[URBAN NOTE] “Foreign home buyers love Toronto for the schools: realtor”
CBC shares an interview with a realtor, Richard Silver from Sotheby’s, talking about the factors attracting foreign buyers to the Toronto real estate market. They want to live here, they argue; they like the city.
Richard Silver, a Sotheby’s realtor and past Toronto Real Estate Board president who works with foreign buyers, told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that most of his foreign clients are coming to Toronto for educational and business opportunities, not just to park their money offshore, and that a foreign buyer tax would be a bad idea.
TREB is making a concerted effort to lobby against a possible foreign buyer tax on homes in Ontario, arguing that such a tax would be ‘misguided’ when just 4.9 per cent of its member agents acted on behalf a foreign buyer in 2016.
But Silver also said TREB’s figure significantly understates the proportion of foreign buyers in the GTA, as it only captures home resales — not sales of new construction.
Matt: Galloway: Who are the foreign buyers that you’re working with?
Richard Silver: You know, it changes. Right now we have been doing a lot of business with Asia, with people from mainland China. What we’ve done is, we work for a very international company, we’ve gone out and added people to our team who speak Mandarin. We’ve gone to Asia three times, I’m about go to Delhi again for a weekend conference in a couple of weeks. You have to go out, you have to meet people, you have to understand their sensitivities, what’s driving them to buy.
A lot of it focuses on the education. So having great education in the city of Toronto, both in the post-secondary and secondary, I think is very, very important, because that’s what they’re looking for.
MG: Language skills are one thing. Going there is something different. What do you learn about who the potential buyers are when you’re actually on the ground in those countries?
RS: It’s really from the questions. A lot of people have the questions about … they know about Toronto, they know about Vancouver, they want to know which is the city that you should buy in. They want to know mostly about education. Seriously, you have to have an idea of the ratings of all of the private schools, the public schools, the universities. And you can know that those are the locations that people are going to be looking in. It has to be accessible to a university or a private school or a very well-rated public school.