Impressions of Toronto’s Real Estate Market – GPLEX Trip Recap

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Toronto with the Greater Philadelphia Economy League as part of their annual Leadership Exchange.  The purpose of this exchange is to learn what other cities are doing – what’s working and what isn’t – so that Philadelphia’s leaders can take away lessons to help improve our own city and region.  While I learned a lot about Toronto and their ongoing efforts – one nagging impression I was left with was – “Is Toronto experiencing a bubble?”

As a real estate professional, I was truly impressed by the number of cranes (half of all of the cranes in North America).  I didn’t get a chance to look in depth at either the design or finances of many of the buildings under construction, most of which are condo towers, but, the signs of a bubble were clear.

From the cranes to repeated assertions that the condos were pre-sold (to whom?) to the basic fact that Toronto’s boom is based on a net of 100,000 newcomers a year. This could change overnight – for instance, if the U.S. loosened its immigration policy to allow green cards to people with college degrees, Canadian immigration could dramatically decrease.

This trend is definitely something to watch as Toronto continues to develop and a lesson to keep in mind for Philadelphia’s own growth.  After all, that is what the exchange was all about – figuring out how to continue improving Philadelphia and positioning our region as a great place to live, work, and play.