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February 19, 2016 | The Meme

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

There are 358 houses (not condos) in central GTA listed for between $750,000 and a million. Some are dogs. Some okay. Some look great. Detached, all-brick, ample lots, decent locations, no dead cadavers in the basement or attic. No biker clubhouses next door.

Currently just under 10,000 houses are on Toronto’s MLS, down 14% from last year. Last month about 500 sold in the hot dollar zone mentioned above. The average price for all detached houses in the GTA was just under $850,000. As of Friday, buyers had 128 SFH properties to choose from for less than $500,000 – houses, not condos, most of them with grass and parking.

This is worth mentioning because it’s true. The greatest number of sales last month occurred in the $600,000 price range (350). The next strongest category (with 318 sales) was between $500,000 and $600,000. And detached houses, by the way, accounted for almost half of all property sales in the GTA in January, while just a third were condos.

Simply put, it’s a realtor-fueled myth the country’s biggest real estate market (by a huge margin) is a cauldron of ever-rising prices and dwindling affordability, with the average house coursing higher by double-digit amounts. For example, the average detached home in epicentre of 416, at $1,061,789, costs almost exactly what it did last spring. Could it be that housing’s peak has passed?

So let’s bring in Allan and Roxy. Here they are, as they appeared in blog dog Paul’s Willowdale (north Toronto) mailbox yesterday:

ROXY modified

Aren’t they cute? Who wouldn’t want to sell them a house? “We just got married and are looking for a home in your area where we can start our family.” Awww. “If you’re interested in selling your home, we’d love to learn more.” And to show that you can actually trust them: “We are not working with an agent.”

So what’s the deal?

Al & Rox did not return my phone call, sadly. Nor did a return email show up. So perhaps you can give it a try – and let us know. But there’s something odd about these two. Roxy, as it turns out, is a wedding planner-marketer who also trained as an urban planner.

Allan is more complex. He’s an American-educated lawyer with an MBA from Wharton business school and is now a senior advisor at Toronto’s MaRS business incubator. Check this bio out: “He was the president and co-founder of LeapPay, the online lending platform acquired by Funding Circle; the CEO and co-founder of HomeSav, a leading home decor flash sale site acquired by American Capital; and the co-founder of Mavencare, an on-demand senior’s care platform.”

He and Rocks also like publicity, as well as apparently being Very Bad at house-buying. This is not the first time they’ve pulled the postcard-blanketing-Toronto stunt. In fact after dumping thousands over six big neighbourhoods about a year ago they ended up featured in the Toronto Star. So this is what they really look like:


The newspaper painted the two professionals as victims of a real estate market gone completely insane, in which anyone shopping for a place with less than a million is screwed. Here is how the story was spun last May:

After 18 months of open houses, eight failed bidding wars and bully offers that left them feeling helpless, yet again, Allan and Roxy Fisch have gone postal in their quest to find a house where they can start a family. In the last two weeks they’ve hand delivered 1,000 custom-crafted postcards in a handful of Toronto neighbourhoods.

The unusual effort is meant to put a face — two, in fact — on the enormity of the challenges facing young buyers in a market where sellers have all of the advantages thanks to demand that continues to far outstrip the number of houses listed for sale. The couple — like all young buyers looking to break out of condos and into houses — know that every failed bid is costing them time and money, given that real estate prices were up a staggering 10 per cent in April over a year earlier.

“It’s just become excruciatingly painful to go through this process, so we thought, let’s go out and speak to people directly because we know the areas we want to buy in and it’s not like we’re looking for anything unreasonable,” says Allan. “We just don’t want to go through this same game over and over again.”

But they are. Or claim to be. Nine months later, the kids keep pumping out the highly expensive mail. Since last spring over a thousand properties in their price range have changed hands, but these two spend their time marketing. Feeding the realtor meme that GTA houses are rare things that must be pounced upon.  You know, buy now, or buy never.

Brilliant. They teach good stuff at Wharton.

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February 19th, 2016

Posted In: The Greater Fool

One Comment

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    If you think about it, they’re capitalizing on their white privilege. Being white, they just assume people will be willing to help them, as whites people often do get their way in a macro level. Imagine if this was a black couple doing this?

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