Days spent waiting in line pay off as new homes snapped up
Published Saturday, October 22, 2016 4:18PM EDT Last Updated Saturday, October 22, 2016 6:29PM EDT
Imagine everything that goes with lining up days in advance to try and get your hands on a new home – taking time off of work, sleeping in your car, relying on other people to bring you food, and surviving temperatures that have dipped near the freezing mark.
Now imagine doing all of that and coming away empty-handed.
That was the reality Saturday for people like Matt Rasa.
Rasa arrived in Waterloo on Wednesday to stand in line for new lots being put up for sale Saturday in the Vista Hills subdivision by developer Fusion Homes.
There were about 30 people ahead of him in line for the 20 lots – some of whom had already been there for about three days – but that didn’t deter the Brampton resident from hoping he’d be able to purchase a home.
Once Saturday rolled around, all 20 lots were snatched up before his turn in line.
“There’s nothing you can do about it,” he said.
“It’s been happening in Toronto for months and months. People are lining up for million-dollar homes.”
There were some rules in place. Fusion Homes posted a note on its door stating that everyone in line must be either a prospective buyer themselves or a real estate agent representing a buyer. Additionally, security guards made hourly roll calls to ensure nobody had skipped out on the line.
Anil Mishra arrived Wednesday, spending what he describes as three “very uncomfortable” nights in his car before being told Saturday that he too was too far back in the line to get one of the lots.
Now that he has that knowledge, he says, he would rather have seen the developer give out numbers to people who show up early, then send them away with instructions to come back Saturday and present their number.
Other developers use a lottery system, allowing people who don’t have the ability to spend days on end in line a better shot at their homes.
Marc Petitpas, the vice-president of sales for Fusion Homes, says the company will likely be putting one of those practices – or at least something similar – into place.
“It’s unfortunate that clients have had to go through this,” he said.
“We’re going to learn from this and ensure that these lineups aren’t going to happen again in the future.”
While Fusion Homes has seen similar lineups in Guelph recently, Petitpas said this week marked the first time people had arrived at its Waterloo office days in advance of lots going on sale.
Some of the people who missed out on lots Saturday suggested that the first 20 people in line had all been out-of-town buyers.
Petitpas denied that, estimating that 75 per cent of the buyers were people who already lived in Waterloo Region – though he did agree that people from the Greater Toronto Area are starting to notice the lower house prices to the west.
“There is an influx coming, but we’re trying to control it the best way we can,” he said.
Prices for the Fusion Homes lots sold Saturday ranged from $469,000 for a new home on a 36-foot lot to $710,000 for one on a 50-foot lot.
With reporting by Victoria Levy