Mark McLean, Toronto Real Estate
Posted by Carol (Bieser) Hutchinson
on Jan 12, 2016
Guest Speaker: Friday, January 22, 2016
Location: At the National Club-303 Bay St.
Topic: The State of the Market in Toronto
Mark McLean considers himself a veteran of Toronto real estate. When he was 16, his grandfather left for Florida and put him in charge of a small rental property in the Annex. He collected and deposited the rents, kept the books, shoveled the snow and salted the walks. A year later he sold his first house.
His grandfather owned a small independent brokerage and having to attend to some business down south left Mark in charge of one of his listings. Mark put an ad in the newspaper, found a buyer, showed the property and negotiated the sale before his grandfather’s return. Mark never looked back. He successfully sold homes and condos in the downtown core for over 20 years. In 2010, Mark decided to take a different road to success choosing to focus on the management and organizational side of the real estate industry. He is the manager, broker and creative director of a local real estate company and currently holds the position as president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, the largest association of Realtors in the world with nearly 44,000 members.
While a business and sales background has served him well, Mark has leveraged his position at TREB to travel North America and talk to many real estate experts. These interactions have helped him spot some important emerging trends in the real estate world. These changes are not just related to the function of buying and selling property, they are more focused around changing lifestyles, technology and social interaction.
As president, Mark has been fortunate enough to speak to a lot of people over the last year with the message that Toronto has the capacity to change its core branding from that of a "Mega City" to that of an "Alpha City". We are, after all, the financial capital of Canada, a significant centre for the arts, education, and design. In fact, Toronto holds a number of first place rankings on the world stage. The Economist Magazine ranks us high on such metrics as the Safe City Index, liveability, cost of living, business environment, democracy, and for our youth economic strategy. But we also face some challenges that will need to be addressed in the foreseeable future. We have an aging infrastructure of roads and bridges, old water mains and an overworked sewage system. We are under the grips of increased pollution, congestion, high energy costs, and the effects of global warming all of which could threaten our way of life.The fact remains that Toronto’s real estate market has fared remarkably well over the last decade. In 2015 the Toronto Real Estate Board recorded approximately 100,000 real estate transactions, shattering the old record by 7,000. In addition, prices have continued to increase. We continue to experience tremendous growth in new condominium and rental building construction adding thousands of new homes to our existing stock every year. Our growth is fueled by immigration but it’s the price appreciation that has garnered global attention and caused many experts, to declare that we are living in a bubble just waiting to pop. If you believe that real estate is cyclical then the question to ask is; are we at the top of our cycle or are we just getting started?
Mark believes that in order for Toronto to grow and evolve positively we all need to buy into the idea of a branding change. Tweaking our thinking away from the negative “mega city” to that of the “Alpha City” brand requires all of us to re-imagine our role as residents here. To not simply going through the motions but to become true ambassadors. Mark looks forward to sharing his ideas on the future prosperity of Toronto and prove that there's no place to go but up.