Welcome to Urbaneer.com's December 2019 Home of the Month!
This feature provides a snapshot of the journey an Urbaneer Buyer has recently taken to secure a property purchase in the City of Toronto.
As I've written in the past, no Buyers start their journey thinking it will take a year or longer to purchase a house, but in the original City of Toronto, which continues to experience supply issues, a search of many months is commonplace. This is particularly true in the freehold housing market, which relies on the filtering of mostly older resale dwellings up and down the property ladder. Even two and a half years after the provincial and federal governments intervened with policy changes to squelch a housing bubble, and a mortgage stress test was implemented to dampen housing demand, home buyers are still finding it a challenge to secure property!
The Buyers we're spotlighting this month - a professional couple in their early 30s who were living in a 2bed 2bath condo in the Entertainment District - were referred to Urbaneer in October 2018. I first met them at their condo, so I could discuss both their next move and identify the scope of potential upgrades they might consider completing to elevate the resale value of their condominium (check out Dear Urbaneer: How Do I Boost The Value Of My Condominium?). They identified a locational preference for the central west end - anywhere from Spadina west to Roncesvalles Avenue - ideally encompassing streets within reputable school catchment areas. Think: Annex / South Annex / Seaton Village, Queen West / Trinity Bellwoods, and Roncesvalles Village. Though these Buyers weren't married to these specific neighbourhoods, like many couples with rising careers, they preferred properties that had been substantially upgraded and renovated such that they wouldn't be overwhelmed with home maintenance and repairs. Ideally, the dwelling would have 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a finished lower level with decent ceiling heights to avoid any head-bashing on ductwork bulkheads.
The first property which captured the attention and hearts of these Buyers - enough to prompt their participation in a bidding war - was located in Seaton Village which is north of Bloor Street west of Bathurst. Substantially renovated and expanded ten years earlier to a high standard, this gracious Edwardian with 3beds, 3baths, a finished lower level, and a quality 2.5car garage (designed to accommodate a second level for laneway dwelling) came to market in March 2019 with a very attractive list price of $1,788,000 and a holdback on offers.
Garnering six bids, the property sky-rocketed 26% over its asking price to a precedent-setting sum for a semi-detached house in the neighbourhood. As I shared with the Buyers. I wasn't surprised the dwelling sold for over $2mil - given it was a total gut from top to bottom - and in excellent condition. But the fact it went so much higher indicated a continued willingness by Buyers to pay top dollar in order to secure turn-key properties which require minimal upgrading and on-going repairs. In the City of Toronto, these properties which are 'top tier' consistently attract Buyers willing to finance the price premium so they can go to work and focus on earning the money to pay the debt, but then come home and not feel mired in maintenance and repairs, thereby impacting their domestic enjoyment and quality of life outside of work.
Another factor that likely had bearing on the sale price was how coveted the public school is in this location. Those neighbourhoods with highly regarded public schools - especially those with French Immersion - are seeing their property values spike including Palmerston in Seaton Village, Jackman in Playter Estates, Fern in Roncesvalles Village, and Dewson in Dufferin Grove, for example.
Here's the property located on Rossmore Avenue:
Listed: $1,788,000 / Sold: $2,250,000
Two months later, a 2.5 storey 3bed 3.5bath semi-detached residence with single car garage - also located in Seaton Village - came to market competitively listed for competition at $1,459,000. Featuring a mostly open Main Floor entertainment space plan, an upgraded kitchen and master ensuite, a superb lower level, and a single car laneway garage, there were lots of features to like. hThat said,the property was not as turn-key as earlier contenders.
Like many Buyers well into their search, who are sufficiently informed to understand the dynamics of the market and the psyche of competing purchasers, these Buyers became more receptive to purchasing a property which required upgrading. Certainly not a 'gut to the studs' renovation but a house having an intelligent space plan, a decent configuration but perhaps requiring the upgrading of dated building components, fixtures and features. Certainly, for anyone searching the property market compromises are ultimately required, and when one is seeing those top-tier listings skyrocketing in price and setting a new barometer of value, Buyers who want to purchase in the same location have no choice but to consider properties which may require improvement.
The morning of the offer date, the Buyers decided to pull the plug on proceeding with a bid. Why? Because of the enclosed front foyer, followed by switchback staircase (these are stairs in a house that intersect a space plan by running sideways to a landing and then switchback up or down to the next level, ) the front living room was only 9 feet wide, which made the house feel narrow and a furniture arrangement problematic. Yes, the house had lots of square footage but the Entertainment Space felt a bit tight which was problematic for this couple who enjoyed hosting their friends and family.
The property did attract multiple bids and spiked 17% over the list price. Here's the property, which was located on Manning Avenue:
Listed: 1,495,000 / Sold: 1,700,721
Although not originally identified as a location of consideration, these Buyers had kept their eyes on St. Clair Avenue, west of Bathurst. This arterial road and shopping strip, one of the 'Little Italy's' which still retains a residue of this dynamic immigrant culture, underwent a major transformation when the old streetcar tracks were dug up and replaced with a speedy efficient light rapid transit system which is streamlining the commute along St Clair West to the subway stations at Bathurst and Yonge Streets.
It's also home to the Wychwood Barns, once maintenance garages for the Toronto Transit Commission which, after a decade of community involvement and fundraising, was converted into a sensational park containing 60,000 square feet of vintage - and now retrofitted - buildings that contain artist housing and studios, green space, a greenhouse, an organic farmer's market, beach volleyball court and office space for community groups. The Wychwood Barns are a testament to how successful Toronto is transforming to the needs and desires of its residents.
There are a lot of benefits to locating near St. Clair and Bathurst. Not only does it feature proximity to the shopping amenities of St. Clair West, the Wychwood Barns, and thte speedy streetcar line with subway stations - making it a Triple AAA location - but it also boasts extremely reputable public schools.
In this immediate location there is an enclave of homes which are situated on streets that have 'wood' in them, as in Wychwood, Humewood, Maplewood, Cherrywood, Valewood and Kenwood. This detached property, located on Pinewood, just north of St. Clair, had the benefit of 4 beds, 1.5 baths, an open plan entertainment level and a mostly finished lower level. Although the property did not have onsite parking, it did boast a generous quality landscaped 25x130 foot lot.
Well-styled with the potential to elevate, when this domicile came to market my Buyers felt they had finally found a House which they could tailor into their 'Home'.
Here are some snaps from MLS:
Listed for $1,495,000, our smart n' savvy buyers competed against one other buyer and came out on top with bid of $1,567,000!
When house-hunting, it's critical to have time on your side. During their search, I opined and completed around 39 valuations on properties which were deemed potential contenders. Given these Buyers had the luxury of 12 months to find their Dream Home, it ultimately served them well. During this period they could become educated while exercising prudence in finding the right property which provided the perfect 'fit'. As the realtor who 'talks you out of buying until the right place presents itself', these Buyers and I were a good real estate match, for they appreciated my 'no pressure no hassle' straight-talk approach as we navigated the market together. The end result is a testament to itself.
Are you, or someone you love, considering a Toronto real estate purchase?
Here's a step by step summary of how I analyze listings of merit for my clients, including the preparation and delivery of our comprehensive due diligence packages for every property our Buyers identify as a possibility:
If you love St. Clair West of Bathurst, here are some other sales our Urbaneer clients secured:
Did you enjoy this post? You may also like these informative Urbaneer.com blogs:
If you, or someone you know, have specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would prefer the services of realtors who subscribe to a pressure-free approach when searching for the right dwelling, please know we're here to help at Urbaneer.com.
My team and I are here for you!
Thanks for reading!
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
- we're here to earn your trust, then your business -
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