Toronto Life Event: “Toronto Tomorrow”

Perhaps I’m guilty of mailing-in my Wednesday blog post, but I’m sorry folks, there just aren’t enough hours in this day…

So let me give you something to chew on, and while this isn’t meant to be a self-promotional plug (ironic, since this entire blog is technically one), I will say that I’m scheduled to speak at Wednesday night’s Toronto Life event called, “Toronto Tomorrow: Real Estate, How We Live, And The Ever-Changing City.”

You’re all invited!


Seven minutes.

I get seven minutes up on stage to try to deliver meaningful words to a ticket-buying audience.

Seven minutes.

Seven minutes?

What can you do in seven minutes?

And yes, I’m aware of the obvious joke out there, for those of you with gutter-minds.

“Not pleasure my wife,” may have been in the first draft of my humourous and thought-provoking speech, but I thought better of it.

Anyways.  Silly seven minutes…

For a guy that routinely turns a two-minute conversation into a 2,000 word blog post, delivering a speech in seven minutes is next to impossible.

Oh, and I get to go first, with four other speakers to follow.

Toronto Life is putting on a real estate event on Wednesday night, with the aforementioned title: “Toronto Tomorrow: Real Estate, How We Live, And The Ever-Changing City.”

I was asked to be a part of the panel, and upon seeing who else they have lined up, I’m somewhat humbled:

Sam Mizrahi – Developer, Mizrahi Developments

Alexandra Dagg – Public Policty Director, AirBnB Canada

Guela Solow-Ruda – Architect, Ark Inc.

Richard Sommer – Dean of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto.

I’m not big on social functions.

In fact, this is the last place you might ever expect to see me, with the first place being “on my couch,” and perhaps “with pizza and Crown Royal.”

But what the heck, sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.  I think.

So what am I going to talk about?  Before a condo developer, a lobbyist for AirBnB, and the dean?

Well, with my seven minutes, I have to get a point across.

And, I essentially have to summarize 11 years of blogging!

What can I tell people that will give them something to take away from the event?

Look beyond the headlines.
Dig deeper into the numbers.
Don’t believe the hype.

The best advice I can offer somebody who is interested in Toronto real estate, but wants whatever ‘truth’ is possible to attain, would boil down to those three taglines, all of which will make my presentation, in lieu of coming up with one.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’m working this into the mix on Wednesday night:


That’s right.

If you think I’d speak at a Toronto Life function, and not call them out on their 8-year-old prediction about a market bubble, that cost people a 91% appreciation on the average home price in Toronto, then you really don’t know me.

But seriously.  It’s in there.  Don’t doubt it for a second.

I’ll be back on Friday with new material.  For now, feel free to debate how much that home, pictured above, would sell for today…


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  1. RealGeorge says:

    I love LeBron so I think I’ll move to Cleveland (just kidding). Actually, I love Steph nearly as much, so perhaps I’ll move to Oakland (just kidding). Come to think of it, The Beard is equally awesome, so maybe I’m on my way to Houston (Not!).

    Geez, what’s a hoops fan to do?

  2. lui says:

    When people are paying 50% of their take home income on rent or mortgages you know Canada is on the edge of major correction if interest rates goes up and the economy slows down.

  3. Kyle says:

    The World Classness that people often ascribe to NY, Paris and London, is a completely different concept from what makes a City desriable to live in. Arguments about how NY or London has better sports teams, more stunning architecture or older culture show only a Fodors/Lonely Planet-level of understanding.

    Vancouver and Toronto consistently ranks in the Top 5 year after year in livability rankings. NY, Paris London don’t even crack top 10.

    1. Chris says:

      The Economist’s annual liveability survey “considers 30 factors related to safety, health care, educational resources, infrastructure and the environment.”

      The MMF Global Power City Index considers liveability, economy, R&D, environment, cultural interaction, and accessibility.

      They’re different metrics.

