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The Condo Game
November 28th, 2013

This article first appeared on CBC.ca

The Condo Game

The Condo Game examines the forces at play behind the fastest moving condo market in North America – Toronto -  and discovers that the glittering glass hides a sea of troubles. The first startling revelation for many people will be how very much the condo market is focused on investor profit, not affordable housing. One expert even says that it’s really not a housing market but a commodities play. And that means that average Canadians, looking for a primary residence, are inadvertently joining a game for which they don’t have the rule book.

Although the documentary focuses primarily on Toronto, as it unfolds warning bells will be ringing loud and clear for cities and condo-owners across Canada. With its population exploding, Toronto placed a big bet on condo towers. Their number has doubled in the last decade. But in the summer of 2011, when faulty panes of glass repeatedly fell from brand new condos onto busy city streets, people began questioning whether this was a safe bet – for individual homeowners and for the city.

During boom times, like in Toronto around 2011, developers race to take advantage of the market and the quality of construction can suffer. Deficiencies are common and some experts actually tell buyers to plan on spending thousands more than the purchase price to fix up their brand new condo.

Then, as tall towers age, maintenance issues can become a nightmare. Imagine sharing financial responsible for the damage done by a leak 20 floors above you.

Toronto is at a tipping point. And the city’s condo story is a cautionary tale for all Canadians and their communities.

The Condo Game was produced by Helen Slinger and directed by Lionel Goddard and Helen Slinger.

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