The Mission of the Toronto Housing Market Podcast
Welcome to the first episode of the Toronto Housing Market Insider podcast. This is a very exciting and also nerve-wracking time in the Toronto real estate scene. Housing prices are at record highs, bidding wars are common, condos are everywhere, and mortgage rates are dirt cheap but hard to access. What’s really going on here?
That’s the mission of this podcast: to cut through the clutter and shed real light on what’s happening.
So who am I, your host, Simon Park?
By day I’m a real estate lawyer and partner with the law firm of Park & Jung LLP in North York. I help clients close the purchase and sale of their homes, as well as refinance their mortgages.
So why am I doing this show?
Perhaps a little about my story will explain why.
My Family’s Foray into Real Estate
My parents were immigrants from Korea. I was born shortly after they arrived. My parents arrived in Canada literally with nothing but $200 in their pockets.
They settled themselves into a rooming house near the Bloor and Christie area of the Annex. A few months later, they found a small apartment in Parkdale, where I was born.
We spent a few years in Scarborough when I was an infant, as my dad worked odd jobs in manufacturing and electrical repair, while my mother worked as an office assistant for a medical practice.
They eventually followed the path that many Korean immigrants of that time took: buying a convenience store. We moved upstairs of the store on Gerrard Street by Jones Avenue.
A few years after saving money from that business, my parents bought their first property on Pape Avenue: a small convenience store plus our living quarters upstairs.
It was one of the proudest moments for my parents, owning their first piece of property in their newly adopted country.
Those were happy times for me. It’s where I first learned to skate and play hockey at the local rink at Withrow Park. I also joined organized sports at the Pape Recreation Centre.
After buying a bigger convenience store, they sold that first property and bought a new one on Kingston Road in Scarborough, where we moved once again.
The store had done well, and the Scarborough property went up in value, so they sold both of those and made their biggest purchase yet: a commercial property that included a supermarket that they would run, plus residential apartment units. It was a great corner property in the traditionally Portuguese area of Dufferin Grove.
We almost lost that property during the recession of the 90’s, but were fortunate to keep it through sheer grit and determination.
They also bought and sold other commercial properties during the heyday of the late 80’s. We also moved twice more into a bigger house each time.
Needless to say, real estate was the path to upward mobility for my parents.
Issues in Toronto Real Estate Today
But in my practice today, I see a very different picture. It’s a picture of increasing difficulty to break into the game of real estate.
Prices have skyrocketed over the last decade, while incomes have stagnated.
Jobs are no longer as plentiful nor secure.
Young people have an especially hard time finding stability and security. The only thing plentiful for young people these days is a mountain of student debt.
Our roads are clogged, and transit systems are maxed out.
The patterns of immigration have changed too. Toronto used to take the lion’s share of the country’s immigrants, but in the past few years, other regions have taken a greater share.
I know that all of these factors affect the Toronto housing market. But to what extent? And how?
These are just some of the issues I’m fascinated by.
And still: how are climbing house prices in the city affecting those communities?
Are people being priced out of neighbourhoods they grew up in? Where will they go?
Will the city become a big enclave for the wealthy?
Who is moving into these areas? Are actually becoming less diverse as a city? How will that affect the character of these neighbourhoods? Will they have an impact on housing prices?
These and many other questions I will try to explore in this series.
What’s to Come
In the next episode, we will touch on an issue we’re all familiar with in the real estate scene: the condo boom that’s taken this city by storm in the last few years.
This condo boom didn’t just come out of nowhere. There were a number of attributable factors that led to it. We’ll speak to someone who has intimate knowledge of this area. It’ll be a great time for insights.
I hope this introduction to the Toronto Housing Market Insider has given you a glimpse of what to expect. And more importantly, I hope it’s sparked your interest to keep tuning in.
Thank you for joining me today, and I hope to have you tune in on the episodes to come.
You’ve been listening to the Toronto Housing Market Insider.