Hotcakes and bubbles: six real estate metaphors and what they mean for Toronto’s housing market

Hotcakes and bubbles: six real estate metaphors and what they mean for Toronto’s housing market

(Image: Jay Woodworth) 

More and more real estate trend stories appear every day. Clearly, the market is as busy as it was before the recession—Torontonians are selling homes before the interest rate hike and the HST. To avoid using the dreaded term “housing boom,” reporters are getting (somewhat) creative in describing this surge of For Sale signs. Below, a roundup of metaphors and hyperboles and what they mean for the market:

Metaphor: Selling like hotcakes
What it means:
Pre-recession consumerism at its finest. Everyone, no matter how bad their credit, will be a homeowner because house financing is now as cheap as brunch.
Effectiveness:
Low. This term is overused and borders on faint praise (after all, who the hell buys hotcakes nowadays?).
Grade:
D

Metaphor: Riding the knife edge of record low mortgage rates
What it means:
Impending doom. Mortgage rates will be cataclysmic once they go up.
Effectiveness:
Medium. Evokes images of blood and open wounds. Though it makes the house-buying process seem as tame as a gang initiation, it implies that the real pain will come if people wait to buy.
Grade:
B

Metaphor: “Red hot housing market”
What it means:
Just like a batch of cookies coming straight from the oven, the market is getting lots of attention. Prospective buyers who aren’t quick enough will have to rent their dessert.
Effectiveness:
“Red hot” makes us think of fire—a word that should never be uttered when trying to sell a home.
Grade:
C

Metaphor: Canadians have yet to lose their appetite for house shopping
What it means:
Food and shelter are comparable in that they are both needed for survival. This market has far more “want” than “need” as buyers (the ones who survived the massive layoffs, anyway) are looking for an upgrade or an investment.
Effectiveness:
Misleading. Houses can’t be compared to a McDonald’s value meal (at least the latter can get a fixed rate).
Grade:
B-

Metaphor: Homeowners across the country are frantically planting ‘for sale’ signs on their lawns this spring
What it means:
Lots of people are selling their homes (a record 100,000 new listings last month nationwide), but they are doing so with undue alacrity. Read: sellers don’t know what they’re doing.
Effectiveness:
Giggleworthy. The thought of an entire block of homeowners simultaneously hammering for sale signs into their lawns for dear life made us chuckle.
Grade:
B-

Metaphor: “Last gasp for housing”
What it means:
If you don’t buy a house, you’ll die.
Effectiveness:
It works in establishing hoopla. It’s like saying the hottest toy is flying off the shelves during the Christmas season.
Grade:
B+

Coming soon: new metaphors for the city’s inevitable housing crash.