“All the real estate news isn't bad, and I want that story out there,” says Elliott Taube, founder of real estate consulting company EMT Consulting.

Well, this is the good news real estate story he -- and others -- have been waiting for. 

We admit, there has been no shortage of doom and gloom headlines as of late when it comes to the current state of Ontario’s real estate market. In our defense, our inboxes have been overloaded with one press release after another, highlighting alarming reports about the sorry state of the economy and housing market. So, don’t shoot the messenger. 

But there’s reason to be optimistic. In fact, things are actually looking up. Just ask Taube. On Monday, nearly 400 agents packed a Paris, Ontario sales office for the official launch of the second phase of Paris Riverside, the upcoming community of detached single-family freehold homes and townhomes from Fernbrook Homes and Crystal Homes. The interest, Taube says, is a loud and clear sign that the market is moving.

“Things are still active in the low-rise market these days and prices to sell seems to work,” says Taube.

“We knew that there was pent-up demand when we invited these brokers to our launch event; we’d seen a lot of positive activity nearby in Cambridge and Brantford, so we were feeling fairly confident,” says Taube. “Paris is not the most next-door or familiar neighbourhood for a GTA broker, but we had such a great turnout. We filled the sales centre to capacity -- we couldn’t fit another person in there."

There were 39 houses to sell, and they sold them all.

The goal of the well-attended launch was to create some excitement in the industry. “All the news and the media puts out is generally pretty negative,” Taube explained. “Generally, we probably wouldn’t have done a first-come-first-served, old-school lineup, but we felt like this was the best way to launch this project. So, you have people actually line up and wait for houses for days. We had a huge line beyond our expectation and sold all of our product that first weekend.”

Taube attributes the draw of Paris Riverside to a handful of factors, including pent-up demand and fair prices. Taube also points to a “very attractive” deposit program, which was $30K down and then $3K a month for ten months, then the balance of 10% on month 12.

“So, over the course of the year, it was 10%, but we made it pretty easy and people seemed to like that,” says Taube. “We also had closings of early 2025, so people are sensing a confidence in the market in that, if you buy something now in what is perceived as the low time or dead time, then by two years from now when these closings roll around, we’ll be in a different spot. So, it was sort of all those factors combined.” 

Still, Taube was surprised with the flurry of activity surrounding the Paris Riverside release.

“I knew the turnout was going to be decent, but it exceeded all of our expectations,” says Taube. “I’ve seen signs of life not only in our developments, but in other developers too -- both in high-rise and low-rise. Companies like Mattamy Homes and Treasure Hill have been doing well. If you go back to the beginning of this year, it was stupid and unhealthy. You’d launch 100 homes and sell them all out in a day. It was great, but unhealthy. But to sell 40-50% of your release, and going on to keep doing deals that, to me, is healthy and balanced. It’s a sign of life and that people want to buy houses.”

Taube stresses that low-rise and mid-rise pre-construction prices aren’t going to drop down to nothing, so buyers need to drop this expectation. “Lands cost, labour costs, material costs, developer fees -- everything that goes into it -- we can’t sell for less,” says Taube. “There are some developers who bought land decades ago and can play with their land prices because it was cheap and has been paid off over time, but anybody else who’s bought land in the past few years…we can’t sell it any cheaper." 

It’s not just Paris, Ontario that’s seeing the action, either. Oakville’s Oakbrook Towns' broker preview on Tuesday night packed the house with brokers. And there are eager buyers waiting on the sidelines for this development too. “They’re firm deals, so they have to provide a draft upfront, but we’re getting that,” says Taube of his recent track record. “This is 52 houses this weekend, do I think I’ll sell all 52? No; but will I sell 30 or 40? Probably. Other developers are calling us and asking what’s going on, [asking] if the demand is true. So, this is sparking some relief in people and showing that this is not a dead market and we can’t believe everything [that] the media says.”

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