, portability, and acceleration.  But consumers ate these mortgages up, just based on the “2” that happened to flash before their eyes.

Rates increased to as high as 3.59% later on in 2013, but then to many people’s surprise, they AGAIN came down to 2.99% in March of 2014.

You can ready my original blog post HERE.

Even more amazing than the rates going back down to 2.99%, or the fact that these mortgages had many of the features that the 2013 versions did not, is the fact that rates have stayed this low all year!

In fact, the 5-year, fixed rate mortgage hit 2.89% at some points in 2014, and you might have been able to find slightly lower.

Imagine what your parents would have said in 1981 if somebody told them, “When your kids are buying houses, rates will be about 1/10th of what they are now.”

I think back to my dad telling me about my 5.69% mortgage, “Rates will never be this low again.”  What would he have told me if I’d said, “Actually, they’ll be HALF that in eight years”?

So as we move into 2015, you have to ask, “Where do rates go from here?”

“Up” is the obvious answer, but people said that when rates hit 4.99%, and 3.99%, and 2.99%.

And if rates do go up, by how much?  25 basis points?  50 basis points?

Many economists feel that an increase in 100 basis points could shake the world’s economy, so are we really going to see rates climb “all the way up” to 3.99% again?

If rates do climb, I don’t think it would have a major impact on Toronto’s real estate market.  Maybe for the entry-level buyers who have more price sensitivity than those buying $900,000 family homes that they’ll be in for a decade, but I don’t see a shake up in the higher price bracket.

Early prediction: the highest 5-year, fixed rate mortgages will only climb to 3.49% in 2015.

1) Prices Increase In 2014

How can this not be the top story of 2014?

I’m sure there were more newsworthy headlines, sexier stories, and certain events that got more notice, but there’s no doubt that the biggest take-away from 2014 is the fact that the market went up, AGAIN.

2014 marks the sixteenth straight year that the average price of a Toronto home has increased.

And just to make your stomach churn with utter disgust, here are the average house prices, every year, since we last saw a decrease:

1995 – $203,028
1996 – $198,150, -2.4%
1997 – $211,307, +6.6%
1998 – $216,815, +2.6%
1999 – $228,372, +5.3%
2000 – $243,255, +6.5%
2001 – $251,508, +3.4%
2002 – $275,321, +9.5%
2003 – $293,067, +6.4%
2004 – $315,231, +7.6%
2005 – $335,907, +6.6%
2006 – $351,941, +4.8%
2007 – $376,236, +6.9%
2008 – $379,347, +0.8%
2009 – $395,460, +4.2%
2010 – $431,276, +9.1%
2011 – $465,014, +7.8%
2012 – $497,130, +6.9%
2013 – $522,963, +5.2%
2014 – $567,198, +8.5%

That’s right folks, another year, another 8.5% increase in the average price of a Toronto home.

I know that makes many of you sick.

But some of you might be smiling as you see this.

Perhaps you bought a house two years ago, after “waiting for prices to drop” for three years, and then you finally took the plunge.  If that’s the case, then you’re happy to see you didn’t “buy at the top” like some of your friends and family suggested, and that your largest investment is up double-digits.

Then again, not every home-owner is going to be pleased by these numbers.

Many of you are looking to make the next move.  Perhaps you’ve been in a semi-detached house for eight years, you’ve had two kids, and you’re looking to move to a 4-bed, detached house in a better area.  But as prices continue to climb, even though your own house is worth more, so too are the houses that you want to buy.

In the eighteen years since the bottom of the market in 1996, the average price of a Toronto home has increased by 186%.

That means house prices have almost TRIPLED in value.

It’s important to note, however, that the average house price was $273,698 at the peak in 1989, and thus the $198,150 price bottom we saw in 1996 represents a 27.6% drop, but even if we use the 1989 house price for a comparison to the 2014 price, the average house price is still up 107% since 1989.

So the question remains: Where do we go from here?

I started to think, around 2012, that prices couldn’t go up anymore.  Since then, prices have increased each and every year, and by close to 20%.

Every year, “experts” predict a market correction, or a middle-of-the-road prediction such as “stagnant growth.”

Will 2015 FINALLY be the year?

I don’t think so.

My prediction: the market increases 4.5%.  Let’s come back to this in 12 months.

Wow, this blog post is obscenely large.

If you read the whole thing, and you’re not my mother, then you get a medal.

Holiday sign-off to follow tomorrow!

23 Comments

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  1. Sisilia says:

    I dont understand why LEMINE is on the list. Thomas Liu and Jessica Wang are shitty people and do not trust them at all, because they will never give the money back to you after you sign the “contract”. NEVER pick up calls, NEVER answer messages, ALWAYS change their address so that the creditors cannot find them. BE AWARE of these two persons!

