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The Manhattanization of Toronto with Winson Chan of Tridel

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Winson Chan is the Director of Sales for Tridel. Tridel is Canada’s largest condo builder, which means no one in Canada is responsible for more more condo sales than Winson Chan. We talked about a variety of topics but I what I found most interesting is that Winson is very forward thinking. He’s always looking to the future and seeing where things are heading in Toronto years before they happen.

Winson Chan Interview Highlights

00:15 Who Is Winson Chan?
2:40 How Winson Chan Got Started in the Condo Industry
8:22 Is There a Condo Bubble in Toronto?
11:25 What is Toronto Missing?
15:10 What Would Happen If We Finally Got the TTC Subway Right?
16:30 Too Many Foreign Investors?
21:28 Why Do Construction Costs Double After the 40th Floor?
26:50 The Philosophy Behind Tridel’s Success
28:25 Tridel’s Condo Pipeline
31:25 Winson Chan’s Personal Condo Investments
34:25 How to Reach Winson Chan

Links

Tridel.com

Tridel’s Facebook page

Winson Chan on Twitter

Winson Chan on LinkedIn

Aquavista Condos

Islington Terrace Condos

Bloomberg Predicts GTA population to hit 6.7 Million by 2025

How to Leave a Review for The True Condos Podcast on iTunes

Winson Chan Interview Transcript

Andrew la Fleur: Hello and welcome back to the True Condos podcast. Once again, I’m your host, Andrew la Fleur and thank you very much for listening. Today on the show I have Winson Chan. Winson Chan is the Director of Sales for Tridel. Tridel, of course, is Canada’s largest condo builder, which therefore means that no one in Canada’s responsible for more condo sales than Winson Chan. It’s a pleasure to talk to him on today’s show.

Winson’s a very humble and gracious guy, but his knowledge of the market and his experience with condo sales is really unmatched in the industry. We talked about a variety of topics, but what I found most interesting is that Winson is very forward-thinking. He’s always looking ahead. He’s a visionary so he’s always looking to the future and seeing where things are heading in Toronto a long time before they actually happen.

I think this is a trait that every successful condo investor also needs to have. That’s the ability to see where a market is going years before it happens, to spot the trends and take advantage of them. This is how you make money in real estate, of course. So often we get caught up in what’s happening now or in the next few years that we lose sight of the greater changes that are happening in Toronto and just the fact that as a rapidly growing city, we’re really the envy of every city in North America with the exception, perhaps, of New York City.

For example, the most recent report that came out this week from Bloomberg predicted that the GTA’s population would hit 6.7 million by 2025. Now that’s only 11 years away so it’s really all about investing now for the future. We are a growing city. Everybody’s going to need a place to live. Real estate values are going up. Start building your condo portfolio now and you and your children are going to reap the rewards of those decisions you make many years down the road.

Okay, now let’s get to the interview with Winson Chan, the Director of Sales for Tridel and for all the show notes on this episode, just head on over to truecondos dot com slash winson, W-I-N-S-O-N, Winson.
Welcome to the show, Winson. Thank you very much for being here today.

Winson Chan: My pleasure, Andrew.

Andrew la Fleur: Great. Looking forward to getting to know you a little bit more. I’m sure a lot of people listening are as well. Start by telling us a little bit about yourself, who you are, how did you get started in the condo industry and how did you get to where you are today.

Winson Chan: Okay. I’m Winson Chan, Director of Sales from Tridel. I think I started off my business as a real state agent about 25 years ago. After I graduate from university and my first job as real estate and I really …

Andrew la Fleur: Was that here in Toronto or somewhere else?

Winson Chan: That’s here in Toronto. I come from Hong Kong. I come from Hong Kong ’84 and then I study half a year for high school and then I go direct to University of Toronto.

Andrew la Fleur: Okay, so you went to UT. Straight out of university, you got your real estate license, you’re saying?

