pre construction home

The Friday Rant: Price drop crushes pre construction home buyers’ dreams?

The Friday Rant

7 minute read

February 9, 2018

Folks, it’s been a while.

Maybe I’m mellowing as I get closer to obtaining true “middle-aged” status.

Or maybe I simply reached a point where nothing in the world of real estate fazes me anymore.

But here’s something new: there are buyers in the market that didn’t know the price of real estate could fluctuate, and now they’re upset.

This is the p-e-r-f-e-c-t time for me to revive a classic TRB feature, The Friday Rant


I don’t understand the world today.

And while I know that sounds like something an old man says, I just really, truly seem to have lost touch with the world around me.

The Prime Minister of Canada.  Wow.  This guy!

Interrupts a young speaker at a town hall meeting, who had the audacity to say “mankind,” to tell her that “we,” whoever we are, prefer to use the term “people-kind,” since it’s more inclusive.

The pendulum has swung so far one way, that it’s about to break through the other side of the universe on the way back.

Sorry, but I don’t like Mr. Trudeau.  I think he’s of below-average intelligence, his low self-esteem, ego, and desire to be admired is at the forefront of every decision he makes on behalf of 33,000,000 people, and he has no experience, or ability, to lead.

This is a microcosm of where we’ve gone as a society, and while some think this is steering us in a better direction for peoplekind, I think it’s making us feeble, weak, and eventually we’ll all be incapable of self-care.

The public school systems have done away with “enriched” programs, such as the enriched English programs I took throughout high school that helped make me the writer I am today, so that “everybody can get an equal opportunity.”  So in the race to the bottom that has become public education, we’d now rather have a so-called “level playing field,” than ever see an advanced child flourish.

We don’t keep score in children’s sports games anymore.  Somebody might get upset to learn that in sports, as in life, there are winners and losers.

Cue the “December Seasonal Concert.”

Change the lyrics to “O Canada,” because it’s one of the worst things plaguing our country today.

Have we ever become softer as a society?

Many of you are already disagreeing, so I won’t go on, with countless more examples, and perhaps better ones, of where our municipal, provincial, and federal leaders have taken us.

But I fear it’s this “guidance” that has brought us to a point where most people in society today refuse to take any responsibility of their actions, especially when those actions are misguided, uninformed, or have consequence of any sort.

As it pertains to real estate, I’m seeing this more and more.

And how could it not transpire, with what we have inflicted upon ourselves?

Recall the story of the “Museum FLTS” condominium project in Toronto, which was cancelled back in November.

The newspapers picked up the story, and made martyrs of these poor souls who entered into legally-binding contracts with a developer who then exercised his right to terminate the project.  I wrote about it on my blog, and I was extra nice:

Another Pre-Construction Condo, Cancelled. Who Is To Blame?

And despite being told by many that I was too nice, I still received hate mail from people who bought into the project – many of them who were obviously well-versed enough in contract law to not spend the $3,000 on a lawyer that might have educated them on the pros and cons of the stack of paper that was thrust upon them by a salesperson, representing the developer.

Oh, the heat I took!  Wow!

I try to take the high road folks, I do.  And it took every ounce of strength I had not to share with you the self-pitying, naive, wishful-thinking emails I received from buyers into the project, who read my blog, and took issue.

You wouldn’t believe it, if you tried.

But as bad as that example of “not taking responsibility for your actions” truly was, I think we reached a new low point.

Some of you pointed this out last week, so I know I already have your ear.

“What did the neighbours pay? Whitby homebuyers just found out the answer: a lot less”

This story first appeared on the CBC website on January 24th, and to attempt to read it without shaking your head at least once is a fool’s errand.

The very first paragraph tells you all you need to know:

Planned homes in a new Whitby subdivision are on sale for up to $90,000 less than similar homes in the same development were a year ago.


Sooooo……….what’s the story?

A person who can tell time, tie their shoe, and breathe in-and-out, could probably ascertain that the price of real estate, believe it or not, can fluctuate.

Prices go up, prices go down.

Like the stock market, or spot gold.  Bonds, or treasury bills.  Corn futures, or Bitcoin…

But the story here, folks, is that some of the buyers who purchased real estate last year, and who saw the value decrease, are, well, upset.

“It’s painful,” Astrid Poei said in an interview. (from the article)

That’s fair.  Nobody is expecting this person not feel the sting of an on-paper loss, for a property not built, which in effect, doesn’t really mean anything.

“There are no building materials on site, there is no foundation poured, so I don’t understand how we are paying more than someone who bought a couple of weeks ago.” (from the article)

Here’s where things go off the rails a little bit.

The idea of there being “no building materials on site,” and “no foundation poured,” simply goes back to inexperience, and naivety.  It’s pre-construction; delays are automatic.  I’m not going to belabour this point.

But then somehow attaching the fact that the project hasn’t started building yet to the idea that “we’re paying more than somebody who bought a couple of weeks ago,” doesn’t make sense to me.

What’s the issue here?

That somebody who bought a couple of weeks ago paid less?

God help us, folks.

This is what we’ve done to ourselves, as a society.

By removing scores from children’s soccer games, automatically passing high school students who receive failing grades, and electing left-wing governments that promise everything to everyone, we’ve allowed people to believe that they can’t fail.

Failure is a reality in life.

And when you buy real estate, you should know that the price can go up, or down.

Again, from the article: “To come back a year later and see the same house that we bought is now $90,000 cheaper, that’s not cool,” Thompson, 52, said in an interview.

