Sabrina Gherbaz comments on the real estate market in Toronto, in CBA National magazine

What’s the Outlook for the Real Estate Lawyers?

October 30, 2012

Five years after the world’s real estate bubble burst, Canada’s market continues to outshine those of most other developed economies.

Even so, the residential market is showing clear signs of cooling in some major cities. In September, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported a 12.5 per cent drop in sales of existing homes in the GTA from a year earlier. But the average cost of a home was still was still 6.5 per cent higher. Sales in the Greater Vancouver market have dropped further — by more than 30 per cent, according to Vancouver’s real estate board.

Regional differences aside, all the activity of the past few years has kept Canada’s leading real estate lawyers busy. These five experts share their views on where the market is heading and what it all means for real estate law practitioners:

Sabrina Gherbaz, Partner, Torys

On the condominium side, the market is slowing down and there are a number of reasons why. For a long time in Toronto, the demand for condos exceeded the supply, but supply has now caught up with demand. Another factor is that in the past, there were a lot of investors who were buying into the condo market, but a lot of those investors have disappeared … When you look at office developments, vacancy right now is at a low. And with all the new products coming into the market in the next three or four years, office vacancies are going to increase. As a result, there will probably be a lot less office development in the city than we’ve seen in the past few years. Where we’ll continue to see growth is in the senior housing area, where there’s quite a lot of activity… For the most part, real estate lawyers have to continue to have a diverse practice because, in order to stay busy as your clients diversify, you’re going to have to have diverse knowledge of the real estate market — and not in one particular niche.

Read the full article here.

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