Canada is the “New Switzerland”

It’s no secret that, internationally, Canada has developed a reputation as being a safe country to live in. But it appears, as of late, that the city of Toronto has developed its own reputation abroad, for being a place where those interested in making money buying and selling real estate, have a very good shot at striking rich. This reputation has become so pronounced that some are attributing it to the recent housing boom (the escalating surge in home prices coupled with moderate sales growth) in the city.

According to Katia Dmetrieva and Jeremy van Loon of Bloomberg News (published in The Globe and Mail), the city of Toronto alone attracts about a quarter of the 250,000 immigrants that arrive in Canada each year. Property Developer Sam Mizrahi of Mizrahi Developments, said at the Bloomberg Economic Series Canada summit in Toronto recently, that this wave of immigration every year is what’s primarily driving the demand for housing.

“Immigration keeps the market buoyant….Canada’s seen as the new Switzerland.”

In regards to Toronto’s ever increasing house prices, Mizrahi was quoted as saying that “Prices will continue to increase only if immigration continues.”

At the same Bloomberg event, Jennifer Keesmaat, chief planner at the City of Toronto, was quoted as saying:

“Many cities would scream for the kind of growth we have in Toronto. We went through a phase where we were seeking to bring people to the downtown core—that has now been accompanied by an incredible increase in employment.”

This insight into the Toronto real estate market has been known to many agents working out in the field for a long time. Back in September of 2014, Mark McAllister of Global News, commented on the notion that “catering to different cultures and backgrounds has become big business for the real estate industry in the Greater Toronto Area,” noting that a third of all new homes are bought people from the Chinese and South Asian communities, according to the company behind a couple of websites aimed at that market (according to and Ethnic enclaves are a key feature of Toronto’s economic landscape, with the city drawing in people from all over the world, who in turn, settle into distinct communities across the city, such as Little Portugal, China Town, Little Italy and Greek town to name a few. Almost half of Torontonians were born outside Canada, making it one of the most diverse cities in the world, according to the municipality’s website. Chinese speakers are the most numerous among recent immigrants, followed by Italian, Punjabi and Tagalog speakers.

The argument and logic behind why immigrants are driving the demand for housing in Toronto is simple: individuals and families who are looking to relocate and start their lives over in Canada and Toronto, are not looking to do so on a temporary basis. Immigrant families in particular want to establish a foundation, and set up roots in the city. This, among many other factors, is what makes immigrants and international students so eager to buy homes.

Jason Quintal | May 7, 2015

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