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Yonge and Bloor: Crosshairs of Insanity

Maybe it's David Miller's impending land transfer tax, maybe it's the prospect of living in such a great location, but something has gotten Torontonians raving mad about Bazi's International's mega tower condo project known simply as 1 Bloor.

For the past week or more, real estate agents or their surrogates have been lining up for a chance to purchase a unit in the project even though sales do not even begin until tonight, and the sales centre will not open up to the general public likely won't even open for another week or so.

For the uninitiated, here's how condo preview sales generally work: Agents show up at a specified time before the actual sales event to get a number. Numbers are handed out on a first come first served basis. The number the agents receive will determine the order in which their clients are 'served' at the actual sales event usually later that day in the evening. The better the number, the more selection to choose from and the better the price.

These events are known as Broker's Events as they are only open to real estate agents. Thus, by the time a typical condo opens their sales office to the general public, the project is usually about 40-80% sold out and prices will have gone up significantly depending on the response to that point. Prices for tonight's sales event increased by 25-50%, depending on the unit, compared to the price list that was sent to brokers about 2 weeks ago.

As of noon today when the numbers were being handed out, there were about 200 agents in line with police trying their best to keep things civil. Problems and confusion arose when several people who had paid surrogates to hold their place in line entered the line. Many agents abandoned the line when it was determined that prices were increased to about $500,000 for a small 1 bedroom unit after initially being told prices would start in the $350,000 range.

I don't know if it was a slow news day or what but there were half a dozen news crews at the event this morning filming the insanity and interviewing people in line. More drama ensued when it was announced that the developer would not be honoring the numbering system that had been set-up by the hardcore participants who had been camping out for days. Chants of 'HONOR-THE-LIST' seemed to work as the developer reversed their decision by actually dolling out numbers according to the list that had been created.

Is this a sign of a market that is about to collapse under it's own weight, or simply just another step in the Manhattanization of Toronto?

Photo by JaMmCat from the blogTO Flickr Pool.


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