stan cropped webBy Stan Albert

Frankly, I’m sick of seeing newspaper headlines about real estate bubbles.

An adjustment in the marketplace might be welcome in many large cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon and here in Toronto. A close friend of mine, a builder in Toronto and in the USA, often talks about sustainability. “How can we keep building with no end in sight?”  he said to me the other day over dinner. He’s concerned that he and other builders may be overbuilding – that soon there may not be enough buyers in the population to absorb the number of houses and condominiums being built.

Look at the number of immigrants that settle in major cities. They have the money to buy a home.  In many of their home countries, real estate is not affordable.

As an example, a 500-sq.-ft apartment on the outskirts of Paris, France, recently sold for over $1 million (US)!  And yes, I know here in Toronto, we’re slowly reaching that point.  A 450-sq.-ft. condo in upscale Yorkville, here in Toronto, came on to the market at $580,000.

Where am I going with this column? Well, as long as we have the kind of free economy that we’ve enjoyed since 2001, we will continue to be able to sustain this growth. But what the various levels of government have to get their heads around is that we need affordable housing for those who don’t have a great abundance of cash to invest. That’s a topic for a future column.

Where do you, the sales rep or broker, fit into this equation?

For starters, how many of you have contacted an immigration lawyer or facility to introduce yourself and put them on your VIP list?  (Look up the article I wrote about that on

Recently I interviewed several prospects who may be interested in making a change to their brand. Two of these young agents had similar stories about their own successes. They both came to Canada as young boys. Their parents were very poor and they lived in adverse conditions. One of the families was one of the first “boat people” admitted to the country and the other was from a country that was terrorized by rebels revolting against the government.

Each of these men told me their own heart-rending stories and how they struggled to achieve success. They both were in contact with lawyers who specialized in dealing with their fellow countrymen. They helped them to find jobs and affordable rentals until they earned enough money for a down payment on a starter home. That first purchase may have been tight quarters, but in comparison to their home country, it was a palace.

The two young men now deal with buyers and sellers of all races and cultures.

Hard work and a dream of a better life is what sustains them.

Are they concerned about the doomsday headlines?  What do you think?

This world is a better place because of young entrepreneurs like these two gentlemen. They show all of us that if there is a will, there is a way.

I’ve been through at least three recessions over many years and sometimes it takes stories like these to show us that we have to have faith and that hard work never hurt anyone.

Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Crossroads’ iRealty office in Toronto can be reached for consultation at [email protected]. Stan is now celebrating his 44th year as an active real estate professional.


  1. Frank,
    The downturn on the REALTOR side began over 2 years ago (check sales volumes).
    When the downturn happens for consumers it is tied soley to price and that generally increases Volumes for REALTORS.
    The opportunity for explosive growth and radical change to the benefit of consumers only happens when a Downturn affects the Consumer.

    Downturns for the Consumer also increase the demand for the highest skilled, hardest working REALTORS by consumers. You can’t do real estate part time in a Consumer Downturn, it is really a fun, creative and 60 hr/wk business where excellence is rewarded instead of trivialized.

    • Many full time Realtors are as part-time as many, but they have a pension, second income from property perhaps assumed when one could do that more easily, a spouse working, inherited money – or, let’s not forget the number of Realtors who every so often with an incorporated name declare bankruptcy and start over with a slightly different name. Much money for Realtors doesn’t come from real estate sales or didn’t, particularly for those older due to one thing or another. Much in real estate is illusion. Full time versus part-time. I love how so many Realtors with money not from real estate sale denigrate part-time Realtors when they, themselves, weren’t necessarily much else. Oh, right – and then there are the “teams” where the team leads live off the percentage paid by those below doing the work. .

  2. If reading about a potential Real Estate downturn makes you sick, what’s going to happen when it becomes a reality?

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