Not cool.

Is that an economic or legal phrase?

Imagine that, folks.  The audacity of a developer to sell properties for prices, as they see fit.

The irony is, if the properties were selling for more money, these people wouldn’t be complaining.

But then what about the second-phase of buyers?  Could they complain?

What if somebody said, “To come back a year later, and see the same house that this guy bought only 12 months ago is now $90,000 more, that’s not cool.”  Would we accept that?

And now, the kicker:

“…Poei and Thompson, who are not looking forward to meeting their Phase 2 neighbours, knowing they paid tens of thousands of dollars less for the same homes.”

Ain’t it the truth, folks?

I remember once when my best-friend of 22 years bought a set of Callaway irons for $750, for which I had paid $1,000 the previous year.  So I did what any normal person would do under those circumstances: I kicked his dog, and then never talked to that motherf*cker again…

I know, I know, I’ve said too much.

But guess what?

I’m far from finished…

The Toronto Star also picked up this story, for some odd reason, since I really don’t think it qualifies as news.

“Price drop crushes pre-construction home buyers’ dreams”

Important point here – I’m not faulting the writer.  I think she’s awesome, I’ve done a ton of stories with her, and as I’ve learned over the years – sometimes, the story picks you.

But it’s the quotes in here that really get me.

And even worse than the CBC article – this one shows not only the absolute disillusionment of the buyer, but also the complete and utter lack of qualification!

Mariam Boni was among the buyers caught up in Toronto’s scorching property market last January. She says she got an email from Mattamy when the first phase of the development was released. On the appointed date, she waited three hours in line to get a ticket to return to the sales centre the following day.

When she went back, there were only two lots still available and Boni ended up spending $899,000, plus additional money for upgrades, exceeding her target price of $500,000 to $600,000.

Although she owns a home already, she said Queen’s Common would be a better place to raise her son.


lot going on here…

So first, we have a woman that stood in line to get a ticket to buy a home.  Can you say, “mania?”  I hear Bitcoin came down from $20,000, btw…

Second, she spent $900,000, with a budget of $500,000 – $600,000.

And last but not least, she already owns a home.  This was a second property, and while she was probably going to sell the first one, it doesn’t remove the speculative nature of the adventure.

The woman added:

“I have a 3-year-old. I’m thinking about his future, I’m thinking this is a good investment. It’s going to go up in price, I’m going to do something nice for my child.”


You thought it was a good investment.  You thought it would go up in price.

You thought.

That’s it.

That’s all you need to know.

There’s no guarantee, nor should there be.  If the prices went up, as you thought, would the developer come back to you and cry foul?  Would Mattamy Homes go to the Toronto Star to describe the hurt and anguish they feel about selling properties that went up in price, when all the while, they could have held them and made more money?

The developer offered this explanation, which is like explaining to a child how boys and girls are different:

“When (the market) is moving upwards, we obviously raise our prices and when it’s moving downwards, in order to continue to sell and to build and complete the communities, we have to lower our prices to a price point the market will bear.”

Yes, when the market goes up, prices go up.  When the market goes down, prices go down.  What’s that, Marigold?  It’s half-past four?

I honestly can’t believe these stories went to print.

Our imaginations could run wild with the analogies.  In fact, some of last week’s readers already beat me to it.

So tell me I’m wrong, folks.

Tell me that these stories were newsworthy.

Tell me that the buyers in these articles have a legitimate beef.

Tell me that peoplekind should be able to buy real estate with absolutely no fear of the price dropping, but with the full expectation that the price will rise.

But do so in the comments below, because I have to leave; I need to go find something sweet.  This blog has left me really goddam salty…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

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  1. Francesca

    at 7:22 am

    David, I read all those articles you referred to when they were first published and I have to say I don’t sympathasize with these people at all. You are right in saying that there is always a risk a real estate investment will decrease in value just like stocks and bonds fluctuate. Unless these people bought just to flip once their homes were built I’m sure they will make up for their loss equity in a year or two as prices rebound. If they live there for the recommended 5 plus years I’m sure they’ll still make money from their original investment. Some of them bought months before the government implemented the fair housing plan so it’s their own naïveté that the market wouldn’t change after that that is to blame. Plus it’s no secret that preconsteuction homes are usually selling higher than resale so why wouldn’t they have just bought a resale house instead? My sister lives in a suburb of Philadelphia and unlike here where the whol suburb is built at once, there each house is sold seperatly and it could take years for neighbours homes to be built. My sister has seen houses sprout up around her for both more and less than she paid for three years ago as the real estate market there fluctuates quite a bit and the builders are more willing to negotiate price and upgrade with buyers to sell the plots of land. Here in Toronto we have been brainwashed into believing that real estate prices can only go up but we all know that eventually they have to come down and some people are going to be caught buying at the wrong time. As they say timing is everything and it would be great if we had a crystal ball to predict the future!

    1. Sardonic Lizard

      at 10:18 pm

      > “I’m sure they will make up for their loss equity in a year or two as prices rebound.”

      Prices will rebound in a year or two, huh? That’s a pretty bold statement. You got a crystal ball or something?

