It’s a book chronicling 140 years of real estate calamity, colossal greed and even “skulduggery,” yet its name is Land of Destiny.
When explaining the title, author Jesse Donaldson’s voice straddles between black humour, disbelief and a faint touch of hopelessness.
Land of Destiny, as it turns out, was how the city was marketed to newcomers in a 1910 magazine clipping.
“It looked no different than the stuff you’d see in real estate brochures today,” Donaldson said. “It was fascinating to go back through all of this stuff over 130 years and seeing the same kinds of things being said, not just about affordability, but the rhetoric around the real estate industry.”
The recurring themes that pop up throughout Land of Destiny are the worst of the worst: Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) employees amassing vast wealth through deception and insider trading, outright lies and political corruption spanning decades.
So what’s different now?
“I was fascinated by how little things have changed,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson’s book covers the time period spanning 1862 — the time of the first land sale in the West End — up until Expo ’86 with good reason. As Donaldson explains, the forces of corruption and greed that led up to 1986 are still very much at play today.
“Politically, we were naïve at best about what happens when you let rich people do whatever they want, and that’s what happened during the recession in the 1980s,” Donaldson said. “That’s permeated every element of our society here.”
It took Donaldson about a year to write and research the book, and when asked for the most obscene nugget of greed he uncovered, he paused.
“That’s a competitive category,” Donaldson replied.
The 37-year-old settles on the story of how the CPR made its way to Vancouver, despite many believing and investing in the fact that the rail line would end in Port Moody.
According to Donaldson, the skulduggery began in 1881. Word of the line ending in Port Moody got out and investors quickly scooped up and subsequently flipped that land for huge profits.
Angered by the fact that others were making money and not them, CPR officials quickly swooped in and began their backroom dealings with provincial and city officials.
The terminus ended up in Port Moody, but the trunk line — where all the goods and people ended up — was extended to Coal Harbour.
Lies, cover-ups and vast sums of money kept enough mouths shut for the plan to go off without a hitch.
“Nobody saw this coming,” Donaldson said. “Suddenly, the CPR built this railway line to Port Moody, everybody was celebrating and then they said, ‘Just kidding, we’re actually going to keep going.’ It ended up in court for years and all the investors in Port Moody lost their shirts and all the friends of the CPR executives made an obscene amount of money.”
Donaldson says he’s been asked numerous times about how to fix what plagues real estate in Vancouver, to which he responds “the answer is so unsexy.”
New policies and regulations around rent controls, better housing projects that serve more people and strong legislation around money laundering and asset disclosure are a good start, Donaldson said.
All three levels of government need to first agree on the scope of the problem, and then collectively act on it.
“The challenges we’re facing aren’t new, they’re just bigger,” Donaldson said. “The volume has been turned up and the velocity has gone up but it’s all the same kinds of people doing the same kinds of things.”
Donaldson’s book is available now through Anvil Press. A book launch party is slated for 6 p.m. tonight (Dec. 19) at Resurrection Spirits, 1672 Franklin St.
Toronto is the only North American real estate market considered in bubble territory – The Globe and Mail
Toronto home prices are overvalued, making it the only North American city at high risk of being in a bubble, according to a new report on global real estate conditions by UBS.
The bank ranked Toronto as No. 3 in its annual bubble index, following Munich and Frankfurt. Seven of the 25 global cities assessed were in the high-risk category. Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Paris were below Toronto.
The report defines a bubble as being a period of a substantial and sustained mispricing of homes.
On the flip side, Chicago had the lowest ranking and was labelled undervalued, while Madrid, Warsaw and Milan were considered fair valued.
UBS real estate analyst, Jonathan Woloshin, said “there is a greater chance of price stagnation or price decline” in cities like Toronto than in places like Chicago. “Does that mean it will happen? No. But the risk is certainly greater,” he said.
