Does Garth Turner hate Toronto? or Just Realtors?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.,
Garth Turner in his blog the Greater Fool "Hot on the heels of realtors bashing each other and throwing elbows over a new condo development in mid-town Toronto comes more evidence dark forces have taken over the GTA". Have a look for yourself about the remarks.

The comment that I found interesting is here;

It’s called River City. The ‘river’ in question is a channelized concrete ditch full of dead water called the Don. And in a crook of roadway, where the six-lane divided Don Valley Parkway leaps skyward to join the elevated Gardiner Expressway, on acres which sat for decades as an industrial wasteland, will rise River City. I will let you imagine.

One feature of this oasis of five buildings and 6,000 suites to be built over the next three years, is a four-acre park. But not just any park – this is the world’s first park built under highway ramps. Yes, under the Richmond-Adelaide ramps, which are choked with rush hour traffic and form one of the main arteries into The Big Smoke, will be bucolic bocci courts, children’s playgrounds and all the pigeons you’ll ever want to meet.

Now, I believe in Urban renewal. I believe in Rapid Transit. I am a proponent of neighbourhood and community. Population shifts in Canada and net migration to the Golden Horseshoe make us a destination. Endless suburbs to the east, west and north are proving to be a transit and gridlock fiasco.
So we need to revisit the Cherry Street side of the city, and the revitalization of the Don River wetlands. To that point I had done some reading, as a curious realtor, as to what might be.

Lower Don Lands Wins International Best Futuristic Design Award

Lower Don Lands plans have received the 'Best Futuristic Design Award’ in one of the world’s leading sustainability focused development industry design competitions. The Keating Channel Precinct, the Lower Don Lands’ first planned community, was recognized at the Building Exchange (BEX) Conference. The fifth annual BEX International Awards, held in partnership with the World Green Building Council, promote global standards for environmentally sound buildings, large-scale developments and infrastructure. Judged by a panel of leading experts, the awards celebrate sustainability, innovation, efficiency and collaboration in the built environment and demonstrate consideration of the issues surrounding climate change, sustainable communities and future legacies.
The Lower Don Lands is also the subject of another recent video created by Waterfront Toronto. The video, which is available for viewing on YouTube, features a flip animation that outlines the plans for the Lower Don Lands. View the video.


Winning an Award? This is a vastly different perspective than I read from the Greater Fool. Toronto is a growing and congested city that needs to deal with real issues of urban planning, hydro generation, How will we move Millions of people daily to work and back?, water cleanliness and quality of life of the residents.
This site on the Lower Don Lands could have been the Olympic Village had we won the bid. What would the fool have said then, Toronto's economy doesn't need tourist dollars? While we obviously read the same news sources, maybe I am just a glass half full person.

Please read Garth's Blog. But Please also read the comments and rhetoric. Make an informed decision. You are welcome to comment here also/
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Rainmaker
1,533,723
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

David,

Every so often Garth Turner has to be right. He relies on that because he can always refer to something negative.

Brian

Nov 29, 2009 02:41 AM #1
Rainmaker
246,651
David Pylyp
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., - Toronto, ON

I guess the negative perspective of sell now before the market goes up more would just be silly?

But alas the market is a fickle and ever changing event.

Three months from now we could be..........

 

Make you suggestion

Nov 29, 2009 02:57 AM #2
Anonymous
Svend

Hello from Miami! Do you want me to tell you your future? I'll be real accurate.

Nov 29, 2009 10:54 AM #4
Rainmaker
246,651
David Pylyp
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., - Toronto, ON

The future will be the future

The only obversations I am able to accurately discuss are historic.

David Pylyp  Living in Toronto

Nov 29, 2009 11:02 AM #5
Anonymous
Svend

True story: I just negoiated my rent on a beachfront condo on Miami Beach down by 150$. Three years ago my place rented for 1.6k. I pay 925$. I get a good deal, though. I'm one of two or three people in South Florida who didn't ruin their credit by buying things I couldn't afford. Now, landlords are eager beaver to take a loss with me as a tenant. True story. From angry renter to happy renter in 3 years flat. By the by, the HOA fee is 425$/mo and property taxes 4k/year.

Anyhow, I remember reading that Miami was different. Hey, all the rich South Americans are buying (though the schools lost 3,000 kids in Sept.. where'd everybody go?)! And the weather.. Credit was cheap. Prices always go up. Oh, maybe a small correction from time to time. Whatever happened to that?

Reading about Canada gives me deja vu. My friends in Red Deer pay more for rent in their crappy little shoeboxes than do I.

Nov 29, 2009 11:10 AM #6
Anonymous
Garth Turner

I did not author the comment attributed to me, above. Please remove it.

Thank you,

Garth Turner

Nov 29, 2009 11:42 AM #7
Anonymous
emma

First of all, you need a map.  The award was given to the lower don lands project (south of Lakeshore Blvd).  Garth was merely discussing one particularly poorly placed project almost a kilometer north of that development site (north of Eastern Ave.).

http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/dbdocs//4a081e7c9fba2.pdf

http://rivercitytoronto.com/flash.php

http://paulafletcher.ca/site/may-2009-newsletter-leading-edge-plans-for-lower-don-lands-unveiled/

Secondly, the BEX awards are run by the World Green Building Council - a partner of the Clinton Climate Initiative, which is coincidentally, "providing support" to the Lower Donlands project.  It's all too circular for me to put any weight on what the award means!

http://www.worldgbc.org/about-worldgbc/who-we-are

Thirdly, even if it was remotely close to the development area, the condo Garth discussed is for sale NOW while the lower don lands project ‘might' begin in 2011 and is, in total, a 25 year plan.  Speculators beware - after 20 months, the environmental assessment is yet to be completed and most of all, the funding is not in place!   