  2. Geoff

    at 7:41 am

    Absolutely right on the money on the house prices toronto star articles. Wrong on the keeping standings – and that’s what is typically eliminated, not the notion of ‘score’ — the kids can count. The goal of youth sport, believe it or not, is NOT to win or lose. The goal of youth sport is simply to get the kids better developed and to do that you have to keep playing. If you’re a U10 soccer player for instance, and you’re good at say one part of the game – say running — then all the other kids have to do is boot the ball up to jimmy, who can run ahead and score. Great. Team objective accomplished. 1 Kid scored, 5 kids did nothing. But if you focus on development and teamwork, and not keep STANDINGS — (which introduces the notion of Goal Differential) – you can focus on bringing up everyone’s skill levels — each game is a new day. As a soccer referee, I once abandoned a game when a coach of U9 team decided to run the score up against another team – like 20 – 0. I was disgusted. I was 16, coach was 37. I’ve also volunteered as convenor and coach for 5 years and saw this notion of ‘not keeping standings’ and not keeping score frequently conflated.

    1. Real estate millennial

      at 9:02 am

      That’s some super soft shit. I played competitive soccer and university football and I 100% believe in keeping score this participation ribbon nonsense is trash. My first year at Guelph we went 2-6 by the time I left we went 6-2, you’re not always going to win and some players were trash. They grew up in the suburbs tissue paper soft and when we brought in inner city kids we started winning (kids that weren’t coddled). Sport builds character to keep trying, work harder, work together and a bunch of other key life lessons. If your kid is trash, it’s on the kid to want to get better and you to coach them. you see your kid all the time, the coach a couple times a week do the drills at home and stop waiting for the coach to make them better. BREAKING NEWS all of your life success and failures start with you what kind of message are we sending kids – that showing up is enough. I’m a “millennial” and we are forever chastised as being marshmellow soft and out to lunch on the reality of life. Which I will not dispute, but it’s clear to see we have an entitlement issue amongst all generations.

      1. Geoff

        at 9:30 am

        Your analogy is confusing. U12 doesn’t mean University, it means Under 12. No one is talking about elite competitive athletes not playing to win – there’s no ‘let’s remove standings from the NBA’ petition going on. As for your comment that ‘showing up is enough’ is a stupid lesson – that’s actually the frigging problem. They’re not showing up. “According to the National Alliance for Sports, a staggering 70 percent of kids who play competitive sports burn out and quit by the time they are 13. ”

        I don’t give a crap if my kid is ‘trash’ (nice language by the way) – I care that his heart, and lungs, and legs are getting the exercise they need. Kids who play sports as teenagers play sports as adults, and have kids who play sports. I don’t need my kid to be great or even good at anything, I need him to keep playing. And for him to keep playing, he has to have fun.

        So my question back to you – when you look a picture of your soccer team from say when you were 7, how many did you play against in your university league?

        1. O

          at 9:52 am

          Geoff said “I don’t need my kid to be great or even good at anything”,

          Really? Not good at anything?

          It has been said that: “a sword is shaped by the blow of the hammer”

          The metaphor is the hammer blow (failure) is what forms your basic shape. Once you have the shape then you get your edge and polish. When you have failed enough, you know what works, but more importantly you learn what does not work. You learn from the loss. You must lose to learn.

          When I did martial arts, the longest line was to spar with the sensei. You could probably get 3 or four rounds against another student, but a lot of guys would wait and end up only getting one match in with the sensei…because you knew you were going to lose. You knew you would be challenged and pushed. Then in the change room…it was try this…this may work…that way opens your guard, etc….one of my proudest moments was beating the sensei…ONCE…it took 15 years, but it happened….this is the only path to true confidence.

          1. Geoff

            at 10:17 am

            Don’t take it out of context – it was sports we’re referring to. Of course I want my kid to be good at sports; I just don’t NEED him to be good at sports. What I NEED for him is to stay active. If my son comes in last in a marathon, he still beat every kid that didn’t run it – his lungs, his heart, his muscles – they don’t know he came in last. They just know it got exercise. And a lot of kids – and adults – equate having fun with being good. And so if you’re not good… then it’s not fun… and then you quit. That’s the scenario I’m working to avoid. (And my son, for the record, is great at a lot of things).

          2. Condodweller

            at 4:32 pm

            I believe it was George Burns that said something to the effect of : I rather have fun doing something I am bad at than to do something well that I hate doing.

            I think you also have to distinguish between what the child wants vs. what the parent wants. There is nothing wrong with either position as long as one isn’t forced upon the other. This is why we have hockey parents beating each other in the stands at U10 hockey practices. Perhaps we would all get along better if we had two leagues: 1. I am just here for the exercise and to have fun 2. I want to be #1.

      2. A

        at 1:01 pm

        I like your reply.

        Ultimately, how a kid “should” be raised by parents is very personal. Some parents may find satisfaction only if the kid becomes part of the 0.01%. Other parents may find satisfaction merely by having the kid find happiness in life.

        Personally, getting a kid to play a team sport can teach the kid i) the concept of teamwork (which you cannot get by other forms of staying active, such as running a marathon) and ii) the concept of working hard and trying your best. Even on this latter point, some parents accept at face value when the kid says he/she has already tried his/her best whereas other parents keep pushing their kids harder. There is not necessarily a right or a wrong.

        I cannot disagree more with Geoff that the other kids who passed the ball to the goal scorer did nothing in the soccer analogy. While it may be debatable whether a goal is worth more than an assist, to effectively write off the assists as nothing is beyond ridiculous IMHO.

        1. Geoff

          at 2:25 pm

          It’s not that they did nothing, it’s that they learned far less than they could have, and it gets boring. Far better for them to try to bring the ball up themselves and fail, then to kick the ball up to big jimmy (height alone can make a rockstar player at 7) and be assured of a higher chance of ‘not letting the team down.’

