Welcome to our January 2018 Home of the Month! This feature provides a snapshot of what Urbaneer's Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.
To kick off the New Year, I'd like to share the story of a client who wasn't a homebuying newbie, but who had never purchased a property in Toronto before. While the journey was not without obstacles, we enjoyed guiding this courageous client as she and her partner zeroed in on the property that would serve them best!
Our Buyers, who work in a field that helps Toronto's marginalized population, had always gravitated to the central east side so they could walk to their offices. But their choice of property was flexible. On one hand they desired the appeal of a two bedroom cityvista condominium in a calibre building, ideally with hotel-like amenities including an outdoor pool in the $700,000 to $900,000 price range. On the other hand, they were open to a freehold house at a higher price point that was offset by the lack of monthly common fees.
Starting their search in December 2016, the near-year property search began with a commercial/residential property which offered a live/work opportunity, though it was ultimately dismissed for the amount of renovations it required. Future property considerations - there were about a dozen contenders - included a two-unit dwelling in South Cabbagetown, and several condominiums on the central west and central east sides - including suites on King West (ultimately rejected because their cityviews could easily be compromised with so much redevelopment), units in CityPlace (often with disappointing finishes) and some well-received in complexes located at 120 Homewood (The Verve) and another at 33 Lombard Street (Spire) which are reputable buildings with intelligent space plans.
In fact, those property contenders were featured in my August 'Tales From The Real Estate Trenches' post called The Wackadoodle Toronto Real Estate Market, where I documented price drops upwards of 20% for freehold houses from the April 2017 peak of our real estate boom, in contrast to the increase in values for condominiums.
Here's a snippet from that post which illustrates the challenges of their search:
It's not unusual for a Seller to list their property with a holdback on offers, and if the strategy doesn't work then the Seller may relist at a higher price and sees what transpires. That was exactly the case when a 2bed 2bath condominium with panoramic views came to market in a calibre building located near Jarvis and Wellesley. Listed for around $700,000 at the beginning of July, two offers competed unsuccessfully to secure the suite at a sum acceptable to the seller, so it was relisted a week later for near $830,000. My buyer, who had not competed for the suite originally, decided the space aligned with her desire, prompting her to submit a full price bid six days later. Unfortunately, another Buyer decided to compete, securing the condo for over $840,000. The last comparable sale five floors higher had sold 14 months earlier for around $730,000, which represents a 13% increase in value.
A few weeks after a second 2bed 2bath condominium with similar panoramic city vistas came to to market for about $880,000, located near the St. Lawrence Market. Listed in June for nearly 3 weeks at the same price, that offering had been terminated when an unexpected flood shut down the elevators. Relisted again at the same price - now at the end of July - the property was on the market for over a week when my Buyer decided to submit an offer, only to discover another offer had just been registered. Reluctant to compete, my Buyer elected not to proceed and the property sold for its full list price. How did it compare to recent sales? The most comparable sale in this building was of a similar size three floors higher, selling last November for $820,000, which represents a near 7% increase in 9 months.
The take-away? Although it's taking longer for condominiums to sell that it did in the spring, but a well-priced listing that qualifies for high-ratio financing is still going to secure a Buyer. These condos - which I consider the best-of-the-best in the under $1M price segment - are seeing a ten percent increase over the past year.
While the condominium market continued to increase in value, the freehold market was wonky; there also wasn't a lot of product to consider. In September my Buyers did pursue an architect-designed restored and renovated rowhouse in Moss Park which was at the top end of their budget. Sitting on the market for nearly four months (and one 50k price reduction) my Buyers made a play for it but a meeting of the minds could not be negotiated. It would ultimately sell within 98% of its near $1,3mil list price after we had secured what we believe was a superior property.
Located north of Shuter east of Sherbourne, South Cabbagetown/Moss Park has long been a transitional neighbourhood ever since it was blockbusted with the Regent Park and Moss Park social housing projects in the 1950s and 1960s. This pocket of residences include a number of vintage Victorians and Edwardians, as well as a lot of infill townhouses dating from the 1970s through 1990s. These properties - of which I have sold many over my 25 year career as a realtor - have always represented good value in terms of size, condition and price point, though Buyers must reconcile the 'cycle of poverty' endemic to this location, which is also home to prostitution and a drug trade. All of my past clients have been pro-urbanites, understanding that to live this centrally where they can walk or cycle to work, be in proximty to the St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District, includes a mix of residents. But it's also changing, in part due to the reinvention of Regent Park, which I wrote about in Garden City: The History And Revitalization Of Toronto’s Regent Park Neighbourhood.
The dwelling, a substantial 3bed 2bath semi-detached house with one car garage on a 25x65 foot lot, was originally built in 1982 though it had undergone numerous recent upgrades and improvements. Well-proportioned with a wide layout, high ceilings and a skylit extension, the entertainment space was over 30 feet long. The kitchen and washrooms were contemporary, and the master suite on the top floor boasted a roof terrace, indulgent spa ensuite and a walk-in closet the size of most bedrooms. Hitting the market on a Thursday, we were one of the first Buyers in, successfully negotiating an Agreement of Purchase and Sale conditional on inspection and financing.
Here's some low quality snaps from MLS that truly don't do the place justice:
Congrats to this lovely couple! Listed for $1,075,000, our Buyers successfully secured this home for under list at $1,070,000.
Here's what they had to say: "Just wanted to leave a huge thank you to our AMAZING realtor Steve Fudge who helped Andrew and myself, Jessica, find our perfect first home in downtown Toronto. We are so thankful for his guidance, responsiveness and expertise! We are so happy that our friends recommended Steve to us! He is truly a gem."
Is this a location you're considering? Check out my Neighbourhood Page on Cabbagetown/Corktown including flavour video and city census stats, or my other Neighbourhood Pages featuring many more of Toronto's popular locations!
Considering a move to the east side? Here's one of my most popular posts called:
Serving first, second and multi-time buyers, young families, down-scaling Zoomers, renovators and those building their investment property portfolios, our mandate is to help our clients strategically secure the best real estate on offer, while ensuring their purchase best serves their practical needs and their dream of 'Home'. We identify a property's best qualities, features and insouciant charm in the context of the future target market while meeting your own wishes, wants and desires.
Curious to see what the Urbaneer Team sells? Here's Toronto’s Best Houses & Condos Of 2017 By Urbaneer, which showcases our expertise across the original City!
If you, or someone you love, has specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would enjoy the personalized service of someone Celebrating Twenty-Five Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor who subscribes to a pressure-free approach - and a specialty in unique urban homes - please know my team and I are here to help!
Steven Fudge & The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
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