Arthur Berlin Podcast
01 – Mortgage Financing, Interest Rates & More with Arthur Berlin
January 22, 2019
4HUndred East Mall Townhomes
4Hundred East Mall
March 5, 2019

A few weeks ago Toronto Life published an article titled “How a 32 year-old managed to accumulate 10 homes in Toronto” ( and if you haven’t read it already, I suggest allocating 2 minutes of your time to giving it a quick read. There a few reasons why this story resonated with me and I predict has done so with at least a few of you as well – 1. This individuals story to Real Estate success is truly inspirational 2. We all hope to achieve comparable success in our Real Estate journeys.

The looming question that I had after the read however is whether or not it is realistic to pull of a similar feat in todays real estate market. One item to note, despite the strong headline which reads that this young man accumulated 10 homes, he makes it clear towards the end of the article that half of the portfolio belongs to his partners. Acquiring 5 properties on your own is still no small feat and shouldn’t be underappreciated.

First and foremost any Real Estate journey must start with determination, willingness to risk, and sacrifice. Throughout the article author mentions his choice to stay in while others were going out, to live in the basement of his own home and many other sacrifices along the way. You must ask yourself if you’re willing to take such drastic steps in order to achieve your real estate success.

Now that I’ve mentioned the word realistic, it is important to define what I feel is truly realistic for a young millennial to strive towards. Do I think it is realistic to acquire 10 properties in the span of 9 years with no outside help from family or friends and merely relying on partners? No, I do not believe this is achievable in todays real estate market, especially if this portfolio of properties is to be situated in Toronto. A quick chat with your mortgage broker will indicate that the lending rules have shifted dramatically in the past few years, especially those relating directly to investment properties. Whereas once upon a time you were able to refinance up to 95% of your homes equity, today the cap is 80%. Not to mention the lending ratios must align and with the escalating prices this is getting more difficult by the minute. The realistic target that I will set for my reader and a target I am personally striving towards is 3 properties.


In the following paragraphs I will detail exactly how I would begin to accumulate properties in TODAYS real estate market.


The toughest question for an aspiring property baron is where to start. What I mean here is – what property should you be buying first? Your very first real estate purchase, this will be nerve-wracking and is of paramount importance as it is meant to pave the way for your future purchases.

New Home Benchmark Prices, Altus Group

Average asking price Condo vs Single Family in GTA

I would suggest starting with a freehold, preferably detached property. Early 2019 Statistics indicate that the gap hasn’t been this narrow between asking prices of GTA condos vs GTA freehold properties since 2015! (see graph, source: Altus Group).
Trust me that 2019 is when buyer aversion to freehold properties will end, and detached/semi-detached homes will begin to appreciate fast, especially those under the 1M mark. Proximity to world-class transit is very important so we are following a similar roadmap that the 32 year-old real estate investor did. A very useful infographic put together by Zoocasa was circulating the internet recently and I am sure you have seen

it – “House and Condo Prices by TTC Subway Stops”. If you inspect the

House and Condo Price TTC subway stops

House and Condo Prices by TTC Subway Stops

image you will notice that homes located East of the Victoria Park Subway station in Scarborough and detached homes at the Vaughan Metropolitan subway stop are in the $700’s. This is where I would start. Purchasing a 3B detached home, ideally with a walk-out basement, under 900K is possible and a fantastic decision. Not only can the basement serve as additional living unit for a tenant (or yourself) but the upstairs 3B’s can also be utilized effectively. This may include Airbnb or finding a roommate. Options are available and you are only limited by your imagination and your own preconceived limitations. By my estimates, it is possible to have the monthly house mortgage payment substantially or even fully covered by your tenants by strategically organizing your living situation.

Once the first property is operational and running smoothly, you can proceed to purchase two more properties. This is where pre-construction will be extremely effective if planned correctly. Consider purchasing two small 1 Bedroom condo suites, with staggered closings. What I mean by this is make sure the projects are set to occupy and close ideally 1-2 years apart. As an example you may purchase at M2M Condos, set to close in Summer in 2022 and your second purchase may be at YSL Condos closing in Fall of 2023. Look at projects selling at a reasonable PPSF versus resale and with a lower initial deposit requirement (ie. instead of the typical 20%, look for 10% deposit developments – there are some out there!). By doing so you are putting yourself in position to be able to complete the purchase and satisfy the builder deposit requirement.

Completing some initial renovations whenever possible to the freehold property will further raise its value, and assuming the mortgage payment is taken care of by your tenants or/and Airbnb income, you can proceed with an aggressive mortgage paydown strategy. In 3 years, assuming appreciation of 15-20% coupled with a significantly paid down principal, equity could be pulled out. These funds will be used for your first and second pre-con closings.

I realize this strategy is somewhat risky and very much predicated on having a well-paying job, whether that’s single or dual income. The truth is, Real estate rewards risk, and you best believe the young man who is the subject of the Toronto Life Story accumulated 10 properties in Toronto by taking plenty of them.

Shoot me any questions or feedback, would love to hear your perspectives!