The UBS report stressed that it was not predicting when a bubble would burst. “Overvaluation and undervaluation can go on for quite a long period of time,” Mr. Woloshin said.
But the report said a change in the economy, investor sentiment or a major increase in housing supply could trigger a decline in home prices.
The report looks at imbalances in real estate markets, including the relationship between home prices and household income. This is the fourth straight year that Toronto has been in the bank’s bubble zone, taking the top spot in 2017. Vancouver also made it to the No. 1 spot in 2016, but this year the UBS index did not classify the city as being in the highest risk zone.
Toronto’s home prices have increased, “yet affordability is already stretched,” the report said. It also said the “expected appreciation of the Canadian dollar will curb the appeal of Toronto’s property to foreign buyers when travel restrictions are lifted.”
Toronto is Canada’s second-priciest real estate market after Vancouver. After an eight-week slowdown during March, April and May, home resales and prices in Toronto have reached record highs. In August, the average prices for detached houses and semidetached houses in the city jumped more than 20 per cent to $1,505,100 and $1,166,226, respectively, compared with August of last year.
Although home resales and prices across most of the country have rebounded to prepandemic levels, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has forecast that a correction in the market could see home prices fall between 9 per cent and 18 per cent.
Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.
Know your commitment about paying a real estate brokerage commission before you sign a listing agreement – Toronto Star
Should home sellers have to pay commission on a sale if the transaction doesn’t close?
The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), an industry group representing realtors, thinks so. It publishes the listing agreement which is used in virtually every real estate transaction in Ontario.
Recently I reviewed an OREA listing agreement that a client was about to sign. My comments surprised him and led to a number of negotiated changes.
The agreement says that the seller will pay the full commission “for any valid offer to purchase the property from any source whatsoever obtained during the listing period and on the terms and conditions set out in this agreement.”
There is no explanation of what is meant by a “valid” offer.
The agreement also says that the commission is payable on the scheduled closing date even if the transaction is not completed, “if such non-completion is owing or attributable to the seller’s default or neglect.”
The agreement obliges the seller to pay full commission whether or not a transaction closes. Even if, for example, the title is defective, if the buyer is unable or unwilling to close or if the house is damaged by fire or flood.
This obligation to pay commission has been upheld in the Ontario courts. In 2008, Richard Fody listed a parcel of vacant land with T. L. Willaert Realty Ltd. for sale at $199,900. Some months later, after a number of rejected offers, Willaert’s buyer submitted an unconditional offer at the full asking price.
Fody never accepted the offer and the deal did not close. Willaert sued Fody for its commission in Small Claims Court and won. Fody appealed to Superior Court and lost again.
“Acceptance of the offer is not required,” the court ruled. “The listing agreement clearly contemplated payment of the commission upon presentation of an offer at the full asking price.”
A similar case arose in 2018 with a different result. In April, 2017, Marlene Nemeth listed her home with Homelife Eagle Realty, a brokerage owned by Hams Ohrstrom. A month later, she received a $900,000 offer but the buyer couldn’t close on the purchase.
Even though the deal fell through, Ohrstrom demanded payment of commission and eventually sued Nemeth in Small Claims Court.
Based on the listing agreement, Ohrstrom was clearly entitled to the commission but after the story was publicized on Global News, the brokerage dropped the case.
Last week I emailed Tim Hudak, CEO of OREA, and members of its forms committee responsible for the listing agreement. I asked how the organization defines a “valid” offer, if it was the intention of the form that commission is payable whether or not the deal closes, and for whatever reason it may not close.
A spokesperson declined to answer any of my questions (and accused me of seeking legal advice). The form, however, is explained on the OREA website behind a members-only wall.
Sellers should always think twice before refusing to pay their real estate agents. But I also advise sellers to seek legal advice when listing their properties for sale with an OREA listing agreement.
