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On MLS.ca, a million bucks ain't what it was

The new benchmark of envy is $10 million in a market gone mad

This week, the addictive real estate database MLS.ca, a fascinating social barometer, made a 10-fold increase for the maximum price in its search field, to $10 million.

No longer is the mystical "unlimited" that occupies the final line on the pop-down menu preceded by the rather humdrum figure of $1 million, and outdated arrangement that suggested anyone with a mere million was just one step removed from people like Conrad Black and Paris Hilton.

"Increasing the property ranges up to $10,000,000 increases the flexibility of searches," explained Jody Cox, a spokesperson for the Canadian Real Estate Association, which runs MLS.ca on behalf of its 90,000 members in the industry. "It used to be a maximum of $1 million. What we've run into over the last couple of years is there have been a couple more properties running beyond that."

A couple?

A quick search of the site reveals that, as of Thursday, 487 homes are currently listed between the $1 million and "unlimited" range in Toronto alone (and an additional 13 at $999,000).

In one year, between the first quarter of 2006 and 2007, the number of homes sold in Toronto for more than $1 million increased by 22 per cent. The figure, like the moniker, "millionaire,"is now attainable for a remarkable number of Canadians.

A survey conducted by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young estimated there were 315,000 millionaires in Canada at the start of 2001. The firm projected the number would reach 900,000 by the year 2010.

The psychology of the real estate industry is to keep up with the Joneses, so in a market built on aspiration, if million-dollar homes - and a million dollars - have become so commonplace, it only makes sense to up the ante.

MLS.ca is just a tool, a place where even millionaires can now go to find out just how close they are to the next magical line in the search field.

San Grewal
Toronto Star
June 30, 2007

Posted on Wednesday, July 4, 2007 at 02:42PM by Registered CommenterElaine in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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