To intervene or not in Toronto’s market

by REP10 Apr 2017
A broker has taken issue with a recent Toronto Sun column entitled “Step away from the housing market, Liberals”

Last week, Jerry Agar, a conservative talk radio host, published an article in the Toronto Sun arguing against government intervention in Toronto’s real estate market.

“Housing in Toronto is not unaffordable,” Agar wrote.

He cited March 3 statistics by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) that determined half of Toronto buyers are first-timers.

Agar argued owners of vacant properties pay their fair share of taxes, and that government suggestions to tax those owners further -- in a bid to cool the market -- are unwarranted.

And he also argued that foreign homebuyers are not the problem, citing TREB’s stats that they only make up 5% of the market.

The article didn’t sit well with Toronto broker Craig Howie of Dominion Lending Centres.

“For him to say it’s a completely free market and the market is managing itself is just incredibly ignorant,” Howie told “The market isn’t managing itself; Millenials aren’t being able to purchase homes and if they are, I’d love to know how many of them are purchasing them with their parents.”

Indeed, it appears a growing number of buyers are turning to family members for help with purchasing a home.

According to Mortgage Professionals Canada’s most recent Annual State of the Residential Mortgage Market in Canada Survey Report, parental gifts for home purchases have doubled since 2000, with 15% of buyers reporting that sort of familial help.

It should be mentioned the MPC’s report covers the entire country; it can be assumed that a higher number of buyers requiring parental help are located in pricier markets, such as Toronto.

Howie also took umbrage with Agar’s chosen foreign buyer stats.

“The stats from TREB and foreign homebuyers (are questionable) … purely anecdotally, if you talk to any real estate agent they’re seeing a lot more homes being bought by (foreign buyers),” Howie said.

Several industry pundits have suggested foreign buyer share is much larger than the number touted by the real estate board.

In 2014, developer Brad Lamb estimated foreign buyers make up 50% of the condo market in Toronto.

More recently, Carl Langschmidt, president of,suggested foreign investment accounts for about 70% of all condos sold in Toronto’s CityPlace neighbourhood.

This article originally appeared on REP sister publication,

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