Help for brokers from an unlikely source

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A market effectively closed to brokers – developer subdivisions – may indirectly be putting more money into their pockets.

“The ‘Echo Boomers’ are flocking to the city, and downtown growth is outpacing the suburbs,” says Kim Gibbons, a mortgage broker with Mortgage Intelligence in Toronto. “I live and work downtown, because I don’t want the commute. A lot of my clients do not want the commute.”

That demographic -- the children of post-war Baby Boomers -- is turning away from the suburbs in favour of proximity to work and access to urban transit. But the lack of available land in the Greater Toronto Area is also stymieing the growth of new subdivisions and, in the process, forcing buyers naturally inclined to seek new construction into the existing-home market.

The trend is set to benefit brokers, who traditionally find themselves shut out of developer salesrooms but make their bread and butter in the resale market.

New numbers from RealNet Canada suggest the price gap in the GTA between high-demand housing and condos hit a record $196,844 in December as the price of new detached construction skyrocketed.

The cost of new, single-family homes in the GTA has, in fact, jumped 16 per cent to an average $632,868, a direct result of provincial policies to restrict urban sprawl, says developers.

Whatever the cost, brokers, even a cooling GTA market, stand to benefit.

“There is a lot of condo and residential resale activity, and I am still seeing a lot of multiple offer situations,” she says. “The market is definitely not flat-lining for the resale home and condo sector.”

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