          1. Geoff

            at 2:28 pm

            Put another way (and I’m very enthusiastic about this subject!) — ‘time with ball’ matters more to skill and confidence development than ‘time on field.’

    2. David Fleming

      at 10:23 am

      @ Geoff

      My experience with youth sport wasn’t as a parent or referee, but rather as a coach. I coached Bantam baseball for 7 years. Kids aged 14 to 17.

      What I learned, sports aside, is that the role of a coach at that age is (or can be) as a mentor.

      I won’t lie – I told them that winning is important, and infamously told them “People say the goal is to have fun; it’s not. Having fun is a by-product of winning, so if you win, you will have fun.” But they knew it was tongue-and-cheek, and having each of these kids for 3 years, they grew to know me as I grew to know them.

      Baseball is a differnet animal. Most of your time is spent in the dugout chatting, or on the field shagging fly balls – and chatting. So I interracted with the kids in a way most coaches don’t.

      Over the years, I talked to these kids about every aspect of life; I was 27 when I started, they were 14-17. I had just finished the phase of life they were about to embark upon. We talked about sports, school, exams and projects, friends, parties, booze, drugs, parents, university, girls – lots about girls! How about a pregnancy scare from one of your teenage kids on a Saturday morning? The kids sure as hell weren’t going to talk to their parents about it.

      I kept in touch with most of my kids, and some came back and helped me coach years later. Some needed my reference for university, or later for jobs. Some actually asked me to help them obtain a job, which I did. And some even bought real estate through me.

      I remember one year, there was an incident with a kid on another team who was drunk during a game, and started pissing in centre field. All the kids laughed, and I silenced them right away. I told them not to laugh at him, because that’s what he wanted, and that they shouldn’t think he’s funny, but rather feel bad for him, and be happy that’s not them. The next week, I tried talking to the other team’s coach about it, and he wasn’t interested. Some late-40’s dad, dressed in slacks and Gucci shoes while he coached 1st base. He told me, “It’s not my problem. It’s on the parents. I don’t have anything to do with it.”

      That was the difference between where I saw my role, and where he saw his. Coaching teenagers isn’t just about filling up a lineup card. It’s about helping them with their lives, espeically in the tough areas that we’ve personally experienced.

      So when the subject of “whether or not to keep score” comes up, I always think about the bigger picture, and how the people who believe a child might feel bad if he or she knows they’re losing 8-1 is perhaps missing a much larger point.

      1. Kramer

        at 10:30 am

        Practice is for development.

        Games are for execution and trying to win (provided everyone is at an age where they can actually understand all the basic rules and know what they are trying to accomplish). Winning should be celebrated.

        Trying one’s hardest (especially in a team sport) is commendable and should be celebrated in private, whether you won or lost.

        Dragging ass (especially in a team sport) or being disrespectful to the game or other players is weak and should be addressed in private, whether you win or lose.

        Both winning and losing should be built upon. You don’t win one game and quit developing. You also don’t lose one game and quit period.

        As for development…

        No one ever truly develops mid-game. You can fine tune your CURRENT LEVEL mid-game (that is if you have lots of games), but that fine tuning is not sticky, it is hard to fine tune and it can vanish quickly depending on how much you play… but you never really level-up mid-game.

        You don’t actually level-up as a golfer on the course, you level-up as a golfer on the driving range and putting green.

        You don’t actually level-up as a hitter in a game, you level-up as a hitter in the batting cage.

        This is a fact.

        Furthermore, leaving your kid’s development at the mercy of all the random variables in a game (all the other players, the coach, the ref, the weather, how they’re feeling that day, etc) is simply silly, assuming you do want them to develop their games. If you want your kid to level-up, take them out to the field in your own time, take them to the batting cage, take them to the driving range, put them in a camp. Take ownership of the development. Commend them on the practice, the extra effort, the hard work, and trying their hardest in games – take them for ice cream or their favorite meal or get them a new ball or bat or club so they get that winning feeling out of hard work. The winning and losing on the field will come no matter, and anyone who tries to control who wins and who loses outside of the players and coaches should be taken around the corner and beaten with 33 inch 30 ounce.

      2. Geoff

        at 11:06 am

        Kramer, I think that’s a great posting. And I agree with all points. And I’ll also say that when I was the convenor of the under 6 league, I had a lot of grief from parents when I switched from weekly ‘games’ to weekly skills development practices with some scrimmages. Even though the former leads to success, and just playing ‘games’ doesn’t – I mean 6 year olds play mob ball, not soccer.

        David – My opinion isn’t informed by the notion that sports and coach’s aren’t important. It’s actually the literal opposite – that it’s so important that we need to keep finding new ways to keep them playing – and a 70% drop off rate for kids playing sports isn’t acceptable. Your team was composed of the 30% of players who kept playing after 13. So when you say “Coaching teenagers isn’t just about filling up a lineup card. It’s about helping them with their lives, especially in the tough areas that we’ve personally experienced.” I can’t agree more.

        I just want you to ask yourself if you could have a made a positive difference in the 70% (SEVENTY percent failure rate) of kids that quit BEFORE they came to you. My guess is yes.

        1. Appraiser

          at 11:18 am

          “In many sports, kids are “done” before the age of 13. There seem to be a variety of factors for this. Pressure to perform put on them by themselves, parents and coaches. This pressure can then in turn learn to a lack of enjoyment. The pressure on coaches to win from a very early age that forces them to play the best players only, and leaves the lesser lights disengaged and not feeling part of the team. The pressure from parents who invest so much money and time in their kids, and put unrealistic expectations on their kids.”

