Barry in the News


YAHOO! Finance Canada
Influx of foreign investors from Vancouver fuel Q3 surge in luxury home sales in the GTA, says Barry Cohen Group  

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Sales of $2 million plus homes up 92 per cent over Q3 2015

Third-quarter sales of high-end homes priced over $2 million in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) surged 92 per cent ahead of levels reported in Q3 2015, according to luxury realtor Barry Cohen. Seven hundred and fifty nine homes changed hands between July 1 and September 30, up from 394 sales in the previous year. 

The timing dovetails with the implementation of the 15 per cent property transfer tax on foreign entities in the Greater Vancouver Regional District effective August 2, 2016.  "Foreign investors were transitioning into the GTA within weeks of the tax introduction in Vancouver," says Cohen, a high-end specialist with RE/MAX and the company's number one sales associate in Canada.  "The impact on the market has been significant."

Year-to-date, close to 2,400 upper-end sales have taken place over the $2 million price point in the GTA, an increase of 80 per cent over the 1,312 units reported sold in 2015. This segment, representing approximately 2.6 per cent of the overall marketplace, continues to illustrate the red-hot demand for properties at the top end. Homes priced over $5 million have also experienced heated activity year-to-date, with sales up 41 per cent over last year's levels (79 vs. 56).

Sales of $2 million plus homes in the Greater Toronto Area



















YTD Total:





Source:Toronto Real Estate Board "Market Watch", Barry Cohen Group


Inventory levels continue to challenge affluent purchasers in the Greater Toronto Area, especially at the $2 to $3 million price point. Less than 200 properties are currently listed for sale in Toronto proper, prompting fierce competition for high-end homes, particularly along the Yonge St. corridor. Multiple offers remain commonplace and prices continue to escalate.

Over the $5 million price point, however, listings are more plentiful. While sales are still strong at the uber-luxury level, there are some consumers that are worried that a market correction will occur in late 2017/2018.

"Government intervention is already underway at a federal level to soften the potential impact," says Cohen. "Last week's changes to mortgage qualifications primarily affecting first-time buyers ensures that borrowers can withstand future increase in mortgage rates. It's likely the first of many pre-emptive measures that will be put in place to reduce overall risk in the marketplace."

While Cohen believes that Toronto is unlikely to follow Vancouver's lead, there are fears that the provincial government will levy a transfer tax of some sort on foreign entities in the near future.  Conversely, the Chinese government may move to limit investment. "Either scenario would have far reaching implications for the Canadian housing market."

In the interim, demand for upper-end properties continues unabated in the Greater Toronto Area, setting the stage for yet another record year of home-buying activity in 2016.



Toronto's 'uber' Luxury Real Estate Market  

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Barry Cohen, Broker, RE/MAX Realtron Realty joins BNN to discuss Toronto's "uber" luxury real estate market. He also takes us through one of his latest listings: 16 High Point Road located in Toronto's Bridle Path. View interview here.

Barry Cohen top lifetime RE/MAX donor to SickKids Foundation 

 By Realtors Care

Barry Cohen wasn’t asked to do much more than he already was for the SickKids Foundation.

For 20 years, the RE/MAX Realtron REALTOR in Toronto has donated tens of thousands of dollars each year to the Hospital for Sick Children — a place special to him following the birth of his first son.

“My youngest child was a guest of the hospital for the first month of this life and we almost lost him, but thanks to the good work and experience of the people there, all was figured out,” he says. “I don’t know what the reason was last year, but I picked up the phone and I said to them, ‘What do you need?’”

A donation target was set and with that, Cohen became the top lifetime RE/MAX donor to SickKids.

He is currently recognized as a Patron to SickKids (having donated between $100,000 to $249,000 over his lifetime) and is part of a brokerage that donated $130,000 to SickKids in 2015 alone – making Realtron the top-donating brokerage to SickKids in the country.

“SickKids relies on the generous support of our community and we are grateful for the incredible support that Barry Cohen has shown to our hospital,” said Heather Mills, Associate Director of National Partnerships & Children’s Miracle Network with the SickKids Foundation. “Thanks to his passion and dedication to our cause, we can continue to provide world-class research, learning and care to our patients and their families, from Ontario and around the world.”