    1. Rebecca says:

      I don’t understand why Sisilia asks why Lemine is on the list, then go ahead to launch vicious attack against 2 people without any fact. Come on, Lemine is not on the list, and the fact that you even lie in the beginning of your comment has indicated that everything you say here are lies. The same as that Suzzana, making libel personal attacks in this article’s comment section against a business and its people which even all don’t have the most remote relation with this article! This’s an illiterate troll with all the broken English laughable claims. Are you a robot? It’s cyberbullying, harassment and a crime to attack someone without credible fact backing. It’s a crime to spread lies on internet with the purpose to ruin people or business. The blog should remove the comments of Sisilia and Suzzana which have no any relation with the article and contains illicit contents of libel and cyberbullying individuals. It’s so annoying and misleading to have this under this article’s comment section. I read this fact-backing “2014 Real Estate in Review: Top 10 stories” piece with great interest, then these 2 trolling comments misled me to go back to reread the stories to try to figure out how come I didn’t see Lemine on the list, and it turned out the comments by Sisilia and Suzzana are lies, very possibly made up by 1 troll with different monickers. What a waste of my time, and a ruin of this article itself.

  2. Suzzana says:

    Lemine investment group
    Lemine Group/Thomas Liu/ jessica Wang/ Kyle Chan.
    toronto, NT
    BE CAREFUL, DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY.

    Those people has scammed me and many other employees as the have eaten our salaries and commissions also if you do a simple due diligence on them through a solicitor you will discover that they have so many fraud cases against them and they have eaten bank loans with out giving money back Also any brokers deal with them they never give them what they agreed to.

    Company team : 1-Thomas Liu. 2-Jessica Wang. 3-Kyle Chan.
    Company address: 5000 Yonge St #1806, North York, ON M2N, Canada
    Company website: http://www.leminegroup.com/

  3. eastwest says:

    Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, here are few ways you can find out more about your agent before you hire.To know please read more @ http://eastwestdirectory.com/index.php/real-estate/

  4. Ben Burnanke says:

    Notice the relationship between the rise in avg selling prices from 2007 onwards…and the level of interest rates?
    For those who think rates will remain low forever…good luck.
    For those who think their home values will stay constant if rates move up in the next couple of years…good luck.
    For those who think that there is a massive migration of newcomers to the shores of Toronto and they’ll always provide a floor for housing prices….take a look at London, England right now, and see where property prices go over the next year.

  5. Georegyboy says:

    I am 36% sure that Kyle and Appraiser are the same guy

    1. Kyle says:

      You must be new, and i don’t just mean new to the blog. It’s clear from your comment here and the ones you posted on the 12/17 section that you don’t like the message that Appraiser and i are sending, but you can’t come up with any sort of legit counter argument or rebuttal, so instead are focusing on the messenger. These can best be described as the tactics of someone who has lost before they even began. Just sad and lame.

      Also if you’ve followed the comments here for a while, you’d notice a few things. Appraiser and i are not the same person and disagree on certain topics (e.g. TLTT, politics, what drives certain segments of the market, etc). You’d also notice that i do not work in real estate. Kyle is my real name, and i don’t post under other aliases. Your need to convince yourself that all those opposing the bear view are either the same person, or somehow employed in real estate only reflects the depth to which denial and delusion runs in your head. I realize that you are probably dealing with the cognitive dissonance of having told yourself that prices in TO would fall and waiting was wise, when clearly it wasn’t. I realize that’s a hard thing to live with when prices continue to rise year after year. And that you’re having a tough time keeping your head buried in the sand, especially when people like Appraiser and i keep shining reality on the subject with well supported, logical arguments backed up by data and when we point out using facts that the bear case is based on nothing more than hopes, prayers, crossed-fingers and the bitter taste of perennial failure. However the other thing you’d notice if you’ve been following the comments for a while ( and i mean years) is that both Appraiser and i have called it right for years, while there has been a steady stream of bears (who either have been silenced or have changed their commenting handle out of embarrassment), that have posted baseless, unsupported comments, only to have Appraiser, myself, but most of all the market prove them wrong time and again.

  6. Appraiser says:

    Hey @ Mike, when you make a declaration such as sale over $2Million are stagnant in T.O. you should provide some data to back it up instead of empty opinion.

    TREB FACT #1: Freehold sales over $2M are up 29% YTD vs. 2013.

    TREB FACT# 2: Condo sales over $2M are up 18%.

    So much for empty theories.

  7. Kyle says:

    “Every year, “experts” predict a market correction, or a middle-of-the-road prediction such as “stagnant growth.””