          1. Geoff

            at 11:44 am

            Man just when I was feeling alone in the wilderness… along comes Appraiser to… appraise.. the situation.

          2. Condodweller

            at 4:51 pm

            Most kids are “done” before age 13 because by that age they can tell you they don’t want to do it anymore after being “forced” to do it or due to “bad” experiences i.e. losing too much or not being played enough. I agree the health aspect is the most important aspect and kids have to be introduced at an early enough age where they just do it, and can’t say no. The second most important aspect, close second, is the character building where you keep trying. It doesn’t matter if you are the best/worst/mediocre what’s important is that you push yourself to be the best you can be. There is no better motivator than losing.

    1. Appraiser

      at 9:31 am

      Yeah, because economic analysis thrives on anecdotes and gut “feelings.”

      1. Sardonic Lizard

        at 4:33 pm

        > “Yeah, because economic analysis thrives on anecdotes and gut ‘feelings.'”

        No, but most purchase decisions do!

        1. Appraiser

          at 8:27 am

          Yeah, because you have intimate knowledge of “most purchase decisions.” Got it.

    2. Condodweller

      at 4:53 pm

      Great! I’ll take two!

  3. Paully

    at 8:35 am

    They don’t like the price changes in Whitby? They should move to Peopleitoba.

    1. Libertarian

      at 2:23 pm

      haha – well done sir!

  4. Agnese

    at 9:16 am

    100% agree!

  5. Chris

    at 9:18 am

    These people are speculators, pure and simple, and deserve no sympathy from anyone.

    The couple in the CBC story were on Income Property awhile back, talking about “spending daddy’s money!!” to fix up a cottage:

    The lady in the Toronto Star story bought the pre-construction place as her third property. She talks about how she sold another investment property earlier in 2017, and complains that it sold for $200,000 less than she had hoped.

    In both cases, they don’t seem to understand the very basics of financial literacy, including how markets function (going up and down), setting and sticking to a budget, proper diversification and risk tolerance, etc.

    If you want to gamble, go right ahead. Buy speculative property, bitcoin, lottery tickets, whatever the hell you want. Just don’t expect sympathy or a bail out if you make a losing bet.

    1. Kyle

      at 9:23 am

      This is one time where we agree.

      1. Appraiser

        at 9:26 am


        1. Kramer

          at 9:30 am


          1. Long Time Realtor

            at 9:33 am

            Can I get an Amen!

          2. Chris

            at 9:36 am

            Haha it’s nice that we can all agree on something

    2. Sardonic Lizard

      at 4:31 pm


  6. Appraiser

    at 9:26 am

    “I made a dumb joke a few days ago that seems to have gone a little viral in the room on the ‘peoplekind’ comment,” Trudeau said without being prompted by reporters.

    “It played well in the room and in context. Out of context, it doesn’t play so well,” he added. ~ Justin Trudeau

  7. Nick

    at 9:42 am

    I read the Star article when it came out and my jaw nearly dropped. This type of stuff annoys me to no end.

    There is no price drop guarantee on a house, as there shouldn’t be! Don’t grumble now because you let yourself get carried away.

    OH and one more thing the bottom of the star article said they can’t recall a time when builders did this well 2009, tribute communities and Medallion Homes, North Ajax. It wasn’t that long ago.

  8. David

    at 9:49 am

    Agree with everything except I believe they should post more articles like this.

    These articles, regardless of journalist opinions, reflect the true ugly side of Toronto real estate and the players in them. Investor psychology is not something that can be captured easily by real estate data from TREB.

    1. Kyle

      at 10:08 am

      I agree there should be more articles to show the good and the bad to hopefully prevent people from getting carried away. The part i don’t like is the tone of the article. I think it would have been better written to highlight the financial risks which would hopefully help improve literacy, instead of portraying them as victims and highlighting their emotions and irrational arguments.

      1. Not Harold

        at 2:14 pm

        The problem with The Star and CBC is that their audience are the 90% of the population that isn’t smart enough to tie their own shoes.

        These articles should be merciless in showing the stupidity and greed of the purchasers. But the journalists can’t do math or think clearly and are just as stupid and snowflaky as the “victims” and make it their careers to show the “inherent evil” of the rapacious capitalists.

        We need to shut down the government propaganda arm of the CBC, ban multiple classes of public stock, and put serious teeth into the enforcement of fiduciary duties for executives and board members.

        1. Carl

          at 5:46 pm

          Neither of the two linked articles gives any indication that the author can’t do math or wants to show the inherent evil of the rapacious capitalists. In their pieces, both Trevor Dunn at CBC and Tess Kalinowski at the Star do what reporters should do, namely report. They describe a dispute between buyers and the seller, and report what both parties have to say. It’s not their job to call people stupid or make judgments who is right and who is wrong. Readers can tie their own shoes and can make appropriate conclusions from the story. Such as: RE markets go up, and they go down. A contract is a contract. If you overleverage yourself, you may end up being sorry.

  9. carl

    at 10:33 am

    You may think — somebody made a poor investment decision, happens every day, why is it in a newspaper? But CBC and the Star did good by publishing the story. For years newspapers have been telling everybody that real estate prices don’t always go up, they also go down sometimes. For many people such warnings about future risks go right over their heads, along with sales statistics. You will only reach them with a personal story that has the name of a real person, preferably with a photograph. Such stories are not written for knowledgeable RE investors and professionals, so there’s no point in judging them as such.

