Us and them

Us and them

There is no ‘us and them’. There is only ‘us’.

As a professional full time Realtor I read and hear a lot about the real estate market, some of which is not entirely accurate. Somehow it seems that we always default to us vs them.

Them currently is buyers from Toronto.

Them currently is buyers from China.

I spoke before about buyers from Toronto and how over the past few years they have only made up about 10% of my home-buying clients. You would think that with the strong internet presence that I have and the fact that my brokerage is in Toronto, and further that my brokerage often sends me clients from Toronto, that if the home buyer horde is arriving daily from Toronto, I would be more than representative of that. You could draw one of two conclusions from these facts.

1) I am not representative of real estate agents working in the region. I’m getting fewer Toronto clients than average.

2) The number of buyers arriving from the GTA is actually smaller than anecdotally reported in the media and thought amongst Waterloo Region Realtors and residents.

I’m not sure which is correct. I’ve heard from three separate Realtors that work with home builders for example that busloads of buyers do in fact arrive from the Toronto area and buy everything that isn’t even nailed up yet.

3) Maybe I’m just not working in the section of the market that is being impacted much.


But lets talk about China

When governments and news organizations draft regulations and talk about foreign buyers, they are mostly talking about China. Just like we don’t know much about Toronto buyers, we don’t know much about China.

We never have.

When I was a kid, China was the sleeping giant. We didn’t know and didn’t want to know what was going on behind the bamboo curtain. In 1969 the Americans landed on the moon. In 1972 Nixon landed in China. The two events had a lot of similarities.

I remember reading a Kurt Vonnegut’s book – Slapstick where the Chinese had invented a way to shrink themselves down to a fraction of their size. There were millions of them but now they were living in their own little world.

So I was reading a story on a website called Better Dwelling titled ‘1 in 5 Canadian Real Estate Agents may be dumber than a 5th grader’. Great title. It pointed out despite selling enough homes to be in the top 5 countries for Chinese investment, we don’t know much about the country.

Many of us can not identify China’s flag or know who their president is. But that is not surprising. What is surprising, is that according to the article, only 2% of China’s population has a passport. Passports are theoretically very important if your buyer is ever going to visit the property they purchase here.

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