Winson Chan: Yes, I got my real estate … Actually, I got my real estate license before I graduate because I really into real estate and I think, to me, choice of the career as you really need to find a career that you really love to do and I love to talk to people and I love to build networking and then I have passion of real estate. Before I graduate, I get a real estate license.

Interestingly, my major is actuarial science. Risk management and all this calculation. Fortunately, after I graduate, find it actually quite boring so I actually jumped ship to something that I really love to do. I get my real estate license work about five years and interestingly all I sell is Tridel condominiums …

Andrew la Fleur: Really? Okay.

Winson Chan: So won opportunity …

Andrew la Fleur: Tell us about that because this is the mid, early 80s. Condos are really a new thing. You’re specializing in condominiums sales?

Winson Chan: Yes.

Andrew la Fleur: You must’ve been a strange duck at the time. No one else was doing that.

Winson Chan: [Crosstalk 04:27] actually true. At the time, people were all focused on houses and a different type of real estate ownership, but I really like condominium living because I can foresee. Toronto, it’s going to be urbanized, like I’m sure to hear about all this urbanization talk lately and I actually have this vision way back because I come from Hong Kong, very obviously is very metropolitan city.
Then the only form of real estate that is affordable is condominium. I also buy into a [inaudible 05:09] concept, like people do not actually need to live in such big space so I can see Toronto going into … We’ll be a metropolitan city.

Andrew la Fleur: You didn’t buy into this North American dream of the big house in the suburbs? Even in the 80s when there was just a handful of condos in all of the city of Toronto, you [inaudible 05:31] this coming.

Winson Chan: I think more than likely, it’s the customer that I was dealing with, is around my age at the time and then they’re diverse. Come to here, they want to [inaudible 05:44] off, too. Most of people really work hard to build their career and they do not have time to manage the other things so I end up … The type of real estate that I sold to my customer end up would be a condominium.

When we choose condominium, then we go and actually pick the good quality one and end up, as I mentioned earlier, I end up selling most of them are Tridel condominiums. It’s one opportunity I see [inaudible 06:17] and one of the sales center and then I buy introduction and I just try it. Would you like to work with us and that was 20 years ago.

Andrew la Fleur: Okay, so 20 years ago Jim Richie, who’s the president of Tridel.

Winson Chan: Sitting Vice President. I think at the time he’s, yeah, sitting position.

Andrew la Fleur: He comes to you and says would you like to work. He offers you …

Winson Chan: It’s true. Obviously it’s true. The sales manager and sales rep [inaudible 06:44] invite since I see there’s a lot of sales coming from this guy and then [inaudible 06:49] that was 20 years ago.

Andrew la Fleur: Okay. You were selling condos. You just started selling Tridel condos. You liked the product.

You were supporting them and then they offered you a job.

Winson Chan: Right.

Andrew la Fleur: You’ve been with them ever since.

Winson Chan: Correct.

Andrew la Fleur: Wow. Okay. Tell us about what your position is now, what you’re doing now.

Winson Chan: Well, my real estate career started as I mentioned as a real estate license broker. I was a [inaudible 07:15] for Tridel and said like to join the sales team so I start from sales rep to site manager and become regional sales manager. Then become now and, to me, for my real estate career, too, I do not want to work for the second best. When you already work for the best organization already, they create beautiful landmark, award-winning condominiums so that’s, I think, is a natural choice. That’s 20 years.

Andrew la Fleur: Wow. How many condos have you been involved with the sale of over your career? Do you know?

Winson Chan: Have not actually do an actual count, but I [crosstalk 07:53] personally in charge of at least more than 25 different projects and annual sales for all [inaudible 08:02] me personally [inaudible 08:04] would be at least 1,000 so it’s quite a lot of condominium.
Tridel building lots of condominium as you know. We build over 80,000 homes, been existing for the past eight decades so it’s too many condos to count.

Andrew la Fleur: That’s good.

