There. I’ve gone and done it. A snazzy headline to catch your attention which suggests some long-winded and divinely accurate analysis of the future of Toronto Real Estate. Heck, keep reading, we might even invite you to buy a book or attend a seminar…
Ahem, sorry for any disappointment.
As my past clients know, when the conversation of investment comes up, I really try to focus attention on what I believe to be the true consideration: what will living in a particular home, in a particular neighbourhood, truly mean to you? What kind of ‘investment’ in your own happiness and sense of home are you making? What is the likelihood that your home purchase will satisfy your own needs for a safe, comfortable and appropriate PLACE to go about the business of living? No spreadsheets, no return on capital, no market hocus-pocus and no diatribes about the future investment returns of your decision. I will, alas, never get a radio show.
What has happened in the city, is that the investor-driven marketplace has really eclipsed in both profile and perhaps dollar value the portion of the market that I chose to focus on: “Real People Living in Real Home” (trademark pending). The industry calls these people end-users. Frightening. Yet, the enormous amount of the media attention given to the fate of Toronto’s real estate market has inadvertently focused on the challenges faced by high-rise developments. What that entirely obscures is that, just like soya bean futures, the highrise marketplace has been dominated and indeed driven by investors. These are investors who have created their own micro-economy that is practically a little city-state of buyers who don’t much care what the quality of “living” has to do with their investment. The city-state has taken over the topic.
So my concern is that the ‘correction’ happening high in the condo skies risks white-washing the marketplace that you and I care about – good old fashioned homes. You know, places where people buy to live?
So, when you come back to the ground – quite literally – you find the real marketplace. In lowrise homes with front yards and backyards, in delicate mid-rise buildings set in existing neighbourhoods, in cherished buildings built before the boom – these are the places we need to look to truly understand the value of real estate. In the homes that people purchase in order to inhabit, to rent out basements, to plan kitchen renovations or drag ikea boxes up the stairs – in the very homes that taken together create neighbourhoods of invested and engaged families. And what do you know? This market is vibrant and robust and exciting – homes are changing hands, first time buyers are seeking out delicate midrise buildings with livable floorplans, and families are moving a few streets over to get more space with baby on the way.
Think about that: real homes, for real people, in real neighbourhoods. They are as popular as oxygen, as vital as a Sunday roast of beef. So don’t let the headlines obscure what’s really at stake here, which is your happiness, your comfort and your joy of knowing what it feels like to be home.
There will be no seminar. Sorry.