A Toronto man is hoping to orchestrate a series of trades that will allow him to parlay a tiny toy car into a ticket into the city's red-hot real estate market.
Charles Moffatt really wants a condominium.
But he doesn't have much money and is still paying off university debts. And he's skeptical about the health of the condo market in Toronto. The average price of a condo across the 416 and 905 area codes was $339,978 in April, up four per cent year over year, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
"I don't really want to get into the condo market right now, because I think it's going to burst in the next couple of years," he told CBC's Metro Morning in a Thursday interview.
"For me, it I think it would be much more logical for me to trade my way up into it rather than buy into it and then lose half my money when the market collapses."
The starting point for Moffatt was a Hot Wheels 2008 Dodge Challenger.
Moffatt concedes his idea isn't original – Montrealer Kyle MacDonald was able to go from a red paper clip to a two-storey farmhouse in Saskatchewan in 14 trades almost six years ago.
But Toronto's real estate market is very different from rural Saskatchewan's.
"I'm just setting my goal a lot higher, literally and figuratively," Moffatt said.
He has already made two trades. In April, he traded the toy car for a Mastercraft digital multimetre kit, a tool commonly used by electricians.
This weekend, he traded the kit for a Raleigh Mixte bicycle that he believes is worth about $150.
Someone has already offered to trade him an older iPod for the bike, but he doesn't think that trade works for him. Moffatt is aiming in each transaction to double the value of the item he traded away.
The trick in finding a trading partner is to locate someone who has something they don't use or need any more.
If he is able to manage that, he figures should be able to by a condo after about 17 trades.
"It might take me 20 or 30 trades to do it because as you get higher up the rankings … it might become more difficult," he said.
"And to actually find someone who's willing to trade a condo — there are people out there who trade real estate, but it just doesn't happen very often. But maybe if the market collapses, there will be a whole bunch of people who are looking for a way out and they are trying to get rid of a property that nobody wants to buy."
Moffatt is chronicling his quest for a home on his blog.