    1. Joel

      at 11:24 am

      That is a good point. This article may help to protect the people that get caught up in the sales pitch and media frenzy without actually doing any due diligence. Hopefully it helps to make people more informed in their investment decisions.

    2. Professional Shanker

      at 2:05 pm

      interesting perspective – is anything published in mainstream MSM really intended for the seasoned analytical thinker, should we really expect that it be, given our culture of demanding headlines or we don’t pay attention to an article? David’s blog is an example of where someone would go to get more perspective than mainstream MSM.

      1. Libertarian

        at 2:23 pm

        is anything published in MSM really intended for the seasoned analytical thinker?


        This applies to David’s post the other day about the media was negative with the January sales numbers. The media never analyzes anything – good or bad. So I was puzzled at all the comments criticizing the media. The media wasn’t analyzing the numbers in early 2017 when everything crazy, so why expect them to do it now?

        It’s also funny to me how the people who are real estate bulls on this blog think the media is negative while the bears think the media is positive by never disputing anything that TREB releases.

        I’m also surprised at how many people are criticizing the buyers in these stories. They did what everybody on this blog tells them to do – buy as much real estate as possible and then some because Toronto real estate is undervalued and will go up in price forever. It’s better than a winning lottery ticket. Joel refers to it in his comment.

        1. Kyle

          at 3:22 pm

          “They did what everybody on this blog tells them to do – buy as much real estate as possible and then some because Toronto real estate is undervalued and will go up in price forever. It’s better than a winning lottery ticket.”

          Where are you getting this? I have been following this blog for a long time, and have never read anyone giving anything remotely close to this advice.

          1. Libertarian

            at 5:23 pm

            Of course nobody said those exact words. I’m paraphrasing, summarizing, and “reading between the lines” of all the comments made about:

            -bears are angry idiots living in their basement
            -the media is negative about real estate and thinks people are entitled to own houses
            -investing properties and cap rates
            -Toronto is undervalued compared to other global cities
            -the Green Belt should be abolished to build more housing
            -Lake Ontario should be filled in to build more housing
            -the demand for real estate is only going bigger by the day

            I could go on, but my weekend officially starts now.

          2. Kyle

            at 10:33 pm

            I think you mean that you are reaching between the lines, because none of those things you’ve listed infer prices will go up forever, or that one should over leverage themself on a house. The fact is no one has ever said anything or inferred that directly or indirectly in these comments.

            In fact there is no need to read between the lines because many of those that people have labelled bulls on this comment board have stated outright on many occasions what their advice would be to people, which is to not try to time the market, buy a home when you’re ready and when find the right home, stay in it for at least five years and not to over-leverage yourself. So again i ask, where are you getting that from?

          3. Libertarian

            at 10:42 am

            I’m not sure whether this response will show up in the right place, but I’ll try anyway.

            Seems as though I’m not the only commenter on here who has this opinion. Ralph Cramdown up above says the exact same thing.

            Ralph mentions how skeptics are attacked mercilessly. The example for that is Chris. He comes off as one of the more neutral commenters (neither a cheerleader nor a bear) and is personally insulted left, right, and centre.

            The theme of this blog from reading the comments is that people who don’t buy real estate have something wrong with them . David even insinuates it on today’s (Monday’s) post about the CBC article about renters in Calgary.

          4. Kyle

            at 11:39 am

            Your argument is simply based on conflating anything that isn’t bearish to equal “prices will rise forever and that one should always buy more than you can afford”. Sorry but that isn’t the case, just cause something isn’t bearish, does not mean it can be extrapolated to mean bullishness to the nth degree with all caution thrown to the wind. No one has ever advised that, frankly all the bulls on this board have been very vocal about NOT doing that.

  10. Joel

    at 11:20 am

    I think that these people are ridiculous. They need to do their research in what they are buying. Too many in the media and almost all real estate agents are telling people that real estate is an investment, and people believe them. I don’t think we have to go too far back in this blog to see David extolling the virtues of purchasing real estate in Toronto as a sound investment.
    Real estate should be purchased to live in. Those people that want to speculate on properties better be aware of the risks and have the ability to lose the money and continue on.
    I get that these people who bought in the first phase do not want to admit that they made a poor decision, but that is exactly what happened.

    I am not sure how the Liberals ruined the country when it has been conservative since 2006. I don’t think all of the complaining about schools and entitlement have anything to do with “The Liberals”. If anything you could make a case that the conservative parents who believe that it is their hard work and never fortune that causes all good things in their life and all bad things are just bad luck!!

    1. Sardonic Lizard

      at 4:28 pm

      I think a lot of people echo your sentiments.

  11. Daniel

    at 1:31 pm

    Prime minister makes what is clearly a joke. Blogger voices outrage at this apparently oblivious to the fact that it was clearly a joke. Blogger then continues post to complain about outrage culture.


    1. Jimbo

      at 10:20 am

      But the paternal love not the maternal…. It wasn’t a joke, he just went too far and is now back peddling…. You should go find the GBA+ course online (hopefully it is not just an intranet thing) and tell me how much of a joke you think that comment was, the government philosophy says otherwise

      1. Jimbo

        at 10:28 am

        Not just an intranet thing. All should take the course and determine if they think it is a joke. Now balance the fact that you cannot take any career course without first taking this course in all government departments. Finally when you write documents such as letters, memos, briefing notes you must pay close attention to words such as paternal Vs maternal, “people kind” Vs mankind, any hint of binary indicators such as he, she or cisgender opinions. Take 15 minutes and try to rewrite any document to mirror that and see how fast your productivity will plummet.