Winson Chan: It’s coming more and more and more, too.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah, so we’re speaking to somebody who’s really got a strong history in the market and somebody who really can see not just what’s happening today, but what is happened over the entire life, really, of the condo and since condos have been existing in Toronto. That’s pretty unique position that you’re in. Not too many people can say that.

The question that I like to ask everybody, like to get your take on it. Is there a condo bubble in Toronto?

Winson Chan: We certainly don’t see that. That’s evident by seeing that [inaudible 08:55] keep on having and new condominium coming up. I think to see the condo market, you really need to see it in a macro point of view. You cannot just focus on Toronto because compare it internationally. We are still relatively inexpensive and as I mentioned earlier, too, I truly believe Toronto is going through like a [inaudible 09:16] or urbanization to the city.

We’re not there yet and we strive to get the ingredient. Way back in the 80s, I was envisioning a few points happening. It’s gradually happening. A, in order to be a really big metropolitan city, you need to have five-star hotel, like before, no. Right now we are already have a good number five-star hotel happening.

Major sports, major sports team, which is all this NFL. Sorry, not NFL. I wish there would be coming. That would be another sign, but what I’m trying to say is major league baseball, NHL and all these major teams is step two.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: Employment opportunities. Toronto is one of the major financial center in North America. The other ingredient, which actually attract me to come here is educational opportunity. Now people come to a city, a [inaudible 10:15] city to have metropolitan or urbanization, you have to have this type of ingredient to see it’s a world-class area.
Now, the only thing …

Andrew la Fleur: [Crosstalk 10:26] You’re talking about universities, like University of Toronto, Ryerson, York?

Winson Chan: Exactly.

Andrew la Fleur: The major education institutions?

Winson Chan: Exactly. If you compare Canada wide, Ontario have over 42 different post-secondary opportunity. You go to BC, if a lot of people went to BC, like only have 20 so if you compare North America, we do have a lot of educational opportunity here in Toronto. As a matter of fact, this is how I was attracted to Toronto in the first place.

Andrew la Fleur: Interesting.

Winson Chan: In Hong Kong, we have 5, 6 [inaudible 10:59] one university back-back.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: So obviously I’m not qualified so therefore I come here, get my university educated and then once you stop to view your education and things that you then have a big chance to [inaudible 11:15] your family here. Before, in the 80s, my parents send me over here to get education, go back to help my family business. Didn’t happen. I like it here too much. I have it here. That is a very important ingredient.
Now the only thing that I think Toronto is missing. We are not there yet …

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah, what are we missing?

Winson Chan: Is a subway. It’s a subway or I should say mass transit system.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: We go to Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, London. All this real major metropolitan city …

Andrew la Fleur: Okay, so we obviously have a subway, but what’s the problem with it?

Winson Chan: It’s not as extensive as the other. For instance, if you go to New York or Hong Kong, London and all that, if you want to get from point A to point B, your first choice is actually mass transit.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: Here, no, it’s car. Are we there yet? Almost. you see all this new condo happening downtown. That’s actually … It’s going that way, but we are not there yet. People hate commuting and really want it to be commute from point A to point B fast and most importantly, from where they live and where they work, fast.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah.

Winson Chan: Then if you have different major employment incentive, you can actually connect it truly by subway, that you can actually move a lot of mass people from point A to point B. That’s, to me, it’s what’s still missing.

Andrew la Fleur: Again, looking at your perspective since 1984 till today, what I’m thinking is the subway map, the basic young university line and the [inaudible 12:53] Danforth line, it hasn’t changed in that entire time that you’ve been here. It’s the same as it was.

Winson Chan: That’s exactly and I …

Andrew la Fleur: [Crosstalk 13:00] Why do you think it … I know you’re not a politician or a pundit, but why do you think it hasn’t … All this urbanization has happened, but the subway hasn’t [crosstalk 13:11] at all.

Winson Chan: Well, I think change … You just said it and I think a politician and three level of governments really need to sit down and talk about it and I think one thing I see different … You’re right. I’m not in politics, but I can tell you my observation. With all this mass transits happening in all this major city, I see all three level of governments to get a private sector to work together.