Cohen said donating money to any special cause is a “very easy thing to do” thanks to a payroll-based donation system.

“You don’t miss the money and it gives you a very warm feeling to know the kids are benefitting,” Cohen says. “I would like to challenge my peers to double up in their donations like I did last year and to tell people who aren’t giving to get on board.”

CNW Group
Luxury home sales in the GTA post serious gains in 2014 

January 20, 2015 By Economic News, Trends & Analysis

TORONTO, Jan. 20, 2015  /CNW/ - Affluent purchasers in the Greater Toronto Area drove sales of luxury real estate priced over $2 million to new heights in 2014. More than 1,100 upscale homes changed hands by year-end 2014, an increase of 43 per cent over 2013 levels (816 units), according to high-end realtor Barry Cohen.

"The top end of the market has seen consistent double-digit growth in recent years, but 2014's momentum is particularly impressive," says Cohen, RE/MAX's top luxury agent in Toronto.  "Money flowed into luxury housing throughout the year as buyers moved to convert paper wealth to bricks and mortar. Limited inventory also played a role in the city's blue chip areas, as fewer overall properties listed for sale created ideal conditions for sellers.  Solid equity gains on existing properties, combined with strong stock market performance, low interest rates, and continued economic recovery, fuelled exceptional activity in what was one of the hottest high-end markets in the GTA's history."

GTA Residential Housing Sales Over $ 2 Million









Source:  Toronto Real Estate Board, MarketWatch


Leading in terms of high-end sales activity were neighbourhoods south of the 401 in the central core, with Bridle Path, York Mills, Hogg's Hollow, Sunnybrook taking the lead at just over 170 sales over $2 million in 2014.  Ledbury Park, Lawrence Park, Cricket Club, and Lytton Park (132 sales), Rosedale (109 sales), South Hill, Annex, and Yorkville (100 sales), and Forest Hill (74 sales) rounded out the top five areas in the C-district, comprising more than 50 per cent of sales over $2 million in 2014.  There were also 29 sales over $5 million in the GTA, including the most expensive home sold in 2014 at $14.2 million. The highest priced property currently listed for sale is a $25 million Bridle Path estate once owned by financier Robert Campeau.  The home is listed with Barry Cohen.

Sales activity at the $2 million plus price point also outperformed the overall residential housing market in 2014.  The top end of the market now represents just over one per cent of total residential sales (based on 92,867 homes sold in 2014). 

"Looking forward, the same factors are expected to buoy sales in the high end in 2015, albeit at a more tempered pace," explains Cohen. "Supply will likely remain an issue at the top end, especially for single-detached homes in the GTA's central core, which will continue to prompt existing homeowners to make their moves. Given the country's ailing energy sector, the Bank of Canada is unlikely to hike interest rates anytime soon, which will bode well for the luxury market over the next 12 months.  Stock market gains will also continue to filter into residential real estate in 2015, although the trend is expected to slow somewhat from 2014 levels."

Barry Cohen is a respected member of the GTA's real estate community and has served the needs of both buyers and sellers for more than three decades.  Barry joined RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc. Brokerage in 1992 and has consistently placed among the organization's top sales associates.  He ranked #1 in Canada for RE/MAX in 2004, 2006, and 2009, earned global recognition by placing #2 worldwide twice for RE/MAX LLC, and is the recipient of numerous RE/MAX Awards, including the Luminary of Distinction-RE/MAX LLC's highest honour. The award recognizes agents with no less than 20 years of service together with $20 million in commissions.  There are 33 members worldwide -- out of 97,000 active agents.  Since 2008, he has been the top agent in the city for home sales over $2 million, according to statistics compiled from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

The Globe and Mail

HOME OF THE WEEK: Robert Campeau’s Bridle Path château for sale 
Friday, October 17, 2014  By Carolyn Ireland

The back story

Even within the exclusive environs of The Bridle Path, business titan Robert Campeau astonished the neighbours with his extravagance when he purchased two lots in the north Toronto neighbourhood and had the houses razed to make way for a 28,000-square-foot mansion built to resemble a château in France’s Loire Valley.

Campeau Corp. was emblematic of 1980s excess, when leveraged buyouts and junk bonds were the talk of Wall Street. Born in Sudbury, Ont., Mr. Campeau became a home builder and went on to build a real estate and retail empire valued at $10-billion at its apex. His brash multibillion-dollar takeovers of such storied retail names as Bloomingdales and Brooks Brothers made him world-famous.