    When the same guys come out with the same wrong prediction year after year, can we agree not to call them “experts” anymore and instead use the more appropriate title of “clowns”?

  8. Mike says:

    “the Internet’s not going anywhere right? In fact it’s only going to be getting bigger as it becomes more accessible, You’re going to be able to access the internet from your phone. The tech run as been 8-years strong and show’s no signs of slowing down. Nortel builds the equipment that runs the internet, it’s not a question of if you should own Nortel, it’s a question of how much Nortel can you get into your portfolio.” RBC Dominion Securities, September 2000 as NT was approaching $120

    Nothing in the history of the earth has experienced unfettered growth, everything that goes up must come down. With Canada and its petro-dollar it give strong reason to increase interest rates as the declining dollar will only mean that our debt will be worth more to foreign investors. As such, the GoC will have no choice but to raise rates to stem inflation .

    Anyone who’s been able to afford to get into the market has gotten in (or are in the process) you’ don’t see a lot of people waiting on the sidelines for the rates to increase. Once rates increase buying that $900,000 row house in Riverdale becomes unpalatable and we will see a retraction in the market.

    The new residents to Toronto are not buying homes as the Government got rid of the program that allows people to skip the line for bringing in capital.

    1. Appraiser says:

      @ Mike:

      Analogy is the weakest form of debate, and comparing one individual stock to the housing market is infantile.

      There are 100,000 people arriving in T.O. each year from all over the world, including other parts of Canada. Do the math pal.

      And no, all of the buyers haven’t bought yet. There have been over 90,000 transactions this year on TREB. More deals are being added daily. With the listing inventory suffering from chronic weakness, I expect that trend to extend into 2015, with prices continuing to climb.

      Hey bears, another round of crow?

      1. Mike says:

        Then please, show me anything in nature that has ever experienced year-over-year growth? Every spring see’s a fall. Remember that an you will do well.

        You can bring all the people in the world into Toronto, housing prices cannot outstrip inflation, it’s impossible. You have 2% inflation and an 8% increase in overall housing prices.

        So let me break it down for you, the Baker sees an 8% rise in his housing cost but all he can get for his loaf of bread is 2% (not to mention that the cost of energy, wheat and employment has only grown by 2%). Now your argument will be that the Baker owns already so the increase in housing prices don’t effect him as long as he continues to live in his house. But MPAC doesn’t feel the same way. According to every house that’s sold on the street the Baker’s house has increased 8% so his taxes go up 8%.

        So the Baker now faces a question, since he can’t increase the price of a loaf 8% to cover the increase of his cost (yes I know it’s not exact math but everyone the Baker deals with is faced with the same issue so it all adds up) so he now has to cut the additional cost for municipal tax out of his budget. Does this Baker now charge those new people to Toronto 8% more in order to stay within the set laws of economics or do we face a collapse?

        1. Kyle says:

          Sorry Mike, but your understanding of Economics is just patently wrong. So long as demand far outstrips supply, prices can and WILL rise faster than inflation indefinitely. There are a million examples of this happening, think of any luxury good, the price of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Herrmes purses, Rolex watches, etc all have risen faster than inflation. Do you honestly think these companies care what the average Baker makes or how much inflation will be, when they set their MSRPs? But much better examples would be real estate prices in any large major world class city, like London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore…and Toronto. It’s just simple math, if 10k households want to live where there are only 5k residences, then only the top 50% will be able to afford it. If the Baker is in the top 50%, he can afford it too. If the following year an additional10k people want to live there, but there are still only 5k residences, then only the top quartile can afford it and the Baker is SOL. For an extreme example look at Monaco, where the average millionaire is SOL. No where in Economics does it guarantee that something once affordable to a Baker or anyone else for that matter must stay affordable to them forever.

          1. Mike says:

            Nice explaination Kyle but that doesn’t explain why the top end of the Toronto market is stagnant.

            Yo’re not seeing a lot of people who can afford a $700m down payment to afford a $2mm house.

            What Toronto is seeing is artificial demand and an artificial lack of supply. The demand is created by abnormally low interest rates and the threat that they will increase and the supply is choked by people not wanting to sell. You may have bought a house in Parkdale for $100m ten-years ago that’s now worth a million but you’re not going to list your house because it will cost you a million to get anything similar to your house and be subject to LTT. As a result, you don’t see a lot of houses on the market.