For instance, in Hong Kong, when we have a subway, it’s co-developed by Hong Kong MTR with major developer so usually the business model is there’s a subway, there’s plaza and then there’s a neighborhood development to complementing the [crosstalk 13:52].

Andrew la Fleur: So it’s a real estate play?

Winson Chan: Correct. You’d be able to actually build a real mobility hub, a real urban center and connected to subways.

Andrew la Fleur: And it’s cooperation between the private sector and the public?
Winson Chan: Correct. Here I don’t really see that much. At least I see some of my counterpart here in our organization sometimes. When we try to build something, we not get the cooperation that we were having.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: Then sometimes we get one section of the authority cooperating. Then we’re waiting for the next authority and then there’s not too much coordination. Right now I think the politicians see it so therefore you see the upcoming municipal …

Andrew la Fleur: Election.

Winson Chan: Election. They all talk about subway and I think, which I’m very glad that people start to see it and then when, I think good thing to start from now, municipal government that we [inaudible 14:49] and then hopefully this concept can radiate to a point and then we would have a true possibility to become a real world-class city.

By then, the real estate just going back to what we start from. By then our real estate value will be even higher.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah, you said something actually interesting last time we were speaking, about how if that last piece of the puzzle comes in, the subway, what would happen to the real estate values and the core. You said something interesting about that. Basically I think you were saying that the core values would just skyrocket if we connected the core via subway.

Winson Chan: Correct, because two things. Right now I think you see basically the Toronto [inaudible 15:38]. A lot of people just focus on downtown, but downtown to a certain point, there is a certain capacity. There’s also … There’s so many [inaudible 15:46] employment center that surrounding the city, too, but they are not really well-connected so through that point, then we have a lot more opportunity to expand and after all, Toronto is a big city and you have a lot of people.

Take a look at the 41. We have 16 lane, compared to LA and I was in and not too long and I counted the number of lanes, too, and I think right now we have more.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: In terms of the commuting time and all that, too. I think we can actually enhance the city more and downtown eventually. There’s not enough land to build and then you do need it to serve this other part of the city, too.

Andrew la Fleur: That’s great. Another big question I would love to get your take on as somebody in your position who’s been, like you said, 25 buildings that you personally have been involved with, the whole foreign investor question. A lot of people, it’s set up as this bogeyman, the foreign investor is ruining the condo market or there’s too many foreign investors. What’s your take on it? Do you see a lot with Tridel?
Winson Chan: Okay, for us [crosstalk 16:55].

Andrew la Fleur: Can you give us any numbers or what you see?

Winson Chan: Honestly, no. I don’t see actually a big number of foreign investor to, because we build a lot of condominiums and people coming in and even sometimes if we wanted to take foreign investor, for instance, like A, they cannot mortgage approval.

Andrew la Fleur: Very difficult, yeah.

Winson Chan: Very difficult and then if the bank actually see you’re [inaudible 17:22] percent of the building from foreign ownership, they won’t even give you [inaudible 17:26] financing so I don’t know what the numbers coming from. However, what I can confirm is right now, our economy is … It’s almost like a world market. Before, in the 80s, you can talk about localized market, you can talk about local money and foreign money, but in here, everything is so intricate.

Andrew la Fleur: Right, but that’s not unique to condominiums, is it? I mean the whole world [crosstalk 17:52]. We’re all connected, right?

Winson Chan: I think basically media just pick one, a certain point and try to elaborate, but if you actually see the physical evident, we don’t actually see it and I just tell you it’s not physically possible [inaudible 18:05] build a home by foreign ownership because of [inaudible 18:07] proof that, but however, on the other side of the coin is, because for everybody was suddenly interconnected like myself as an example.