      It all depends what someone truly means when they say “world-class”. Do they mean a world-class place to raise a family? A world-class financial hub? A world-class place to start a business? A world-class place to receive open heart surgery?

      It’s yet one more problem with ascribing the label of “world-class”. World-class in what way?

      1. Batalha says:

        Oh, that all posters were so nuanced as our friends Kyle and Chris! (And just to be clear, I am NOT being sarcastic here.)

        P.S. If we’re talking sports, how about Madrid or Manchester (for all you world football fans out there)?

        1. Chris says:

          Zidane just retired unexpectedly. Madrid is on it’s way down!

          1. Batalha says:

            Leaves the path clear for Pep next year!

          2. Chris says:

            Pep?? Come now. Wenger IN!

          3. Batalha says:

            I meant Pep’s path to a Champions League title next year with Man City. As for Real, I’d love to see either Wenger or Antonio Conte (my brother supports Arsenal whereas I prefer Chelsea) take the reins there. I’m betting on Arsene.

          4. Chris says:

            Ahh my mistake, I thought you meant Guardiola to take the reins at Real. Even sans Zizou, I think they’ll remain a force to be reckoned with in the UCL. But, you never know, Man City certainly aren’t anything to scoff at.

          5. Batalha says:

            But how in the world did Real only finish third in La Liga, not to mention coming up second-best in their own city?

            Note to the majority of readers of this blog: I’m (probably) finished talking about (what you call) soccer.

  4. Ralph Cramdown says:

    Notes on suburban NYC housing:

    Disappointed that the bulls couldn’t mount a better counterattack. Here’s some points:
    – compared to Toronto, property tax rates in many US cities range from “wow” to “areyoufreakingkiddingme?”
    – The upside of a 30 year fixed mortgage is no interest rate risk. The downside is that US 30 year rates are about 4.5% right now, so the difference in “howmuchamonth” between there and here is a bit more than the sticker prices would suggest…

    N.B. Until the recent US “Tax cut” legislation, property tax was deductible from Federal income tax, but not any more. NJ and IL have huge unfunded public sector liabilities, Ontario has huge public and public guaranteed debt. Choose your poison, guess how it’ll turn out…

    But still, I encourage people to spend time on Zillow and Trulia to see just how much house you can get in various nice US cities for the price of a brick two storey in [ahem] Vaughan – Oakwood.

    Yeah, Toronto Life said bubble in 2010, and average prices have gone up. But I wouldn’t pay 2010’s price of $1.05 million TODAY to live in the cover picture’s house at Oakwood & St. Clair with my family. I think there’s two kinds of million dollars. The kind spent by people who have accumulated that sum over a period of years or decades, and the kind spent by people who’ve been approved to borrow it by a bank, based on few assets but a reliable paycheque. I know they spend the same in the economy, but…

    1. Kyle says:

      This begs the obvious question. Why haven’t you moved there then?

      In all seriousness, forget about imaginary house shopping between vs As i’ve said before it is a completely stupid exercise. Anyone can come up with irrelevant fictional pairs and then make up reasons for why one as good and the other is bad. That doesn’t take brains, that just takes bias.

      Instead stop and truly think about where you want to live, work and play? Where do you want to raise your family? These are what matter.

      Like probably many others on this board, I can easily find work in any of those World Class cities. But why are we still here? IMO, unless you’re a billionaire when it comes to live, work and play, none of them hold a candle to Toronto.

      1. Housing Bear says:

        Long term, Toronto is one of the absolute best places to be (in my opinion). Healthcare education, immune from a lot of the environmental challenges that will begin to really impact humanity. I could see a huge migration of people based around the equator, or in coastal locations wanting to come here. Unfortunately that is still a ways a way, and we have at least one nasty credit cycle to go through first.