Soon stories began circulating about the unparalleled opulence at 68 The Bridle Path: There were 10 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, and a ballroom where members of high society twirled around on a dance floor set atop the indoor swimming pool.

The illustrious overnight guests, legend had it, included former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and the actor Jane Fonda. The house itself was blessed by the Archbishop of Toronto.

Then, in the early 1990s, Mr. Campeau’s debt-ridden real estate empire collapsed and he was ousted from the company. He decamped to Austria, leaving his palatial Bridle Path estate to sit empty for many years.

The house today

Today, visitors announce their arrival over an intercom outside the gated estate.

When the wrought iron gate slides back, visitors travel a long drive that winds and dips toward a circular cobblestone motor court encircling an antique fountain. If they happened to notice the dolphin motif in the entry gate, the guests will see it repeated in iron work throughout the house.

The dolphin was a popular emblem in the royal houses of 17th century France, says the current owner, who with his wife bought the languishing property nearly 13 years ago as a home for themselves and their two children.

They brought in a prominent heritage architect – the late Gordon Ridgely – and the interior designer Brian Gluckstein to complete and decorate the interior. Landscape architect Ronald Holbrook created the formal gardens.

The owner begins a tour of the palatial estate by pointing out the symmetry that the architect and designers established right from the front door. A mirror above the fireplace reflects the ornate chandelier hanging from the domed ceiling. The mirror features the same shell motif found in the hand-carved Louis XV fireplace, which was imported from France, the owner points out.

The grand foyer, with a domed ceiling 27 feet above the stone floor, contains a sweeping staircase that rises to a surrounding gallery on the second floor.

The bronze and gilt chandelier once would have been lit by candles but has since been electrified, the owner says. A second storey gallery is a good place for the orchestra to set up during parties, he adds.

Flanking the fireplace, Bergère chairs and delicate pieces of Sèvres porcelain are balanced next to two doors offering glimpses of the great room beyond. “It creates a sense of beauty that brings you forward into the next room,” the owner says.

The sunken great room is designed to evoke a French orangerie, the owner says.

The architect and designers added plaster mouldings and decorations, which were applied with painstaking attention to authenticity, the owner says. They also added a patina to the walls and trim so they would not appear starkly new.

“There needed to be a softness applied to the background to let all of these elements come together in the foreground,” he says, pointing out the antique furniture, oil paintings, clock sets and Gallé glass collected on trips to France.

The great room in turn opens to a 2,500-square-foot terrace that overlooks formal gardens, the owner says.

A horseshoe staircase that connects the garden to the terrace was originally designed so men could ascend up one side and women the other, the owner says. That way, the men wouldn’t catch a glimpse of the ladies’ ankles when they lifted the skirts of their gowns to climb the stairs.

The main floor also offers a large kitchen with a breakfast area overlooking the garden. There’s a formal dining room, a library and Mr. Campeau’s home office.

“I did keep the office chair that belonged to Robert Campeau,” says the owner, who adds he was surprised one day when Mr. Campeau showed up at the property to reminisce.

Upstairs, the master suite has a bedroom, sitting area, his-and-hers en suite bathrooms and dual dressing rooms.

The third floor provides more bedrooms, including the one where Mr. Trudeau is rumoured to have slept. A separate apartment provides a private space for a nanny or household staff.

Throughout the house, the owner has found authentic chandeliers, sconces and period furnishings. The draperies are made of fabrics from such noted French design houses as Scalamandré. They are trimmed as they would have been in a Loire Valley château and held in place by authentic hardware.

The house also comes with a golf cart, which the owner uses to tour of the property. A tennis court at the rear disappears from view behind shrubs and mature trees. Beyond the formal gardens, the lot extends to Wilket Creek.

The house will likely appeal to a buyer who appreciates the location and the authenticity of the renovation, says real estate agent Barry Cohen of ReMax Realtron. “The buyer now inherits the work,” he says of the lengthy design process. “They move into the lifestyle, and they’re 10 years ahead.”

Much of the furniture and many objets d’art will remain with the house.