        1. Appraiser

          at 1:01 pm

          Is that all ‘ya got?

          1. Jimbo

            at 1:08 pm

            That he wasn’t joking? Everything within the government is about gender neutral language, I’m living it.
            What would you like elaborated

          2. Boris

            at 10:11 am

            You’re such an insufferable cunt Appraiser.

  12. Jeff

    at 2:15 pm

    Who isn’t keeping score in sports anymore? My Daughter is 7, and plays soccer. They have kept score at ages 6 and 7, essentially grade 1.

    Before that they didn’t, but kids also just sat down half way through the game.

    People just love having over reactions these day’s to small or non issues.

    Remember George Carlin’s bit about the word’s you cannot say on TV. That was a soft society, today we say anything, do anything and react to anything. More people are going to school and overall earning more. Post’s like this are just reactionary and looking at things in s snap shot vs taking a long view of how much we as a society have progressed over last # of years.

    1. Geoff

      at 2:22 pm

      Most leagues don’t keep standings, which gets conflated to scores. In other words, what’s your daughter’s team’s win loss record, goal differential, ranking, win ratio, etc. Probably not tracked or posted until older ages. Which upsets some parents, and gets conflated to ‘not keeping score.’

      1. Geoff

        at 2:26 pm

        and a 70% drop off rate for sports is not a non-issue, childhood obesity is a health epidemic.

        1. lui

          at 10:43 am

          Have you seen downtown workers lately,I swear at least 65% of them are obese and TTC workers that percentage is much higher.

      2. Libertarian

        at 2:33 pm

        I find it interesting that as kids get older, the ones that stick around, are being pushed to train like professional athletes – year-round training, specialty camps, personal trainers, coaching, tournaments all over the continent, etc. Personally, I find it a little obscene and can’t believe how much money there is being spent on that entire industry.

      3. McBloggert

        at 3:19 pm

        I totally agree with @Jeff and @Geoff’s post and sentiments.

        I think sports are a fundamentally important part of a child’s development and education; but the whole “outrage” about keeping score; we need to have a few more facts before we fain outrage over the collapse of our society due to “liberals” putting bubble wrap on everything.

        If I sign my 2 year old up for little kickers next year as a 3 year old – I sure hope they don’t keep score. I hope they teach them some skills and spark an enjoyment for the game and sports. As they mature – as Geogg and Jeff point out – they start keeping score.

        Conflating how toddlers learn to play sports and teenagers play sports – is just well – fake news.

        1. Kyle

          at 3:41 pm

          I agree with Geoff and Jeff. I have my kids in various sports and activities, some their good at, some their so-so. As long as they enjoy it, are getting some exercise and not on the i-pad, i’m happy. I do want them to keep score though and i want my kids to learn to be gracious when they win and when they lose. I don’t care about standings, frankly i’d be just fine if they mixed the teams all up after every game. Also i think the goal at least when kids are young is not to be the best, the goal is simply to be better than the week before.

          1. Kyle

            at 3:41 pm

            They’re not their.

  13. krs hamilton

    at 3:31 pm

    Thing is, the woman in the star story is fairly common. Living beyond their means as a speculator. I know coworkers who have no business owning 2 or 3 properties with little income to support any kind of downturn. All are leveraged up. Its no difference than whats happening in the stock market. Bitcoin/weed mania causes system outages at brokers…is like lining up to buy these homes. I have friends with no history of interest in stocks now are all talking about trading weed stocks. There are just too many speculators in the Toronto real estate market for this bull market to continue. Any smell of a downturn will make people hit the exits. But who knows, all the bears have been wrong for so long.
    “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

    1. Professional Shanker

      at 2:26 pm

      That is why there is what people say is “too much” gov’t intervention, currently in the RE market. If a recession or black swan event took place in the current economic climate, house prices would drop more than any expert or bank economist would predict. Intervention which can help the long term sustainability of a market and for that matter a country’s continued economic growth should not be met with so much push back.

      Is anyone saying that the central bank should not raise interest rates as it will have a negative impact on equity valuations……on wait nevermind that comment 🙂

  14. Condodweller

    at 5:17 pm

    “A person who can tell time, tie their shoe, and breathe in-and-out, could probably ascertain that the price of real estate, believe it or not, can fluctuate.”

    Perhaps we can forgive a lay person for doing what everyone else is doing after listening to realtors who have been saying for the last 20 years that house prices will continue to go up forever.

    I was watching hot property last night and Al Sinclair (SP) “advised” a caller who had two houses in the GTA to keep both of them and he basically can’t go wrong. All with knowing exactly nothing about the person’s financial situation and goals. Most weeks he tells callers that it’s all good, it’s a strong market and they will do well, they just need to get into the market while they can.

    1. Professional Shanker

      at 2:17 pm

      that is what benefits his business – be bullish at all points – he is an industry salesman/mouthpiece for better or for worse. That said if you had followed his advice you would have done quite well over the past XXX years…..

  15. lui

    at 5:29 pm

    Mr Selfie is too worried about LGBT and native rights and not worried enough about our economyCanada as a laundering tax haven,high taxes,and illegal migrants.

