Toronto's 'Condo King' says 50% of condos are foreign-owned

In an interview with The Exchange, Toronto realtor and developer Brad Lamb says there is a huge appetite in the city for out-of-country investors to park their cash.

Realtor and developer Brad Lamb says rental market is still very vibrant

Brad Lamb, Toronto's so-called 'Condo King,' estimates 50% of condos are foreign-owned 5:31

The man known as Toronto's "Condo King" estimates foreign owners make up about half of the city's condominium market.

But realtor and developer Brad Lamb argues that doesn't mean there are scores of empty condos in Toronto that aren't or can't be rented.

"There is a big interest in Toronto as a safe zone to put money," said Lamb in an interview with The Exchange"But we have a very, very vibrant rental condominium market in Toronto. Our vacancy rate is around one per cent, which is chronically bad for tenants meaning it's hard for tenants to get good value."

Capturing the foreign-owner segment of the condo market has been problematic. Just last week, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released a snapshot of the condo markets in Toronto and Vancouver and found only 17 per cent are investors. But the survey drew criticism for leaving out any measure of foreign investors — the cash-rich people who live abroad and snap up Canadian condos.

Luring families, parks into condo complexes

Lamb believes it's "inevitable" that every Toronto resident, except the wealthy, will be living in a condo within 20 years. That's why the industry, according to Lamb, is making a stronger effort to lure families into high-rise buildings.

"Within Toronto, we are now forced... to provide 10 per cent of all the stock as a three-bedroom stock. That's a good step in the right direction," said Lamb.

 In terms of meeting the growing need for green space, Lamb says that's up to the city.

"Developers pay 10 per cent of the land price to the city for park generation. Are they building new parks? I'm not seeing them," he said.

Lamb's brokerage, Brad J. Lamb Realty Inc., has sold more than $1 billion worth of condos in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.