Sales in the upper echelons of Toronto’s real estate market have been brisk in recent months, Mr. Cohen observes, adding that domestic and overseas buyers have been purchasing Toronto luxury properties. “There’s a lot of world wealth.”

The best feature

The ozonated, chemical-free indoor swimming pool is housed in a 5,000-square-foot, cedar-lined pavilion with windowed French doors that can be opened wide to bring the outdoors in. A circular oak staircase leads from the master bedroom suite down to the pool.

When the retractable floor is in place over the pool, the area can accommodate 300 guests for a sit-down dinner – with room left over for dancing.

Throw open the doors, says the owner, and the merriment can expand onto the terrace overlooking the garden. “It’s such a celebration, this house.”



The Globe and Mail
REAL ESTATE: HIGH END HOMES Sale of $13.8-million home caps blockbuster spring 

Saturday, June 13, 2009  By Jill Colvin

Just sold:  an 18,000-square-foot Bridle Path mansion listed at $13.8-million.

The gate home at 32 High Point Road features six bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and a five-car garage.  Its interior boasts vaulted ceilings, mahogany and cherry woods, limestone and marble floors, and 14-inch plaster mouldings.  It sits on two beautifully manicured acres and includes a wine cellar, servants’ quarters and an elevator.

For all its abundant charms, the house hadn’t sold when previously listed. But the sale now, completed just 14 days after relisting, marks an important turning point: It is the first home listed over $10-million that has sold in Toronto in more than a year. It is also part of what has turned out to be a blockbuster spring for the city’s high-end real-estate market.

May, 2009, ended as the strongest month on record for luxury property sales in the Greater Toronto Area, one of Canada’s leading real-estate organizations said yesterday.  A total of 273 properties valued at more than $1-million were sold last month, up 6 per cent from May of last year.  That’s more than any month since the Toronto Real Estate Board began keeping count, Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada said, shattering the previous record of 266 set in May, 2007.

“Consumer confidence has definitely returned to the market,” reMax spokeswoman Christine Martysiewicz said. Real-estate agents credit low interest rates and a rosier economic forecast for the recent bounce.  Luxury sales have been steadily increasing through the year jumping from just 28 in January to 216 in April, Ms Martysiewicz said.

“you have a lot of people who’ve been sitting on the fence,” said Toronto Real Estate Board president Maureen O’Neill, who is also a broker with Bosley Real Estate Inc.  Now that recession fears are easing, those fence-sitters are getting back in the game.  

Barry Cohen, a ReMax Realtron broker who specializes in high-end home listings and oversaw the sale of 31 High Point Road, said he started noticing an increase in calls from interested buyers around the end of March. He is currently showing the house next door to 32 High Point, listed at $23-million – the most expensive in the city.

Elli Davis, Royal LePage’s top agent in Toronto, said some buyers who may have wanted to purchase high-end homes have been waiting until they felt the time was right.

“Many people put their plans on hold” said Ms. Davis, who has sold at least six-million-plus homes in the past three months, She said buyers who were â¨waiting for the bottom to hit” believe now is the time to act. Agents have also noticed buyers who have seen their portfolios pummeled by a volatile stock market looking to real estate as an alternative investment.

“I think a lot of people lost faith in the stock market.” Ms. Davis said. While home values in the city have decreased, “mathematically, clearly real estate won.”

Unlike many U.S. cities, who’s markets were crippled by the recession, the average home price in the GTA fell less than 1 per cent from May, 2008, to May, 2009, Ms. Martysiewicz said. And while overall home sale are down year-to-date from 2008, at this rate agents expect final 2009 sales to match or surpass last year’s figures.

Heidi Miller, a Toronto chartered accountant and mother of two, purchase a home in the Armour Heights neighbourhood in March. She and her husband hadn’t been planning to move until they saw that roomy home in their ideal location had been put on the market for $890,000, which they thought was a steal.  The jumped and, after a bidding war with two others interested buyers, won the sale.  

“We saw an absolutely amazing opportunity,” she said.  “it’s truly a great time to buy a house.”


Toronto Star
BUSINESS: Pricey Homes ride out recession

 Wednesday, November 4, 2009  By Tony Wong, Business Reporter

Selling million-dollar homes in the middle of a recession is a tough slog.  But the market this time around has been less painful than in the pas, say luxury realtor Barry Cohen.  “But apart from a bad winter, it looks like we haven’t really skipped a beat.”