Delta Media upgrades its Builders and Communities Platform for Real Estate Brokerages – GlobeNewswire
CANTON, Ohio, Sept. 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Delta Media Group Inc., one of America’s most established and largest broker technology solutions providers, is launching a newly updated website service that allows real estate brokers to showcase affiliated home builders and communities.
The latest improvement to Delta Media’s robust DeltaNET 6 platform, makes it easier than ever for brokerages to feature each home builder they represent, putting a spotlight on new home listings, sales models, videos, virtual tours, floor plans, documents for downloading, maps and more.
Available from directly inside the brokerage website, affiliated builders receive “a website within a website.” Each updated section features a builder Home page and a navigation menu to give consumers more in-depth insight into the builder, new home offerings, links to new communities, and a contact feature to learn more about the builder.
New home communities have also been upgraded, giving real estate brokerages the ability to quickly create a builder community, extending the builder’s marketing to reach more consumers. The new communities’ landing page features an interactive Google map, which offers the ability to search for new communities by a specific county or school district. Once a community is selected, the website displays photos of the area, features of the community that can include additional videos and photography, homes listed for sale, its location on a map, hours of the builder sales office and contact numbers, and other videos, such as a walkthrough of the community.
Consumers can also search specifically for new home models by county, school district, price range, and the number of beds, sorting specifically by single-family detached homes or condo/townhomes, or both. Each model home also has a feature listing page on the broker’s website.
“By improving the brokerages’ ability to showcase builders and their communities, it strengthens the business bond between the broker, their agents, and the builder,” says Michael Minard, CEO and owner of Delta Media. “Builders know that real estate agents sell 85% of all homes, and they want innovative new ways to connect with agents and their clients. Delta is working to create a stronger bridge between builders, agents and their clients.”
Minard notes that Coldwell Banker Prime, a leading brokerage in Upstate New York, is among the first to debut the new Delta Media web service here. Coldwell Banker Prime, among the top 10 Coldwell Banker offices in the U.S., features 12 builders it has relationships with and dozens of their communities, all accessible from its main brokerage website.
A sample of a Coldwell Banker Prime affiliated builder community is available here.
More information about Delta Media and its new DeltaNET 6 platform are online at deltamediagroup.com.
About Delta Media Group
Delta Media Group, located in Canton, Ohio, is a leading and trusted technology partner for many of real estate’s top brands. Creator of the DeltaNET 6, real estate’s most advanced all-in-one digital marketing, back office, and website platform, Delta Media Group is the largest family-owned and operated technology innovator with no outside investors or VC funding. Delta Media Group is renowned for saving clients money while reducing the frustration of managing multiple online technologies. Established in 1994, Delta Media Group remains a top real estate technology innovator. Discover more at deltamediagroup.com.
Victor Lund (805) 709-6696
Kevin Hawkins (206) 866-1220
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/fc5f291e-b5c3-453d-ac2d-b3b7d57ab275
Toronto is the only North American real estate market considered in bubble territory – The Globe and Mail
Canadian security firm Garda goes hostile in $5.2B bid for British company G4S – CBC.ca
InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 16:30 EST – InvestorIntel
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Richmond BBQ spot speaks out about coronavirus rumours Vancouver Is Awesome
- Media12 hours ago
Presidential debate: How the world's media reacted – BBC News
- Health23 hours ago
Doctors fear flu shot, PPE supply will lag: survey
- Health22 hours ago
Up to Half a Million Sharks Could Be Killed to Produce Coronavirus Vaccine, Warn Conservationists
- Politics23 hours ago
The Only "Black Issue" In American Politics Is Opposition to Racial Inequality
- Economy22 hours ago
U.S. housing market to remain a bright spot in a weak economy
- Business19 hours ago
COVID-19 in B.C.: Vancouver care home dealing with second outbreak
- Science23 hours ago
SpaceX found surprising heat-shield wear after NASA astronaut mission
- Business20 hours ago
Disney to lay off nearly 28K workers at California, Florida locations due to coronavirus