Trish Bongard Godfrey

The Next Wave of Buyers

02 September 2015
Trish Bongard Godfrey

A lot seems to be happening, and yet not much is happening. The real estate market hummed along this summer and the stock markets, as I write, are giving investors a bit of a ride. The federal election campaign has kicked off, though I suspect not everyone is as focused on the minutia of the campaign as I am; and the stock market hasn’t yet caused a flood of calls to agents in our office telling them they have a margin call, and need to sell. Next week, when people have their kids settled in school and are back from holidays, I imagine we’ll see more interest in the election, at least. There are some interesting differences in social policy and economic philosophy that are being presented. I hope people get engaged – and vote. 

Over the summer I saw a lot of visiting friends who hail from the US, UK and Europe. To some, the Toronto real estate market seems inflated and overpriced. To others, it just seems bewildering. One thing about being a realtor in Toronto is that people seem to have an opinion about where the market is going, so I had many interesting conversations about the direction of the market. Of course, not everyone agrees. But here’s my take on the mid- and long-term prospects, and why. 

1. Great Global Reputation

The Economist has ranked Toronto as #1 in North America on their 2015 Safe Cities Index. It's not the first time Toronto has featured prominently on lists of the world's most liveable cities. That is something really worth remembering. While we citizens may complain about land transfer taxes and aging infrastructure, globally we look very good.

2. Low Canadian Dollar

The Canadian dollar has tanked, and so real estate (they aren’t making any more of it) has become more attractive. It seems obvious that this is good for manufacturing exports and it's good for offshore buyers making investments in Canadian dollars.

3. Refugees and Migration within Europe

Less obvious is the anecdotal evidence of the pressures on the EU, and what I want to predict will be the next big wave. I have had several relocation calls and referrals in the past few months of Buyers from the UK, US, and Europe. These are all educated, economically stable, capable people who seem prepared to pick up stakes and bring their families to Canada. Several are Canadians from abroad who want to move back. Some are moving their businesses, some are retiring, but all want to restart their lives here.  

As I consider the very difficult refugee situation and migrant pressure on member states of the European Union, I can’t help but believe that there will be more people who simply can’t or won’t cope with the changes and pressure to their societies. It is bound to push some people out, and that makes Toronto, Canada attractive.

Our current immigration policy leans towards encouraging entrepreneurs and people with the means to invest in Canada. I think we’ll find a lot more of these people choosing Canada, and Toronto in particular – and it’s going to happen sooner, and faster, than we think.