“Typically in a recession luxury homes are the first to dive in price and the last to recover,” says Toronto realtor Barry Cohen.  “But apart from a bad winter, it looks like we haven’t really skipped a beat.” Cohen sold a home on the Bridle Path for $11.8 million, the highest price for a resale home sold this year.  And he currently has 22 homes listed for more than $1 million.

According to a report by ReMax Ontario Atlantic Canada released Tuesday, the market for million-dollar homes in the Greater Toronto Area was actually slightly stronger this year than last. There were 1,706 luxury home sales of $1 million or over in the GTA in the nine months ending in September, compared with 1,687 sales last year, an increase of 1 per cent.  The bulk of those sales were made in the last quarter.

“A considerable shift is underway in the upper end,” says Michael Polzer, executive vice-president of ReMax.  “Conditions are more balanced across the board.”

The luxury market still lags sales in the overall market, which are up 4.5 per cent compared with last year.  But no one thought many consumers would be buying luxury properties during the downturn. During the first four months of this year, sales of luxury homes and condos were the hardest hit, as consumers retrenched. The market came to life when stock markets stage a comeback earlier this year along with promises of bonus cheques on Bay Street.

“That was the green light,” says Cohen.  “you had the stock brokers and the fund managers coming back to the housing market.”
But it’s still a tenuous recovery.  Most luxury sales are in the “entry-level” $1 to 1.5 million range.

Although there are 18 properties in Ontario listed at more than $10 million, luxury buyers are still cautious about entering the upper end of the market, also known as ‘super luxury.” As a result traditional blue-chip neighbourhoods such as Rosedale and Forest Hill are seeing sales down from a year ago, while less prestigious neighbourhoods are gaining sales. And unlike average homes, luxury homes aren’t flying out the door in a week.

Cohen has one York Mills-area home listed for almost $5 million. The 9,500-square-foot heritage home has seven bedrooms and sits on a lot of .04 hectares.  It has been on the market for five months, and the original listing price was $5.5 million.  It was probably best known as the millionaire’s home in Tommy Boy, a comedy starring Chris Farley, David Spade and Bo Derek.

The priciest home in Ontario is a $23 million, French-inspired chateau on the Bridle Path, built by developer Paul Miklas.  It is also co-listed by Cohen.

Most luxury markets are down globally.  The big exception is some areas still experiencing growth, such as Asia.  The largest sale of a residence has been in Hong Kong, where a condo recently went for $56.0 Million (U.S.), or more than $11,000 per square foot.  At just over 5,000 square feet.  The condo was large, but not palatioal, although the price certainly was.

In Toronto, it is not hard to hit the million-dollar mark on what would be considered a modest-looking home in some neighbourhoods. As a result, many of the million-dollar sales are happening away from the more expensive central core, as a million dollars doesn’t quite buy what it used to.  Areas like the Beach and Riverdale to the east are seeing record prices.  The most expensive sale in the Beach this year was for $3.15 million.  In Riverdale, the priciest listing is a historic home on a 33 feet by 360 feet lot for $3.89 million.  Young professionals trying to get more luxury bang for the buck have also moved up to Thornhill and Richmond Hill, which experienced the highest number of million-dollar homes sales by neighbourhood.

In Oakville, a favourtie with Bay Street bankers, prices were down by almost 20 per cent earlier this year.  But prices have bounced back: this year’s most expensive sale was a waterside home for $7 million.  

One area that hasn’t done well in the luxury homes market is Hamilton, where sales are down by 32 per cent compared with last year.


National Post
MARKET LEADERS: Teamwork Built for the Customer

In the residential real estate business, where hyperbole goes with the turf, real estate agent Barry Cohen still stands head and shoulders above the crowd. His accomplishments are near legendary.

If you need an example of what Mr. Cohen and his support team at Re/Max Realtron Realty Inc. do on a regular basis, look at their sales so far this year. While media reports were warning that the real estate business had fallen on hard times because of a global recession, Mr. Cohen and his crew were totting up 75 homes sales by the end of August. While many of his sales are found in the luxury home markets of Toronto, including Forest Hill, Lawrence Park, North Toronto and Thornhill, about 60% of them were in the York Mills area, which experts say has become one of the toughest sells in the GTA.