  5. Whaaa? says:

    @Housing bear

    NYC is a toughie for me. I like it a lot (having only visited it a handful of times) but for me, the major European cities simply provide much more of what I look for (in a vacation destination, admittedly). London and Paris are my #1 and #2 (in that order) but after that I can’t really say (Rome, Vienna, Madrid and Barcelona are all in the running, as I expect a few I haven’t visited to be: Amsterdam, Dublin, Prague,…) . All of which is not to say that NYC isn’t more or less everyone’s de facto #3 (in no particular order).

    1. Housing Bear says:

      Personally I think NY is a dump. Garbage everywhere, traffic even worse than here, and shady characters whereever you go. That being said, it is a cultural hub for the western world, financial hub for the globe, and you can make way more money for doing the same job as up here. Not that you claimed this, but anytime I hear people try to say Toronto is the next manhattan or New York (to justify our prices) I laugh.

  6. Housing bear says:

    Canada’s economy;

    Don’t believe the headlines
    Dig deeper into the numbers
    Don’t believe the hype

    1. Housing bear says:

      David do you mind if I put that on a shirt?

    2. Ralph Cramdown says:

      “Don’t Believe the Hype”?

      Man, when that was getting airplay, Toronto was finishing up a great big housing boom, and heading into a provincial election which the NDP would end up winning, at the start of a nasty recession and housing bust. Not that correlation equals causation, or that history will repeat… Just sayin’

      1. Housing Bear says:

        While I disagree fundamentally with the NDP on quite a few of their positions (centered- bend slighty to the right), I almost feel bad for them. Getting your first kick at the can in 1990 was the worst possible time to take the Ontario helm in the last 30 years. Any government would have taken a beating, worst possible timing for their type of platform too. Anyway, they took all the blame (which was unfair) and the boomers have not supported them on mass since.

        Anyway, assuming they win, have a feeling they are going to take the fall for the mess we are in today (which will be unfair), they will make it worse (the last thing we need is to scare more business away from ontario right now). I wonder how the millenials will feel about politics 5 years from now.

  7. ed says:

    What kind of a speaking line up is that?
    “Toronto Tomorrow: Real Estate, How We Live, And The Ever-Changing City.” ????

    Sounds like a snooze fest.
    No A-Rod?
    No Stallone?
    Is there going to be dancing. Ya know jumping up and down dancing, probably not.

  8. paul says:

    great cover hahah looking forward to the update

  9. Patrick says:

    $2.2mil now.

  10. J says:

    For those that want more than just the headline on the cover, I believe this is the cover story from the July 2010 issue of Toronto Life (or at least one article that was featured in the issue):

  11. Ralph Cramdown says:

    Closest comp is an unrenovated near mirror image design (no bay windows) on a 30′ lot with parking, on Oakwood that sold back in December for $870k. Hey, if the magazine house was all done up, on a side street or both, it could be worth a bit more. All that AND south of St. Clair and close enough that the agent can say Christie instead of Oakwood, maybe $1.65. But if you think that gem is a $2m house (= 1.05 * 91% appreciation) anywhere near Oakwood and St. Clair, even the tow truck driving neighbours will tell you to stop huffing the glue.

    1. SmallLandlord says:

      It would help if you read the post. He’s talking about the claim of a bubble in 2010 by the magazine, vs the reality that the average house price went from ~$450K to $800K since 2010.

      1. jeff316 says:

        The price of a side-street, detached home in Oakwood Vaughan can hit $1 million today and that’s without spectacular renos. Closer to Bathurst you can expect to pay ~$1.2m for detached (liveable) or semi (super renoed).

        That house from Toronto Life is larger than most. If sold today, I think that house would go for $1.5m (if needing a reno) or $1.8m if liveable. (Subtract $0.2m if it is directly on Oakwood south of St Clair, or $0.3 if north of St Clair.) So they’re both in the general range.

