The Ontario resort community of Collingwood, about two hours northwest of Toronto, is known for skiing, Georgian Bay waterfront and stately country farms. It’s the sort of place that has attracted the attention of home buyers escaping the Toronto market, and Boomers looking for an active, but relaxed lifestyle.
Although the real estate market has cooled from its pandemic prices, it is about to get an injection of super-stardom. Former supermodel Monika Schnarre, who graced the cover of Vogue at the age of 14, has joined the local office of luxury realtor Engel & Völkers as their newest real estate agent.
With over two decades of house-flipping experience in Toronto and investing in Ontario’s real estate , Schnarre decided to get licensed during the pandemic.
“It just makes sense when you’re flipping,” she told the National Post.
Schnarre is a resident of Collingwood herself, a town of 24,000 people. Although it used to be a retirement community, she says it has seen an influx of young families who were pushed out of Toronto’s high-priced real estate market, especially during the pandemic.
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There was 68 per cent increase in housing prices between 2020-2021, but Collingwood is back to 2019 prices, Schnarre says.
Property sales in the area, which also includes Blue Mountains and Wasaga Beach, are down significantly compared to 2021, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. But the average selling price for a home currently on the market is just under $900,000.
Engel & Völkers currently has several home listings in Collingwood for more than $3 million.
“It’s an incredible time to buy,” Schnarre stated.
Although Canada ranked in first place for the most unaffordable housing compared to the other 37 OECD developed nations, Schnarre still believes there are deals to be found.
“I wouldn’t quote Trump any other time, but in the 90s he said that Toronto’s real estate was undervalued and I have to agree with him,” she says. “I think it’s very comparable to other lulls in history, it’s cyclical, there’s always a correction.”
Her key to selling is learning how to use all the digital media platforms to “get your property out there.”
“I’m lucky because I have a huge and vast network of people from all walks of life,” which in turn makes it easier to “market the heck out of it.”
Her advice to homebuyers who find their dream home is to not be afraid to jump on the opportunity.
Schnarre says her career shift real estate allows her to be in control of her own success.
“As a model and actress, my fate was always in the hands of others. With real estate, I am in control of my schedule and success, which is important to me as a single mother,” she says.
“By the time I was 16, I had earned enough through modelling to buy my first house. Finding the right home can be empowering and I want to help others have the same experience.”
After appearing on the cover of American Vogue at 14 and in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue at 15, Schnarre became an actor and television host following her modelling career. She has appeared in over 50 film and television roles, including The Bold and the Beautiful, Beastmaster and made guest appearances on Beverly Hills 90210, Andromeda, Caroline in the City, The King of Queens and Cracked.
Schnarre later attended the University of California, Los Angeles, studying television broadcast journalism. She has served as a guest correspondent for etalk and ET Canada