If I were to purchase a condominium back then, like say in ’84, you consider me as a foreign investor [inaudible 18:23] come from Hong Kong.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: I’m physically living here, but then what was the money come from then is actually from my parents.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: However, when I purchase a condominium, you should not count me as a foreigner because I’m actually physically living here to use the condominium. In Toronto, there’s … It’s a big metropolitan city so you have a lot of people from different part of the world. From [inaudible 18:47], from Europe and that, too. I think that was so confused in the market [crosstalk 18:54].

Andrew la Fleur: How do you define a foreign investor? There’s a lot of confusion around that.
Winson Chan: Right.

Andrew la Fleur: No one can seem to agree on it.

Winson Chan: [Crosstalk 18:57] that I do not see more than five percent.

Andrew la Fleur: Five percent.

Winson Chan: Five percent. That is a real foreign investor, meaning that a foreign address, a foreign passport, a 35 [crosstalk 19:14].

Andrew la Fleur: 35 percent.

Winson Chan: [Crosstalk 19:16] in coming in, too. I don’t see that many.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah. Does Tridel … I know a lot of the big developers do … They have offices and do a lot of marketing overseas, specifically and you actually go into overseas markets to sell products, specifically, to people. Does Tridel do that?

Winson Chan: Not officially. We do work with 30,000 realtor in Toronto and different ethnic groups. Sometimes they would want to actually bring the product over to them. Now, however … Say, for instance, when they sell certain product in Korea or in China or [inaudible 19:53], they are careful because it’s actually for people eventually coming here.

Andrew la Fleur: People who want to immigrate to Canada, they’re saying.

Winson Chan: [Crosstalk 20:02] so when they purchase a property later on as immigrants, are they foreign investor? May, may not be.

Andrew la Fleur: Right. Maybe they’re foreign investor at time of purchase, but at time of close, they’re Canadian resident.

Winson Chan: Correct and we actually can tell you from our … If we made a purchase [inaudible 20:22] sales to, most of them actually have Canadian address, Canadian [inaudible 20:28], driver’s license and all that, too. Right now, it’s not uncommon to people to have Canadian residency and own various other property around, too.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah. Hopefully, we can just … Let’s just put that foreign investor thing to bed once and for all. You heard it here first. The foreign investor thing is not a problem in the market. Maximum five percent as you’re saying.

Winson Chan: I don’t have the actual number, but however, it’s not a big number, for sure.

Andrew la Fleur: Sure. It’s a very small minority of the market.

Winson Chan: The question actually sometimes we always like to answer question with a question so if people say there’s a lot of foreign investor. Okay, show it to you or most importantly, talk to your bank and say, pretended you’re a foreign investor and try to get a financing to buy multiple condo here. You go out and try it yourself and then come back and tell [inaudible 21:19] and myself.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: I would love to learn, too.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah. Good luck with that. Let’s talk about something. Shifting gears, I want to talk about super tall buildings so buildings over 50 stories. Again, you said something interesting last time we met about … You taught me something that I didn’t know and I think the people listening would be very interesting to learn, too. That is, you said a construction cost, once you get above around 40 stories, construction cost double or go up very significantly higher. Why is that? Why is construction cost go up so much?

I guess the question behind this question is a lot of people say you know what, Andrew, I like this building, but all that’s available left are the highest floors, 50th, 60th floor units. The floor premiums, you got to pay $1,000 a floor in most cases. It’s just not worth it to me to invest in a building like that at these higher elevated prices. It’s interesting to me that I learned there’s the construction cost behind the scenes that go into building these super tall structures. It is probably something a lot of people don’t realize so maybe if you could talk about that.

Winson Chan: For that I can actually use an analogy for a premium car to a normal car that you build. Say, for instance, you build a car from point A to point B, you put X amount of engineering, a lot of cost to build that car, which is … A lot of people can do it. If all of a sudden you want to build a Formula One car, yes, it’s still a car, but then [crosstalk 22:58].

Andrew la Fleur: It still has four wheels and an engine.

