'It's not just for the rich – it's for the average person, too,' he says
Investing in pre-construction Toronto condos is not just for the rich, says Canadian comedian Russell Peters, who has teamed up with The Condo Store to promote its progress in the burgeoning alternative investment of pre-construction condominium development.
“It’s good if you have high-end clients, but it’s basically open to anybody,” Peters, an award-winning stand-up comic, actor, and producer, told Wealth Professional. “It’s for people who want to do more with their minimum down payment. So, it’s affordable for people who always look at that as ‘well, that’s for rich people’. It’s really not. It’s a situation where you can come in and safely do it.
“The fact is that it’s open to a lot of people. It was a wonderful thing for me. I don’t like elite-type things. It not my game,” he said, noting his parents worked in a K-Mart and meat-packing plant. “I was actually below the average person, so I want others to know this is easier than they think.”
The Condo Store is a 17-year-old boutique investment company that specializes in pre-construction condo real estate in Toronto. While it has about 300 high-net-worth clients, mostly doctors, surgeons, and business professionals, and has invested in about $25 billion worth of projects, Peters, who is also a client, says it can benefit others who can make the down-payment and take advantage of the firm’s two or three offerings each year.
“Toronto is the number one condo city in the world for the last few years with regards to the number of buildings going on. We have a fundamental housing shortage that it’s going to take 20 to 25 years to fill,” said Simon Mass, The Condo Store’s chief executive officer, adding that the Toronto market has seen incredible growth in the past 30 years. “We want to spread the word that the pre-construction sector is its own asset class “
Mass said the firm likes to get into a developing area early and get out before it begins to price too high. Its annual return on investment for all its investments has been 43% because of the leverage model that it uses, the fact that the Toronto real estate market increases by 7% to 12% a year, and it takes five to seven years to complete a project.
“We’re using the art of leverage to basically encompass a very, very large double digit return on investments, which isn’t for everyone,” said Mass. “Because at the end of the day, we’re only dealing with qualified investors, and they have to be able to close on those investments.
“Our clients are side-by-side partners in buying and supporting the pre-construction condo space in Toronto, and it isn’t just for mom-and-pop investors. Our clients are buying 20 to 40 units every few years. So, they’re growing their asset class in the real estate sector and they’re doing it in one of the smartest ways because they’re using leverage. They’re really able to buy properties with very little down because it takes five or six years for that property to be delivered. So, we are really looking to attract new high-net-worth clients and family offices because I think this sector, the pre-construction space, has been really overlooked by a lot of high-net-worth investors.”
Peters has lived in Los Angeles for almost 17 years. He got involved with The Condo Store after selling his Toronto home at the beginning of the pandemic. He wanted a Toronto home again so that he didn’t feel like a visitor here. He met Mass about three years ago, saw how reputable his business was and liked his the track record, and became a client before becoming the firm’s ambassador.
“It was a great relationship and partnership,” said Mass, noting that Peters was also his East Indian clients’ favourite comedian.
While The Condo Store isn’t currently raising investment money, Mass said it would be working on a new project in the next 60 days when Peters also returns for a concert.
Peters said buying condos is better than houses, which only take 15 to 16 months to build, because “it’s like finger food to me. Do you want the main course? Or do you want the appetizers? I think I’m going to have a bunch of appetizers because it feels like a much more convenient purchase since I don’t have to worry about gardening and all that stuff. When you buy a condo, it’s self-sufficient, and that’s really the name of the game for me.”