How Will The G-20 Affect Real Estate?


4 minute read

June 21, 2010

Surely it’s not the biggest issue we need concern ourselves with, but it’s certainly crossed my mind more than a few times.

I haven’t seen this level of combined paranoia and preparation since the Y2K scare, which turned out to be needless in the end.

The G-20 Summit will affect the entire city of Toronto, and all of its residents, and it will basically freeze the real estate market for an entire week…


Thoughts on the G-20 Summit, anyone?

Is anybody brave enough to come out from behind their anonymous monikers of the Internet and the blogosphere to share some thoughts on politics?

I was told a long time ago there are three things you should never openly discuss in public: salary, religion, and politics.

I’m not a very good listener…

I’ve been reading a lot of jibber-jabber about protestors and anarchists as they prepare to devour our fair city, and I have to think that these protestors would be better served cleaning the deep-fryer at McDonald’s since their mischievous “actions” in Toronto will likely go unnoticed.

So you’re going to spay-paint the window at Starbucks, are you?

You’re going to break a window at TD Bank, you say?

Geez, if ever there were two companies with the financial resources needed to repair a window or scrub a brick wall free of paint without feeling it in the pocket-book, you sure picked them!

Apparently, the cloak-and-dagger society of black-hoodie-wearing misfits is going to invade downtown Toronto next week as they prepare to leave their parents’ basements and make their feelings towards capitalism felt.

I really wish that every first-year university student was required to take economics.

I wish that they were all forced to learn that maybe, just maybe, anarchy isn’t as good for the world as capitalism, and we need financial, economic, and geo-political systems in order to survive as a race called “mankind.”

But eating Cheetos and playing Halo 3 in-between re-runs of “The Price Is Right” twelve hours per day might not expose these chat-room-Charlies to the world the rest of us know.

And the result, is this:


I found that image when I Googled “G-20 Protest.” 

Okay, before I get carried away, I do understand that not every protestor is a jobless hippie anarchist who wants to take down the World Bank and cash in gold reserves to make warm sweaters for baby seals.

I went out for drinks on Friday night and one girl at our table told me she was attending an organized protest inside the “protesting zone” in Trinity-Bellwoods Park.  I think she’s protesting….something to do with animals.  Yes, animals.  I think.  Sorry Pena, I can’t remember what she was saying…

Do I think that Toronto could do without the G-20 Summit?  Of course I do.

I don’t want the Olympics either.

But now that our city is one barricade after another, we must accept it, and adapt.

In the business of real estate, the G-20 Summit has effectively given us all a week off.

Simply put, next week will be an awful time for everybody involved; buyers, sellers, Realtors, lawyers, mortgage brokers, banks, and the like.

Here is how I see everybody being affected:

1.  Sellers

Perhaps nobody will be as negatively affected as the sellers, especially those that fall within the “security zone” seen here:


Luckily, most of the condominiums in the security zone are in CityPlace, and you know what I think of CityPlace…

But imagine being a seller in a market where there is an increasing amount of product, and suddenly, your condominium is basically blacklisted by the powers-that-be!

Sellers will experience a serious dip in showings before and after the G-20, and there will be ZERO during.

2.  Buyers

Before you just assume that I’m going to argue the inverse of the “sellers” point above, think again.

It’s not that I feel for the buyers because they can’t view properties in CityPlace; if anything, that’s a benefit. 🙂

But rather, imagine trying to maneuver your way through the downtown core while the G-20 is going on and battling all the traffic and mayhem!

The other day, I finished up showings at 20 Stewart Street (King/Portland) and had 45 minutes to get to Woodbine & Danforth during rush hour.  I believe it was about 5:45PM.  I drive like a maniac, and it still took me 35 minutes.

Now imagine having to do that same drive next Saturday afternoon.  How long do you think it will take?

I can’t imagine that many buyers will choose the 26th and 27th of June as the opportune days to go condo shopping in downtown Toronto!

3.  Lawyers & Mortgage Brokers

These two guys are critical if you have a real estate deal closing, and right now, they’re playing a wicked game of “chicken and egg.”

My real estate lawyer is telling me that none of the bankers will be working next week, and we need to push back any closings we have.

My mortgage broker is telling me that lawyers aren’t going in to the office, and they can’t coordinate the transfer of funds in time.

Amid all the finger pointing is a lost fact: they’re both right.

Much of the financial district will be shut down next week, and if any integral cog in the real estate wheel isn’t firing (buyer/seller/lawyer/financier), then a deal won’t be closing in time.

I have already signed two amendments this past week to move closing dates on June 23rd and June 28th well into July.

Perhaps it’s a “safe play” or a needless precaution, but better safe than sorry.

4.  Realtors

I’ll work any day, any time, and any place.

I have no problem showing one client a property on a Saturday afternoon as I don’t consider this enough to “ruin” my day.  I’m my own boss, and I love my job, so I have nobody to blame if I’m overworked but myself.

But you know what?  I think the city is going to be nuts next weekend, and I may just take the weekend off.

I guess if I had an out-of-town client in for a single day, I would bite the bullet and stock up on bottled water and gasoline for the long journey through the city.  I might pack my trunk with rope, a tent, a hunting knife, and some bug-repellent as well.

But barring that, I think I’m going to lay low for the weekend.

And something tells me that about 29,000 other Realtors are going to use this weekend to whittle wood, build Lego castles, name comets and constellations, and partake in other classic Realtor-favorites.

5.  Golf & Cottages

Why do I think that Toronto residents will be heading out of the city in droves?

Does anybody have a cottage I can come to?  I make a wicked brunch!

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

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  1. LC

    at 3:46 pm

    And of course, Torontonians are not allowed to complain about the disruption to our lives or the waste of our taxes.

    One other real estate segment that will be affected: People moving out of places they sold. I packed and moved earlier than scheduled to avoid this whole mess.

  2. George

    at 7:26 pm

    Why do the leaders of 20 large nations not know what videoconferencing is?

  3. Krupo

    at 10:31 pm

    Hippies can use skype, they need a junket.

    Good points, but I’d argue Y2K wasn’t a big deal *BECAUSE* there was so much prep to deal with it.

    This on the other hand… paying each dirty hippie $5000 to stay home would only cost about $200,000,000…. we’d still save $800,000,000 – more than enough to build a huge-ass fence if they really wanted to.

  4. LM

    at 8:39 pm

    I went for a “G20” walk yesterday (I live at King & Spadina) just to see what the fuss was about. 11:30pm on a Tuesday evening and there were on average 8 policemen
    (it ranged from 6-15) at every single intersection from the corner of lue Jays Way and Wellington, along Wellington to Simcoe and then back along Front.
    Made me think that the authorities’ fears are more along the lines of Al Qaeda than beardy weirdies 🙂

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