I was at a BBQ last night. A Realtor I know socially arrived a bit late who had been closing a sale getting contracts signed etc. We started chatting and I made some references to crazy new condo prices and even more ridiculous entry-level SFH prices. Throughout the conversation I made a couple of references to the status of ownership. I received this in reply: "I don't own my own place. Why would I own something that would cost me three times what I pay in rent?"
On new condos: "I've sold a couple. I try and stay away from them to be honest, I want repeat customers not people who will want to sue me. Let's just say we're in for a really big mess in the next decade. In the 1990s it was leaky buildings. I don't think the new stuff will leak. It's got pretty good breathability with the new code regulations. What will be the issue is this: they've thrown them up so fast that quality is a huge issue. Shutters, The Wave, Railyards, all junk. Some job sites have 1 ticketed journeyman per twenty guys working on the place. The stuff is happening so fast that the inspectors can't keep up with checking credentials. Anyone who had a $10/hour job can get on at these places for $16-$20/hour just by showing up with boots, a hard hat, some hand tools and a pulse. You're going to see a lot of unhappy buyers complaining about poor workmanship."
On flipped homes: "You see a lot of them for sure. I haven't sold any. My clients aren't interested in them so much. I'm selling a lot of land these days, mostly out of town. People with money are doing custom stuff rather than buying existing properties. I don't know many out-of-towners who want 50 year old homes with problems. If they're retiring here in the future, they're happy to move to Mill Bay, Shawnigan or the Peninsula and build a dream home. Flipped homes have a worse reputation for quality than the new ones, and they're getting to be bad enough."
On the state of the market: "Do you think Realtors pay attention to that stuff? Economics, sales statistics are what we get in our weekly updates from the agencies that we don't read. We're trying to sell. That's what we do. Not analyze."
On the number of Realtors in town: "1200 give or take a few. It's a tough business to make a buck in. Sink or swim. Every boom year we get 500 newbies who come in thinking homes sell themselves. Every flat year we get 500 newbies leaving shaking their heads."