Welcome to my latest Tales From The Real Estate Trenches, where I periodically post real time experiences on the Toronto real estate market.
Nearly 3 weeks ago I shared the story of how Three Properties In Downtown Toronto Received 35 Offers One Evening. I wrote it because the reports in the media conflict with the actual buying experience in the original City of Toronto. Why? First, there is always a lag between the release of real estate data and the real time dynamics of our market, and the stats typically reflect the Greater Toronto Area whereas my business focuses on 42 'village neighbourhoods' in the central core of the City. I've long explained to my clients that, if or when the market adjusts, it will start in the suburbs farthest from the city core, and slowly make its way to the central city. Demand will always be greatest where there is the highest concentration of people, and the biggest concentration of business, services and amenities.
In my Part One of my Winter 2017/2018 Toronto Real Estate Forecast I explored how globalization, foreign ownership and the general shifting of wealth in Toronto is shifting the dynamics and affordability of Toronto. In Part Two - which I posted this past Monday - I delved into the impact of demographics, government intervention, and the continued role of the condominium market as it shifts our real estate landscape. If you're engaged in any way in the Toronto real estate market, they're pretty comprehensive macro overviews. However, I think it's important to periodically share what's happening in the 'real estate trenches', so here's an update on what's happening in the city core.
So, in the past 48 hours four downtown Toronto houses sold in bidding wars. Here's a brief synopsis:
A Tired Victorian In Parkdale
This 2.5storey 5bed semi in Parkdale had been tenanted a number of years. Being sold 'as-is, where-is', although the dwelling had some building component upgrades, it was one of those homes which had the patina of good energy but was really ready for a significant renovation. The stucco ceilings were holding up the failing plaster walls, the artsy tenants (who were so kind!) had painted the floors and washroom tiles funky colours, and one just knew that once you started to do some renovations it would snowball into a total gut costing at least $350,000. One other factor was the back of the property abutted the commuter rail corridor and a development site for a proposed 7-storey 106-unit condominium. As I explained to my Buyers, its construction would block all the afternoon sun and impact privacy, and that they should anticipate on future summer evenings most every balcony overlooking this back yard would be filled with its young owners vaping weed, and drinking booze. Because that's what first-time buyers do when they're paying a big mortgage. They stay home and party with friends.
Listed at $980,000, the property received three offers and sold for $1,210,000.
A Reno'd Row House In Brockton Village
There was lots to like about this 2storey 3bed Victorian rowhouse in the Brockton Village quadrant where College and Dundas merge at Lansdowne. Granted the location is still transitioning, being a bit of a no-man's land still finding its identity, but the property was neat, tidy and renovated. Well-presented, the magic of this house were the high ceilings and plaster moldings, and the retention of the original rooms which are increasingly rare to find (I've always thought that one day our love for 'open concept living' may revert to the formality of cozy defined spaces). The challenges were a sloping second level that was a bit 'fun house' and a bijou second floor washroom. The garden was beautifully landscaped with a wonderful arbour, but for those who wanted parking it meant removing half the garden to reinstate the laneway parking. The basement was thoughtfully finished, and by all accounts it was the right buy for someone who didn't want to do too much work at their point of purchase.
Listed at $949,900, this place garnered 2 offers and sold for $990,000.
A Detached Dwelling In Bloor West Village
For those seeking a family-friendly neighbourhood with a reputable school, Bloor West Village is one of the Triple AAA locations. The village is one of the earliest Business Improvement Areas in the city, with over 400 shops, and Runnymede Junior and Senior Schools are coveted. This detached 3bed 2bath residence was upgraded/renovated with a breakfast room addition, a finished basement, and parking. The challenge was that it was located on a busy arterial road, so while you were steps to the Jane subway station, you also had to reconcile a constant stream of traffic roaring past your front door. Still, in an area where the price of entry lands in the high $1.1m's+ for a fixer-upper, it was the one compromise one had to make to get a detached house in this neighbourhood.
Listed at $998,000, this dwell got 3 offers and sold for $1,181,000
A Renovated Semi On The Danforth
There was lots to love in this 3bed 2bath semi just four doors from a beloved community park and down the street from The Danforth, including the Greenwood subway station. Well-renovated - on point and on trend - every detail in this house had been thoughtfully addressed. The downside? The lot was short and there was no on-site parking. However, even as a highly-discerning realtor there was little I would change about this residence as it met the trifecta of size, condition and location. Situated in a favoured location for couples purchasing their first family-friendly home (it's filled with the demographic having -or soon-to-have - babies and dogs) it's a location of choice for those who commute by transit, as being on the Bloor subway line is as efficient as one can get beyond cycling to work. The moment I saw this come to market I knew there would be a crush of viewings, and the front foyer filled with wall-to-wall with Winter boots during the Open House as everyone slid their way across the slush-filled roads and icy sidewalks to see it. Listed strategically low, this listing was the contender of the four to spike significantly, and it did.
Listed at $749,900, the property received 17 offers and sold for $1,005,000.
While four sales do not make a real estate market, this Tales From The Real Estate Trenches post - the second in less than three weeks documenting the return of the bidding wars - signals that unless we see a significant number of new listings coming to market, demand is going to outstrip the supply this Spring in the original City of Toronto. While we're not quite back to the precedent-setting sums set in April 2017 (here's my August post called The Wackadoodle Toronto Real Estate Market which documented a drop in values of about 15% from the peak - I would say these 4 sales landed about 5% below the peak values obtained in Spring 2017), the psyche of Buyers right now is to have an acquisition price that doesn't surpass the peak of last Spring's market. Now this may change - given prices are getting closer to those values - but for now the sentiment appears to be "as long as I get it for less than what I would have paid in Spring 2017, bring it on!".
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Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
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