  12. Francesca says:

    1 million dollars for a house in 2010 was a lot of money if I’m not mistaken. Especially for that area. It’s central but I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a “desirable” area. I used to work in that area right on St Clair and Oakwood and the TD bank I worked in had a lot of robberies I remember. The school district isn’t the best either and I know that many people with kids keep that in mind when deciding where to buy. . I know the area is probably changing and gentrifying like other Toronto areas with transit close by but I honestly don’t think this house would sell for more than 1.8 in today’s market even counting for recent renovations. The area just don’ts warrant a 2+ million price tag.

    1. jeff316 says:

      The prices in that area don’t match the state of the main drag because of a) house size, b) house type, c) transit, d) availability.

      You want a detached house that’s not a bowling alley where you won’t have to take a bus? You have lots of options in Toronto if you can spend more than $2 million. Oakwood Vaughan still has enough ownership churn to offer you some options below that price.

      There are large detacheds within spitting distance of Rogers Road that have sold for > $1 million. Rogers Road!

      I think it takes a lot of time for main shopping areas to match the demand for houses in the neighbourhood, particularly in a car-driven neihgbourhood like Oakwood Vaughan where pedestrian shopping is not as prevalent. Oakwood Vaughan is becoming much more gentrified than people realize. Even bungalows near the five points are scraping closer to $1m.

      1. Housing bear says:

        Or you could get a 4 bdr house in New York that’s 35 minutes away from time square for about
        450 000 CAD.

        Less than half the price for those that don’t want to gamble on whether or not Toronto is the next New York

        1. Ynos says:

          And why exactly would I want to live in Trumpland?

          1. Chris says:

            Why don’t you ask one of the >325 million who are currently doing exactly that?

          2. Ynos says:

            Chris, re. Trumpland

            Umm, most were born there….

          3. Chris says:

            Being born there doesn’t preclude someone from leaving “Trumpland”.

            Further, “Data from the Census Bureau shows that 42.4 million immigrants (both legal and illegal) now live in the United States.”

            There is no shortage of reasons why millions of people choose to move to and remain in the United States each and every year. Donald Trump may be a deciding factor in your choice not to live there, but you’re obviously not representative of hundreds of millions of others.

          4. Ynos says:

            “Being born there doesn’t preclude someone from leaving ‘Trumpland’”.

            Yes, middle- and upper-class white (mostly) people. And come on, emigrating to another country is much, much tougher for most people than you seem to imply.

          5. Chris says:

            And having Trump as president doesn’t make the United States or New York City as unattractive a place to live as you seem to imply. I certainly wouldn’t have voted for him, but let’s not pretend that in less than two years he has single-handedly eliminated all of the things that have, for decades, made the USA a great country.

        2. jeff316 says:

          Yeah but the $450 daily commute to my job in Toronto negates the savings from the house price.

          1. Housing bear says:

            Well if you are in law tech or finance (the rich people apparently buying everything in Toronto) you could just get a job there that pays twice as much

        3. Whaaa? says:

          Typical “here’s one example that proves my thesis” anecdote.

          1. Housing bear says:

            Haha well if you want to read back a few posts you can see my full thesis. Summary, I think it all comes down to debt and too much of economic activity being tied to RE.

            I just like to throw up that example anytime someone says Toronto is world class like New York to justify prices in areas like York region

          2. Chris says:

            “In the most recent quarter, investment in housing fell 1.9 per cent, the largest decline since the first quarter of 2009, due to a drop in ownership transfer costs as the pace of home sales slowed at the start of the year.”


          3. Whaaa? says:

            @Housing bear

            I do generally agree with your thesis regarding Toronto RE. However I object to your (and others’) bumper-sticker description of anyone who attempts to present a case for Toronto (or any other city not named London, Paris or New York) as one of the more desirable urban locations on the planet as “say[ing] Toronto is world class like New York.”

