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I love to travel. It’s so interesting to experience new places, climates and foods, and to interact with people from different cultures. What fascinates me is that the more I travel, the more I learn about “home” as well.

When I tell people I live in Toronto, I am reminded just how prominent our city is on the world stage as a desirable residential destination. Toronto was recently ranked the fourth most livable city in the world by The Economist magazine, and I can understand why.

In the past year and a half, I have visited Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Dublin and Moscow. Talk about a diverse range of cultures and new home markets! And yet, wherever I was, I consistently found people positively impressed with Canada, and Toronto in particular, especially with our real estate situation. In many ways, we are the envy of the rest of the world.

Of course, our banking system is much sounder than in the United States, and that helps a lot. We came through the recession well, and condominium sales in the Greater Toronto Area are extremely healthy. In the U.S., buildings are sitting vacant, and we have emails coming in about homes and condominiums that are devalued because of the complexity of the U.S. recession. Going in the other direction, anyone who has looked south to warmer winter climates for their second or vacation homes, NOW is the optimum time to consider purchasing a property there, with prices that will likely never be seen again. There are opportunities across the state, from the Atlantic to the Gulf, in Palm Beach, Delray, Clearwater and Vero Beach, to name a few hot locales.

In fact, we’ve had so many inquiries that Baker Real Estate Incorporated has opened a U.S. headquarters in Boca Raton, and we’ve hired Jack Halkowich, one of Florida’s top real estate executives, as our new Executive Vice President to oversee U.S. operations.

Looking at the picture here at home, our sound, stable economy and peaceful democratic society lso continue to attract immigrants and foreign investors from much farther away. In fact, 2010 was the biggest year ever for immigration, with 250,000 newcomers to Canada. And half of them came to live in the GTA!

The Russians were impressed with the quality and choice we offer here, and Eastern Europeans find our city appealing for a second home, vacation home or investment property. They appreciate the fact that Toronto is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and safest cities. It’s easy to understand why so many immigrants want to move here and investors want to place their money in our condos.

Realtors approach Baker Real Estate Incorporated about purchasing condominium suites here from all over the world, including Asia, India, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. The more I travel, the more I appreciate what we have here – literally one of the best lifestyles anywhere!