Winson Chan: It still has four wheels and everything, but the engineering and the design they put into that say, Formula One car is substantially higher. That actually applied to condominiums so if you were to build a 6-story building, you don’t need a certain special license. No, normal people can build it. If you go to 15 level, 30th level, then the complexity become more and more.

Then if you go past 40th floor, A, do you have enough skill labor that’d be able to do in a high floor construction and then, also, the engineering. The wind factor, the snow, the wind, the water and all that. All this engineering and design that we have to put into the building is much more in terms of the foundation preparation, in terms of structure [crosstalk 23:48].

Andrew la Fleur: Is that part of the reason why we see, up until the past five years, the tallest buildings would all be about 40 stories. If you look across the city, you see 40 stories everywhere.

Winson Chan: Right, and I think for us to, for Tridel, we don’t always … Of course we want to do pioneer in designs and all that, too, but we needed to be able to master the skill and we [inaudible 24:11] shoot it. Yes, we build you a much taller building, that quality that we deliver is the same, then we started to build that, too.

To answer your question, did I think the technology’s a little more mature compared to in the 80s, that we’d be able to have the technical know-how to build it. There’s a lot of new element put into condominium, like the green element, the technology element also needed to elevate it to a certain level before we’d be able to build, but to answer your question earlier, would that cost us more? 100 percent, so for a builder, we would not build anything to lose money so if our cost is higher, obviously, you would see [crosstalk 24:50].

Andrew la Fleur: The price is higher.

Winson Chan: The cost is higher, then the price is higher. Obviously.

Andrew la Fleur: Right, and I think what we’re going to see more in the future as land become more and more scarce along the transit lines and in the core, you’re going to see more taller and taller buildings. You’re going to see higher and higher prices and it’s just a reality.

Winson Chan: [Crosstalk 25:12]. You said it right on the [inaudible 25:13] is absolutely true. It’s before, the land was not as expensive. Right now, let’s not talk about the prices. More expensive. Let us find availability of the land. There’s not many. You look around downtown [crosstalk 25:28] so if you only have limited opportunity and if you have acquired the land, you would then force you to build as tall as possible.
Back in the 80s and I see some opposed from urban Toronto lately, show all the development. In the 80s I was [inaudible 25:48] there was nothing.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: Right now it’s also nothing, but it’s not so … Not the building, but in terms of land, there’s nothing so if you have a piece of land, any developer or investor would like to maximize the space and therefore, we have to build it much taller now.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah. That’s interesting. I think that’s a great point for people to know about and even just … One other thing you mentioned was if you go higher, you need a different type of crane.

Winson Chan: Correct. A different type of crane, different technology, different engineering.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah.

Winson Chan: Then …

Andrew la Fleur: Consulting costs go up. Everything goes up.

Winson Chan: 100 percent.

Andrew la Fleur: Specialists you need to bring in.

Winson Chan: Right, yeah, but this went up higher to the land condition, the wind condition is totally different so for a responsible builder to actually build such a taller structure, there’s a lot of consulting and engineering, a challenge that we have to deal with and then, of course, that’s reflect on the price per floor as you were mentioning before.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah. How has Tridel stayed on top for so long? What’s the secret or what’s the philosophy behind Tridel’s success?

Winson Chan: I think it’s the teamwork. We always challenge ourselves to put the best product forward in the market and we were lucky to be in North America and also in Toronto. We’re from a normal building type city to become one of the most competitive and the most active condo market so through this exercise, we learned from our competitor. We learned from our customer. We keep on improving our self. We always challenge our self to be the leaders there, too.

Of course, our management team, both from construction and the DeSoto family all are very, very passionate about what they build so when they build a Tridel logo in the product and it’s really representing [inaudible 27:54]. Today, the DeSoto family members also very involved in the design. If they see anything that they do not like even enough to build, they would go in and change everything, making sure that the product with the Tridel logo on the market is the best in the market.

Andrew la Fleur: You got several projects coming up. I don’t know which ones you want to highlight for us. You got Islington Terrace, of course. Aquavista coming up, some others. What can you tell us about what’s coming down the pipe this fall?

