Photo: Chris Borkowski
After Ontario introduced a foreign-buyer tax in April as part of its broad-based Fair Housing Plan, there was a surge of listings and slump in home sales in the Greater Toronto Area.
That didn’t faze Re/Max Hallmark Broker Chris Borkowski.
The 15-year industry vet, known as “Condo Chris” in real estate circles, welcomes a cooldown in the marketplace.
“Of course — I do. People get too worried about it,” Borkowski said recently on BuzzTV, the weekly Facebook Live broadcast BuzzBuzzNews hosts.
“See, I don’t like to look at real estate as an investment vehicle. A lot of people do nowadays… I see it more as a lifestyle thing,” he added.
That wasn’t the first time Borkowski had addressed Toronto’s recent housing downturn, one that has yet to result in a crash but has led to monthly price declines in the resale market.
“Most Realtors I know WANTED a correction. Who the fuck wants to sit through another 35 person bidding war? Not me,” Borkowski tweeted in early July.
As Toronto prices increased in the first several months of the year, so too did the commission realtors were pocketing. So aren’t big commissions reason enough to favour a runup in prices over a cooldown?
“Big commission’s are the golden goose in real estate,” Borkowski acknowledged on BuzzTV, but, he added, “People don’t understand the work that goes into the big commission.”
In a previous interview with BuzzBuzzNews last month Borkowski recalled showing one client 100 houses.
“It’s a complete and utter nightmare,” he said of the competitive bidding-war environment where it can take multiple offers to secure a property, and there are no guarantees.
“Sometimes the money’s not even worth it, dude, you know? It’s not even worth it because a lot of times you make that money but you lose a client in the long run because it was just so stressful and so many fucked up things happened,” he said.
Not to mention a realtor is doing fewer deals in a hot market, Borkowski noted.
Add another element to the mix: hungry young realtors are entering the game, and they’re willing to take a cut on commissions when they’re starting out.
“What’s happening in real estate right now with more agents and less listings is the law of diminishing returns,” Borkowski says. “It’s taking more money and more effort for lower commissions.”
While Borkowski embraces the calmer market, Re/Max has suggested the trend could be short lived. The real estate franchisor predicted a summer home sales lull will be followed by a recovery in the year’s final months.
But Borkowski holds a different view. His advice to buyers is to hold off on making a decision until next month.
Although the fall is typically when the market starts heating up after the doldrums of summer — as Re/Max suggests will happen once more this year — Borkowski thinks this time will be different.
“The only advice I hear every agent giving their client right now is, ‘Wait ‘til September,” he says. “I think come… the day the long weekend’s over, you’re going to see eight million listings...I believe there’s going to be a few weeks of smokin’ deals for buyers."