Annex Post - - COVER STORY -

THE DRAGON, MICHELE RO­MANOW: So I am go­ing to be the only con­trar­ian here, be­cause I’m probably the only per­son here that doesn’t own a house. I spent my money in­vest­ing in tech com­pa­nies. The fact that I didn’t own a house gave me an enor­mous amount of free­dom. So I was able to sell a com­pany to Groupon and move to Chicago. Then I moved to San Fran­cisco. My first home was re­ally a sail­boat with two be­d­rooms. We have to stop think­ing of rentals as some­thing you do when you can’t af­ford a house be­cause there is a new group of mil­len­ni­als that does not have their goals set on home own­er­ship. THE CONDO KING, BRAD LAMB: Well, my first home was not a home to live in. I was liv­ing at my par­ents’ house. I was squir­rel­ing money away to be­come a real es­tate in­vestor. I bought a town­house in Lon­don, Ont., for $34,000 in 1985. I sold it a year later for $57,000. THE PLAN­NER, JEN­NIFER KEESMAAT: My first house was with my hus­band, we too squir­reled away. I lived with my in-laws in or­der to save up. Then when we bought the house, this was 18 years ago, and rented out the main floor and base­ment. We lived in the top two floors. We saw that as a strate­gic way of en­ter­ing a mar­ket in Toronto, which at that time, we thought, was re­ally over­heated, even to the point where we moved into Ron­ces­valles. Our neigh­bours came over when they heard we’d bought our house for $360,000, and said, "Oh my God, what have you done? You don't un­der­stand this mar­ket. You paid way too much money.” Of course, that house now, which we are no longer in, would trade at well over $2 mil­lion. THE FI­NANCE ACE, JOE OLIVER: It’s 1973. My first son was one year old, so it was time to buy a house. We started look­ing. It was ei­ther a small, old place down­town, or in the sub­urbs around York Mills and Les­lie you got a big barn. So we opted for the lat­ter. In the six months that we were look­ing, prices went from an as­ton­ish­ing $55,000 to $65,000. So I was dis­traught. My fi­nan­cial life was in ruin. I went to the bank, and I spoke to Earl McLaugh­lin, who was head of the main branch, who later be­came the CEO of the Royal Bank. “How much do you wish to bor­row,” he asked. “$65,000,”I said.

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