Winson Chan: Okay. Yeah, every year we always would have at least three or four condominium coming up and actively, we have 22 projects on the goal.

Andrew la Fleur: 22, wow.

Winson Chan: 22 projects on the goal all the way from Islington Terrace as you mentioned to the east side at Metro Gate, north all the way to Richmond and here to the Water Edge, not the Water Front. It’s all the way to the Water Edge. We do have a lot, but right now currently we’re working on, it’s Islington Terrace, which very interesting we talk about subway and all that, too.

This is what I actually envision in the future because downtown at certain point would become not affordable and would some point, you don’t have any condominium happening so the future would be subway. Now we would be investing in downtown, this 650 to $700 a foot. Not many people can afford it. The key to our condominium industry is affordability and this is why, one of the big reason why condominium exists in the first place is smart-sizing, is a smarter way to own, a home ownership.

We’d be to have a very nice product, connective subway. Yes, you pay a lot less, but then it’s only 20 minutes away and guarantee by a TTC.

Andrew la Fleur: Right, so Islington Terrace is right across the street from the Islington subway stop.

Winson Chan: Yeah, it’s next to it, like two minutes walk. Next to major employment center, connected to subway. Also, the [inaudible 29:53] terminal one bus to UT, one bus to [inaudible 29:57] one and if people were in unsure buying in the west end or … The downtown court is perfect. It’s right in the middle. 20 minutes away to downtown and then yet, one bus to [inaudible 30:08] and yet access by highway is very convenient.

Once again, Tridel is going to put a landmark building in the area. Tallest in the neighborhood so the south side going to see a lake, north side see all the golf course surrounding it so it will be a pretty interesting project.

Andrew la Fleur: It’s three towers, right?

Winson Chan: It’s three towers.

Andrew la Fleur: Three-tower project.

Winson Chan: [crosstalk 30:23] phase and we always go in to go big and make the landmark in the area.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah, that’s great and you’ve … What about Aquavista?

Winson Chan: Aquavista will be immediate after this this, too. This is the second offering from [crosstalk 30:40].

Andrew la Fleur: You had Aqualena first.

Winson Chan: Aqualena, that’s the first.

Andrew la Fleur: That’s mostly sold out or is it sold out?

Winson Chan: Yes.

Andrew la Fleur: Mostly sold out.

Winson Chan: Mostly sold out and then we would release … This time we have a lot more suite overlooking the lake, which last time we make only a few people happy. A lot of people unhappy because they cannot have the suite so hopefully this time we can actually make the people who cannot get a lake view suite this time, we try to build a little bit more.

The sign will be spectacular. Hopefully in a week or two I can [inaudible 31:14] and you can pull some [inaudible 31:17] your website.

Andrew la Fleur: Great. Yeah, I would love to see that, yeah.

Winson Chan: We’re still in the finals in sign stage so as soon as I got that, you can have it.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah, great. Personal level, are you a condo investor yourself? I think you are as we talked about? What you buy or what’s your philosophy on your own personal condo investments?

Winson Chan: Okay, first yes, am I a condo investor, yes. What’s my philosophy, the number one is diversification. I don’t put … I won’t buy like three downtown [inaudible 31:50].

Andrew la Fleur: When did you buy your first condo? Just curious, your very first condo that you ever bought for yourself.

Winson Chan: My very first condo, I would say, almost 15, 20 years ago.

Andrew la Fleur: What was the building?

Winson Chan: That was in North Town.

Andrew la Fleur: North Town.

Winson Chan: North Town. I don’t want to tell you the price then. [Crosstalk 32:08].

Andrew la Fleur: Do you remember the price? What was it?

Winson Chan: The price then was 160,000.

Andrew la Fleur: 160,000 and …

Winson Chan: For a two bedroom.

Andrew la Fleur: Two bedroom.

Winson Chan: For two bedroom. It’s called a Sommerset building, 18 Sommerset.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah.