            Now you will argue that that artificial supply is driving the market up and a helps your argument but the flaw is that at some point demand will wane which is what I’m saying. You can bring all the people in the world to Toronto but if they can’t afford a house there’s no point. So you offer Monaco as an example. Any idea why people live in Monaco and pay all that money for a house? Right, there’s no tax and its on the sea, thereby making is a draw for high-net worth families. Toronto not so much, house prices get to high, people will move, businesses will move. Housing prices need to match inflation or you get hyper inflation which leads to a bust.

            Oh, and every Miami condo sales rep pointed out that people are always going to want to live in Miami right up until 2007.

          2. Kyle says:

            The top end of Toronto’s market isn’t stagnant at all, in fact if you look at actual stats it’s never been healthier.

            In theory you’re right, you can only move so far into the right tail of the income distribution, so it’s true prices have a theoretical “cap”…..But given that Toronto has the 4th largest population in North America, and the 15th highest millionaire density on the planet and is growing at 100K people per year, we are so far away from that “cap” that it’s utterly laughable. In fact the “cap” is actually getting farther away as the demand has been growing faster than supply for many years now. Toronto averages about $1K/sq ft at the very, very top end. Compare this to averages in New York at $2.1K/sq ft, London at $4.5K/sq ft, Hong Kong at $4.4K/sq ft, Monaco at $5.4/sq ft. Toronto home prices don’t even begin to register when you talk about cities with expensive real estate.

            You can tell yourself those other cities are different for any number of reasons, but what is most relevant is that demand in Toronto outweighs supply by such a ridiculous magnitude (call it artificial if you want, but know that it is structural and permanent), that prices will continue to rise. And making comparisons to tech stocks, tulips or any other mania might make you feel better but at the end of the day is irrelevant and illogical.

          3. Kyle says:

            Also wanted to add, of course people are always going to want to live in Miami, if banks are giving them no money down loans that they don’t actually qualify for and then let them walk away from the property when they aren’t able to make payments. But just to be clear both examples you provided Nortel and Miami condos have a lot more to do with fraud then they do economics, They’re great examples if you’re simply looking for random examples of things that experienced price drops, but neither have any relevance to the Toronto real estate market.

          4. Mike says:

            You’re right, Toronto will experience unfettered growth to infinity. Nothing to learn from any previous bubble because they’re random and don’t apply to this.

            One thing I wonder about though is how do you explain 1989 which seen a massive crash where prices took 11-years to recover. I mean that was back when Toronto wasn’t accepting any immigrants, right?

      2. Kyle says:

        Did i say prices would rise unfettered forever? I simply said they will continue to rise so long as demand outstrips supply. And our current demand and supply situation isn’t going to magically change without something to disrupt it. Sorry if you don’t like the conclusion, but that is how economics actually works. Instead of pointing to random historic price drops caused by fraudulent activity in other completely irrelevant assets, maybe it is more constructive to look at what might disrupt the current supply/demand equilibrium and then consider the probability of those things happening and the magnitude to which they would need to occur in order to shock the supply/demand situation enough to disrupt it. And when you do that, you realize that there is very little on the horizon that poses any likely risk of prices falling. Again, sorry if you don’t like the conclusion, but that is reality.

        If you actually want to learn from history and not be made a fool of by history, you need to look at the facts and determine how likely they are to recur and how relevant they are to today’s context, not just point to something and say, “Look it too was once high and then it fell, see?” In the late 80’s early 90’s inflation was running at about 6%, prime interest rates rose very rapidly from 10.25% in Apr 1988 to 14.75% in Apr 1990, then a global recession hit. If there’s anything to learn form the last one, it is don’t raise rates by 4.5% over two years right before a recession. I think we can all safely say that lesson has been fully absorbed.

        1. Joe Q. says:

          I agree with Mike’s implied point that one cannot argue continual price increases based solely on immigration. But I also agree with Kyle that in broad terms, the imbalance in supply and demand is what is pushing prices up. The major question for me is how the major contributors to demand stack up. In general we have a lot less information about this than we do about the “supply” side of the equation.

          While comparing Toronto unit housing prices to cities like London, NYC, etc. is an interesting exercise, my feeling is (as I have argued before) that unless one looks deeper into the demographics and economics of those cities, such comparisons are not particularly valuable.

        2. ScottyP says:

          Good discussion gentlemen… and right before the holidays at that.

          The TRB rests for no one!

    2. AlexUnder says:

      I know for a fact that some overseas buyers do not even have a resident permit and are buying houses with 35-40% down payment. Rest is mortgage from Canadian bank. So it really does not matter whether they skip the line or not.

  9. donny says:

    I think you are light on the 4.5%. …..I truly believe that one day 10mm people will call Toronto home and that little semi on Perth will seem like a steal……Happy Holidays all….

  10. moonbeam! says:

    Ha-ha! I did read both blog posts, you know me so well! xo

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