Buyer Unaware of Home’s Grim History

Here is an interesting article in the Toronto Star in which I provide my opinion on Real Estate Stigma.

Soon after moving into their seemingly idyllic new home, a family learns of a brutal crime committed against former residents of the dwelling . . . That’s the one-sentence synopsis of Dream House, a new Hollywood thriller — opening Friday — starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.

And it was almost a reality for Samuel Jacques, a 30-year-old Bolton resident who was all set to buy his family’s first home until he saw the two-storey townhouse flash across his television screen last month.

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Stigma Revisited

As I study the statistics from across Canada one thing is clear, there is no uniform market condition. Windsor in decline, Saskatoon is booming. Within cities certain neighbourhoods are faring better than others. The recession, if that is what we are officially in is at best fragmented in Canada.

What I am noticing in my appraisal practice though is an abundant rise in litigation and many of the issues concern stigma. Termites, UFFI, mould, grow operations are now open files on my desk and I have a problem quantifying the losses in value.
Make no mistake, there are substantial losses in value but the big problem is the market. We know that sales activity in most regions is down and in some areas the decline is significant.

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