From The Desk Of Brad J Lamb

Now it isn’t everyday I post something written by a competitor however, I thought this article written in one of his newsletter’s a few months ago worthy of a post…

Brad J. Lamb Realty Newsletter, January 2009


Who could argue that Toronto is the best place in the world to invest in real estate?

What do I mean by that? Simply this – for safety of capital and future appreciation, where else in the world could be better?

Looking at Canada, Toronto has the country’s largest and most diverse economy and population. The GTA employs 3.1 Million people (1.35 Million in Toronto) in a massive array of sectors (automotive, banking & finance, information, manufacturing, bio-tech, construction, service, transportation and more). From through the 3rd quarter of 2008, Toronto’s economic growth rate has varied from 1.7% – 3.7% (rarely negative and usually not euphorically positive). This all bodes well for a stable, reasonable economy.

Over the past eight years, our residential real estate pricing has increased an average of 5% per year (from a low of 3% to a high of 8%). It’s difficult to fill a bubble with 5% annual price growth (or a 61% increase over 8 years).

Compare this to Vancouver (100% increase over 6 years), Calgary (44% increase over 2005), and Edmonton (57% increase over 2006), and you can see which cities have a bubble. Toronto is not one of them.

Toronto’s GTA enjoys a healthy population growth rate of approximately 2% per year – we are one of the fastest growing large cities in North America. Our downtown core is the most vibrant next to New York City and perhaps Chicago. We have experienced a phenomenal increase in spending and development in the arts with a new AGO, ROM, Opera House, National Ballet School, and soon to be completed Sony Centre, TIFF Bell LightBox among many other new and exciting world-class projects.

Toronto has never seen a five-star hotel until now, with the likes of the Shangri-La, The Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Trump, and the Hazelton. Hip hotels like the Thompson, the Maple Leaf Square, “Le Germain,” and W’s Aloft are all under construction with NYC’s Gansevoort Hotel having just been announced. This has created a hotel explosion that will excite tourists from around the world.

Several new commercial high-rises are being built – The Telus Tower, RBC Centre, and Bay-Adelaide Centre along with a few more just completed and others on the drawing board.

New neighborhoods and hold have been dramatically altered; Yorkville will never be the same with thousands of new high-end condos completed and being built (The Regency, 18 Yorkville, One St. Thomas, The Four Seasons, The Windsor Arms, The Museum House, One Bedford, 100 Yorkville, and more). This small village will literally burst with eager new customers for all the shops and restaurants.

King West has seen the creation and reinforcement of three new neighborhoods.

King/Spadina has boomed with development (M5V, Glas, The Hudson, Charlie, Victory, Quad Lofts, District Lofts, Charlotte Lofts, and the Festival Tower).

King/Niagara has exploded with growth, becoming one of the hippest, most sought-after neighborhoods to reside. The area has filled with restaurants, cafes, bars, and design stores, not to mention thousands of new condominium homes (66 Portland, 20 Stewart, 32 Stewart, Zed, 60 Bathurst, 550 Wellington Condominium & Hotel, 75 Portland, 650 King West, The Fashion House, 455 Adelaide, 20 Niagara, 400 Wellington, and more).

King/Strachan and Liberty Village have been created from scratch. A master plan was devised to include an emphasis on both business and commercial development with residential growth. Virtually every residential building was created or launched within the last ten years (Parc, 1000 King, 984 King, The Toy Factory, DNA, Bridge, The King West, The Liberty Village, 1001 King Street West, etc.).

Cityplace was carved out of a rail yard waste-land, the 9500 new homes (some 19 buildings) have changed the face of Toronto for the better (not necessarily the best) and filled the downtown core with 20,000 new people to feed the economy and enliven the streets.

We are so lucky to have experienced this all in a little over a decade. The last thirteen years have seen more changes to Toronto than in the previous thirty years. Toronto The Good is now also Toronto the Big, Rich, Fun, and Safe.

There is no better place to live or do business when you look at all the aspects of what is important to people. We are a rich city, but on a global scale we are not expensive. I believe that Toronto should rank as the #1 city in the world to live. Canadian banks are the safest, most profitable, and least risky on the planet, and most of the head offices are in our downtown.

We are the only G20 country that maintained a national government surplus for the last thirteen years and partly because of this, we are least affected by the economic crisis. We have literally reduced our national debt by $105 Billion or 19% over those thirteen years. We are the financial envy of most of the world.

We have the second largest oil reserves on the planet. We have huge resources of water, gold, uranium, nickel, diamonds, potash, wood, grain, beef, and virtually every other natural resource possible.

We offer free medical aid to all that need it. We have a respected rule of law, and a very low murder rate that keeps our citizens safe. Our universities are rated as some of the best in the world, educating and training our students to become a part of an extremely competent workforce.

Toronto is one of the most sought-after settlement locations for immigrants of the world to live, and because of this our population grows steadily and offers a true multicultural feel to our city. Torontonians and Canadians are truly blessed with a fantastic standard of living. It’s so easy to take all of this for granted.

Many people seem intent on betting against Toronto. There is perverse pleasure in another’s failure. Negativity puts bums in seats, but as Torontonians we will not go backwards. This is a forward-moving, prosperous and growing city. The explosion of mostly good growth will continue, at a slower pace, but it will continue.

Our beautiful, rich, clean, safe, fun, tolerant, racially diverse city will flourish. It will be a better, richer city still, and yes, that means that real estate prices will rise over the medium and long term.

If you bet against Toronto, you will lose.

Where is the best place in the world to invest in real estate?

I tell you without any doubt, it is Toronto.

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