Winson Chan: Of course, we make good money there, too. My philosophy is to be basically diversified. Currently I own one in downtown. Sorry, two in downtown, one in north [inaudible 32:38] so I try to diversify with them a little bit. Why purchase it? Interestingly, it’s a long-term investment. I have two daughter. One for each and then for myself so it’s a long-term. I don’t put them to private school, but after they graduate, they would have a condo hopefully paid for then.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: I usually go in and pay the down payment and let somebody else build equity for me.

Andrew la Fleur: The tenants. Yeah.

Winson Chan: Correct.

Andrew la Fleur: Okay. Have you bought and sold many condos over the years? Personally, or …

Winson Chan: No, we do quite long-term.

Andrew la Fleur: Long-term.

Winson Chan: Usually, I change the holding every five years and I do believe that should be the case because for five years, technology change.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah.

Winson Chan: We have climate change and there’s new offerings so usually I purchase and hold a condo for possibly five years and then [crosstalk 33:39].

Andrew la Fleur: Do you only buy Tridel product or do you buy other?

Winson Chan: I don’t have any choice, sorry. [Inaudible 33:46].

Andrew la Fleur: I guess there’s only one answer to that question.

Winson Chan: Correct.

Andrew la Fleur: That’s great.

Winson Chan: Then on [inaudible 33:52] and kidding aside, it’s for … When I purchased, too, I’m sure that any of the people look for it. They look for them, the brand name. For me, I look for the brand name, I look for it.

Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: Who won the most award and who have the most experience and then that is evident so this is how we …
Andrew la Fleur: Right.

Winson Chan: Then the audience also needed to look for this [crosstalk 34:17], too.

Andrew la Fleur: Yeah, you can’t go wrong with Tridel. It’s like you said about Islington Terrace. What do you need to know? Tridel, subway.

Winson Chan: Correct. That’s it, yeah.

Andrew la Fleur: What else do you need to know? That’s great. Well, thanks for the interview today. People want to find you or get a hold of you. What’s the best way to reach you?

Winson Chan: Yeah, I’m always at Tridel head office so just shoot me an email.

Andrew la Fleur: Are you on any social media?

Winson Chan: Yes, I am.

Andrew la Fleur: You’re on Twitter?

Winson Chan: At winstonchan and then …

Andrew la Fleur: Winston Chan on Twitter. Great. Well …

Winson Chan: And on Facebook, you can … The local under Tridel and I’m quite active.

Andrew la Fleur: Okay, well, we’ll include some links to your social media profiles here on the show notes for this episode. You can check that out.
Winson, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you very much for your time.

Winson Chan: Thank you for the opportunity.

Andrew la Fleur: Hopefully we’ll talk again soon.

Winson Chan: Yeah, thank you.

Andrew la Fleur: Okay, there you have it. That was my interview with Winson Chan from Tridel. He’s a great guy and he’s just so passionate about the Tridel brand and condo development. It was great to talk to him.

I was also glad to hear that Winson agreed with me as well, something that I’ve been saying for awhile, that foreign and … The foreign investor bogeyman is really a joke. There’s not a problem in the Toronto condo market and foreign investment. Sure, it exists in Toronto. There are few of foreign investors who are buying condo units, but it’s a tiny minuscule fraction of the market and anyone who tells you otherwise, honestly, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

I also think he’s bang on about Toronto’s desperate need for a rapid transit expansion in order to not lose our status as an emerging world-class city. When this happens, as he said, we will see real estate prices skyrocket in the core.

For more information on Islington Terrace and Aqualena and everything else that we talked about on today’s episode, just head on over to truecondos dot com slash winson. That’s W-I-N-S-O-N and there’s the show notes for this show with all the links to everything we talked about.

Until next time, have a great week and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Speaker 3: Thanks for listening to the True Condos podcast. Remember, your positive reviews make a big difference to the show. To learn more about condo investing, become a True Condo subscriber by visiting truecondos dot com.

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