  16. Alexander

    at 5:46 pm

    I think David is right that media has a bias against RE at the moment – I do not see any articles about mom investors complaining that a stock they bought only a month ago is already down by 10%. May be some people will disagree and say houses are for people to live in and not for speculation, but ! If there is a market – there is speculation. Or should we all move to socialist/communist distribution system? Actually, we may when Ontario Liberals after winning the summer election will have to come up with some new ideas how to woo electorate in 4 years time and how to be even more creative with new tax initiatives. Just in the last 10 years if anybody remembers we have first taxes added to the vehicle fuel bills, then HST and now the carbon tax – – all for our own good.

  17. CB

    at 5:48 pm

    When we first moved to Toronto, after the US presidential election, a couple of brokers said that, “The market can only go up! It’s on fire! It’s amazing!” I felt like saying, “Where were you in 2008? We were in the US and people lost a lot.”

    We moved to Toronto because of Trump, and all of my friends would rather have Trudeau. Wouldn’t you?

    1. Boris

      at 10:41 am

      That means you hang around a bunch of liberal idiots that love JT.

      You moved because of Trump? Wow, real courage to try to help change the situation. Some real backbone there.

  18. Alex

    at 9:59 am

    The person in that story is 52, so really unlikely they were affected by recent developments in education.
    I thought the same thing when I read it about how the paper reported an opposite story about people being upset about the developer killing their contract and reselling for higher and now they’re upset that they can’t break the contract and re buy for lower.

  19. Appraiser

    at 10:30 am

    Of Trudeau-bashing:

    Other than ad ‘homs, selfie jealousy and sock envy, I’ve yet to hear or read much in the way of serious public policy, political or philosophical debate regarding the Prime Minister. Please enlighten me. Asking for a country.

    1. GQ

      at 10:48 am

      I’ll take a stab at answering this one. You’re correct in that most of the criticism of Trudeau has nothing to do with his economic policies, but that’s because he spends all of his time focussing on social ones. He has turn our country into a laughingstock around the world. He bends over backwards for every single social cause. And his worst mistake that was last night in response to the Gerald Stanley verdict when he said “we have to do better” and then suggested that we review the justice system. The prime minister can not undermine the justice system that is the very backbone of this country. His automatic knee-jerk reaction to social uproar, opens his mouth wide to say something stupid every time. Just as Donald Trump has undermined the sanctity and safety of the justice system in the United States, by suggesting that the FBI acted inappropriately in investigating him, Justin Trudeau has now caused every Canadian to doubt the justice system in Canada, all because he could not help himself and had no self-control when it came to the opportunity to say something politically correct once again.

    2. Boris

      at 3:23 pm

      Of course appraiser likes this vacuous idiot we have in Ottawa.

      Of course you do.

      You vacuous Appraiser.

    3. Boris

      at 10:38 am

      Appraiser: You clearly don’t read then.

      Read the last 12 months of the National Post, or Conrad Black, or Jordan Peterson to get an analytical play by play of how utterly incompetent and idiotic our Little Potato PM is.

  20. Batalha

    at 3:58 pm


    “What would you like elaborated”

    Why you seem to think this is the worst thing EVER!

    1. Appraiser

      at 6:56 pm


      1. Jimbo

        at 8:42 pm

        Maybe I went a little over board, not saying it is the worst thing ever, there are far worse things to be worried about. I guess my comment is, he wasn’t joking and the way the gov’t is over burdened by gender language in the last 18 months it is going to get a lot worse.

  21. Ralph Cramdown

    at 10:17 am

    If these people knew there was a risk of price declines in Toronto residential real estate, they CERTAINLY didn’t learn it reading ten years of this blog. If bullish sentiment on GTA residential prices has been like a brass band, this blog has been the sousaphone section.

    Real estate bulls (and here I include virtually the entirety of the new and resale and mortgage sales industries, this blog’s author included) have been insistent that prices should not, would not, could not go down. Any argument from skeptics has been attacked mercilessly. Just this past year, posters have explained that prices don’t have a relationship to household incomes, that Toronto’s spectacular recent rise has only been a catching up from a situation where prices were drastically undervalued, and that we are running out of land even to build condos on, among other follies.

    Any serious talk of risk has come from the likes of Rob Carrick and Garth Turner. It would seem that the sum total of Real Estate’s risk disclosure is to acknowledge that those people and their opinions exist, while downplaying and denigrating them. David has talked about a lot of real estate deals in the last decade, but I don’t recall any that the investor booked a loss on — even though David is seeing, and even doing those kinds of deals this year!

    1. Condodweller

      at 3:05 pm

      Oh the irony. It’s kind of like giving a child a book of matches to play with and then blaming him that he wasn’t thinking when he burned down the house.

    2. Professional Shanker

      at 2:13 pm

      To your point, I know friends of mine who are RE agents that posted monthly RE stats on their social media feeds since I could remember up until July 2017 – once it was clear that large month over month price increases would be constrained for the near future they have not posted much of anything with regards to monthly price increase stats, it is forbidden to concentrate on such an animal if the trend is downwards – that is NOT good for business, which to be fair I understand and sympathize with if I was in the industry. To be clear these people are legitimate RE professionals who are in the top ~20% of deals each year.

    3. Daniel

      at 3:04 pm


  22. Sardonic Lizard

    at 5:32 pm


    Any chance you could give us a report of what’s going on in the trenches of the 905 region? Asking for a friend.

  23. Tommy

    at 5:58 am


  24. Pingback: September Real Estate Market! - Toronto Realty Blog

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