Why would Garth's negativity on buying a poorly designed 349 sq. ft. coffin in the middle of some highway ramps lead you to believe that he must hate Toronto or realtors?  Would you tell your kids to buy trash like that for $180K?

Btw, I would have entered my email but your site doesn't guarantee it won't be posted.

 

Nov 29, 2009 04:29 PM #8
Anonymous
Tyler Durden

Everyone is trying to sell something. Kind of funny that all the real estate agents will never tell you it's a bad time to buy a home, you need to keep talking up the market to keep making a living. Garth needs to sell books so he will keep talking down the market. That being said if you can't see that real estate is overvalued then you are either delusional or don't want to see it because your livelihood depends on people continuing to buy homes.

Nov 29, 2009 11:56 PM #9
Rainmaker
246,651
David Pylyp
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., - Toronto, ON

Dear Mr. Durden,

Most of the clientelle that I strive to serve are long term home owners who are improving and/or recently become retiree's or senior's that wish to downsize. Price per square foot when you are buying and selling is immaterial. If you met me in person you would realize that I advocate prudence.

Thank you for your comment that I am delusional.  I bought my first house in '84 at 17.5% interest and ultimately the issue was affordability.  $300 K homes and condos are affordable at less than 2.25% carry costs.  Again Affordability.

94,000 units traded hands last year in the Toronto Golden Horse served by the Toronto real estate board.  2009 seems to be following suit.

Nov 30, 2009 12:12 AM #10
Anonymous
Tyler Durden

Where did I call you delusional in my previous post??? I think you fall into the other bucket.

Nov 30, 2009 05:38 AM #12
Anonymous
David C

Garth's message may seem like constant negativity, but I think it's because he's striving to tell the other side of the story. For a potential buyer to recieve true professional assitance with a purchase of a home, they would need to be made aware of not just the potential positives, but also many risks of purchasing real esate.

It appears that the RE industry focuses entirely on pumping up the market. RE agents and RE press only seem to givie people reasons to buy, without giving them proper risk analysis. Since the RE community act like sales people and not professional advisors, they are making it necessary for the negative side of the story to be told by people like Garth. And if it weren't for him making the public aware of the possible risks, who would? Certainly the RE agents aren't.

Garth is telling "the other side of the story" (which indeed is very negative) because the story we hear constantly from the RE idustry of "it's always a great time to buy RE" is overly optimistic, self-serving, and is going to land a lot of people in finacial trouble. Someone has to balance the scales in this very important area of the economy, and I think Garth is doing a great job. If the RE community would clean up it's act and give people balanced advice, including balanced market and risk assesment, there would be no need or market for Garth to blog or write books.

Dave

Nov 30, 2009 06:57 AM #13
Anonymous
ralph

I think you may have missed Garth's point. I think most people are in favor of urban renewal and all that good stuff about community living.

But at issue is people buying properties at grossly inflated prices with borrowed money. I would like to see securities commissions bring in regulations like existing ones for investment advisors in adhering the know your client rules.

As far as I am concerned real estate agents who market these types of products are nothing more than snake oil salesmen selling to people who can least afford them.

Nov 30, 2009 07:23 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,533,723
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

David,

I noted the original post by "Garth". I am pleased to see that Garth Turner has provided a comment.

The underlying truth in what he says, is the economy is really not as good as the optimists would have you believe.

 

Brian

Nov 30, 2009 11:21 PM #15
Anonymous
Betty B

David:

I think he just doesn't like to be wrong.  He has a very negative attitude. Too bad! Look at the paper today in the business section -- we are improving.  Home prices will go up in the spring and interest rates will follow by mid - year -- by prediction.

Betty B

Nov 30, 2009 11:33 PM #16
Anonymous
Jon K

I am curious if you will issue an update. Garth's post and your post refer to two totally seperate and different building sites.  The one you refer to is a sweeping reimagination of the LOWER donlands. As much as I love the video, and the concept, I don't think it will happen in Toronto, but I love the plan. 

The other, the one GArth refers to is, is a series of buildings bounded by the River (althought NOT waterfront), the DVP and the off ramps, and the rail lines to the south and is  served by almost no public transit and bellowing with car noise night and day.  When I lived downtown I used to ride by the boarded up area (it is a huge piece of land) to get to the river trails.  There is nothing there. The only thign that has changed is the bright blue boarding has faded. Unlike the disterilly district, which was almost in range of existing downtown, and had old buildings, some charm, and existing park sapce at the esplanade this place is just a giant flat gravel parking lot right now. There is a cool little CN swithing house at the south side, and some charming old victorian houses (rooms for rent) scattered about, but that's it.  I see Riverdale, the sequel here in 25 years.  

Dec 01, 2009 03:25 AM #17
Rainmaker
246,651
David Pylyp
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., - Toronto, ON

Hello

Thank you for your responses.

The video's that I am referring to are produced by Waterfront Toronto and titled Sustainable Urban Design on Toronto's Waterfront  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEQiNXXgu4g&NR=1

whether you are 500 meters south of or north of;  You will see the Don Valley Parkway Ramps and Gardiner Expressway.  Is this any different than the residents that have purchased into City Place ( beside Sky dome to Spadina )  and listen to concerts or Blue Jays Games at Skydome.

The video describes what some may preceive at Utopian   But I see -  land reclamation,  reuse of resources, great urban planning, the transformation of grey lands (previous industrial) co op and subsidised housing beside regular market ownership, all beside the lake revitilization.  There are opportunities here for GREENING the environment and improving the quality of life in Toronto.

Ultimately where to live is up to you.  Lately I have met a strong demographic, that wants the downtown lifestyle and is prepared to deal with its associated challenges or opportunities.

Thank you for making a comment on my blog.

 

 

 

Dec 01, 2009 07:55 AM #18
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