That, however, is not the way Mr. Cohen sees it. “It just takes a bit longer to find the right buyer,” he says. “It also takes the right strategy, which is something we excel at.” Proof of that pudding lies in the prices Mr. Cohen has been able to achieve in an area others dismiss as a tough market. A year-to-date review of the York Mills market reveals that Mr. Cohen outsells his closest competitors by more than two to one, and over the average by 25 to one — impressive numbers indeed.

No task seems too tough for the Cohen team. Earlier this year, he sold a home for the highest price reported during the past two years on the Toronto Multiple Listing Service.

List price was $13.8-million. “Another broker had the listing on and off for two years with little success.We managed to sell it in 14 days after the owner came to us,” he says.

While Mr. Cohen is indeed the master of the area known as C12, bounded by Highway 401 to the north, Lawrence Avenue East to the south, Yonge Street to the west and Leslie Street to the east, he and his multi-lingual sales team cover the entire city, speaking six languages, including Cantonese, Mandarin and Farsi. The team includes Aaron Luftspring, Rita Chan, Bernita Iaboni, Naomi Larry and administrators Hooman Aliary and Karen Draper.

“Each of them brings a specialty. Our clients range from the novice first-timer to the savvy, ‘where-do-I-go-fromhere’ empty-nester,” he says. “But what we all share is a dedication to our clients and that competitive spirit that drives us towards getting the best net for all our clients.”

Doing his best has propelled Mr. Cohen into the real estate stratosphere. In both 2004 and 2006 he was Re/Max Corp.’s top sales person in Canada, and in 2006 No. 3 worldwide in Re/Max global operations. Currently, Mr. Cohen is the No. 1 Toronto real estate agent based on total sales volume as reported by Re States Inc. for July 31, 2009. It compiles its data from the Toronto Real Estate Board’s published statistics.

What sets Mr. Cohen apart beyond his exceptional service is his insight and natural negotiation ability, combined with invaluable experience. “I have been doing this for three decades and have navigated through three major market corrections. Each of them has taught me important lessons, lessons that I can bring to bear on behalf of our clients.” One of those lessons is that a fast sale is usually less important than getting the best price.

Each neighbourhood presents its own challenge, he says. Each has its own pace when it comes to sales and that pace can change on a dime. Mr. Cohen jokes that, “If a home is priced right, it almost feels like it only takes three hours to sell a home in Rosedale, three days to sell a property in Forest Hill, three weeks in Lawrence Park and as much three months in YorkMills. “Demand and supply are in constant play and you have to know an area intimately to achieve the best results.”

In the YorkMills area at the moment, anything priced up to about $1.5-million, which is approximately the average sale price for this area, should almost immediately attract a ready buyer, he says. That ballpark figure is borne out byMr. Cohen’s sales to date.

While Mr. Cohen enjoys sales from $600,000 to double-digitmillion- dollar homes, the average selling price for those 45 York Mills homes was about $2.1 million. “What may be most impressive, however, is that 80% of those sales represented a record price, compared with other recent sales,” he says, something that Mr. Cohen does almost routinely.

The secret of Mr. Cohen’s astonishing success, what lifts the Cohen team well above the pack, is the process they follow. In many ways it seems lifted from a business school text book. Great success lies in the detail, in the planning and in the understanding of the market and the wants, needs and expectations of buyers and sellers, he explains. “We start by preparing a written marketing strategy,” he says. “Then, we follow that plan and strive to share regular daily and weekly feedback sessions with the client. We constantly monitor the market and pursue potential leads.” The process can regularly include full-colour magazine ads, web links to U.S. newspapers, classified ads, full Internet exposure and the personal accompaniment of either Barry Cohen or a team member at every showing, the latter of which makes the difference time and time again.

“High-end Toronto neighborhoods are increasingly global in nature,” he says. “The ability to reach out to buyers wherever theymay be is one of the keys to our success.” But it is in the challenge and negotiations that Mr. Cohen thrives and shines, he says. “A skilled negotiator can make all the difference when it comes to getting maximum price for his sellers or the best price for his buyers,” he says. But that only comes from years of success through more than 30 years of experience and his commitment to net his clients more.