            Stating a belief that X is “world class” does not mean “top three,” which is simply a straw man argument erected by many commenters on this and other blogs. Larry Bird (for example) was undoubtedly one of the best basketball players of all-time, but that isn’t tantamount to saying he’s MJ or LeBron or Magic or Wilt or Kareem…

          4. Housing Bear says:


            Fair enough. I do think Toronto is a beautiful city and long term will be one of the most desirable places in the entire world to live. If global warming results in water shortages and coastal flooding we are pretty immune to both. Minnesota is “The land of 10 000 lakes” ontario has 300 000. That being said, I believe we are in for some serious pain over the next decade.

            My main point with that last post being that even if we are number 4 or 5, our surrounding area prices are more than double those of #1 or 2# (depending on where you rank NY).

          5. Chris says:

            One of the most recent assessments (2017) ranks Toronto at 19, with NYC at 2.


            Is Toronto desirable? Absolutely. Is it on par with NYC? Absolutely not.

          6. FreeMoney says:

            Interestingly, the Mori Foundation report notes that New York “returned weaker scores this year in Cultural Interaction indicators such as Number of World-Class Cultural Events Held and Livability indicators” whereas #1 London and #3 Tokyo both shone in these areas, particularly in the “Cultural Interaction indicators.” Speculation on what two+ more years of the Trump circus might do, even to an admittedly anti-Trump (note the lusty booing of Giuliani at Yankee Stadium) city?

        4. Kyle says:

          Anything written by Daniel Tencer:

          Don’t believe the headlines – His is just flat out wrong having a lower median home price does not mean real estate is “cheaper”, it means people spent less on real estate. Housing is not widgets, the median price in NY is representative of a teeny tiny studio, while the median price in Toronto represents a nice 2 bedroom or townhouse.

          Dig deeper into the numbers – His three examples aren’t even in NY City, one of them isn’t even in New York State.

          Don’t believe the hype – At the end of the day this is an apples to bananas argument. He’s cherry picking stuff from the metro area, The equivalent would be looking at the Greater Golden Horse Shoe area. In which case anyone can cherry pick examples cheaper than his examples. He also even says himself about Manhattan, “The island is home to less than 7 per cent of the New York metro area’s residents.” So when you look at numbers for the whole Metro Area Manhattan’s effect is more diluted. Toronto proper on the other has a larger influence on it’s metro Area so it’s effect will be more concentrated making the median number appear higher. Anyone who actually believes this article is either super-gullible or wants to keep their head in the sand.

          1. Housing Bear says:

            A 4 bdr house 35 minutes away from Times Square for 450 000 CAD is the comparison I took from that.

          2. Not Harold says:

            “Just a 35 minute train ride” which is more like a 50 minute commute (at least) given the distances involved to and from the appropriate train stations – NJ trains can end at Penn Station or at World Trade and that can easily be 20+ minutes from where you’re trying to get to.

            If you want to look at houses within an 80km radius of Toronto there are tons of cheap options. Not really the same thing as houses in the city reasonably close to the subway.

            I am worried about the health of our market and the price levels we’re seeing. But you’re using misleading information to present your point.

            Argue better and more ethically.

          3. Housing Bear says:

            So how long does it take to commute from york region? Thats going North. If your going west then we are comparing missauga to burlington. I guess once you go east you can get a better deal once you hit oshawa……… Beautiful oshawa that is, would much rather live there than New Jersey.

            Remember that this convo chain started with Jeff commenting on how a bungalow in the oakwood vaughn region will now fetch a million dollars. He wasnt talking about a 4 bedroom in Forest Hill.

            Anyway Harold or Not Harold . I through that link out as a small chirp. In past posts by David I have gone into much more detail on the points I actually think will bring this market down. Kyle usually challenges me on those points and actually makes some good arguments. You don’t say anything in those situations, so congratulations that you found some low hanging fruit to attack me on (even though you are spinning it in a way to imply that I am trying to compare real Toronto to some distant place in the state of New York).

            Hang in there kiddo!

          4. Housing Bear says:

            Oakwood vaughan is a slum