Toronto’s Best Houses & Condos Of 2016 By Urbaneer

Annex / South Annex / Seaton Village, Buy of the Month, College Street/Little Italy, Dufferin Grove / Bloorcourt Village, Junction/High Park/Bloor West/Swansea, Leslieville/Riverside, Midtown, Swansea / High Park / Bloor West Village, The Danforth

Happy New Year!

We wish you joy, prosperity, and keys to a New Home –> if that’s one of your resolutions!

As we kick off 2017, we’d like to continue our tradition of showcasing our 2016 ‘Buys Of The Month’. In the spirit of our favourite zines like Toronto Life and their Top 10 Houses And Condos Of 2016 we hope this roundup gives you a better sense of the kinds of properties we recommend urbaneer’s Buyers’ purchase, along with the reasons why.

Spanning several of the neighbourhoods in the original City of Toronto, here’s 12 examples of the dwellings we sold this past year! When you click on each link, you’ll get the full story on each Buyers’ journey to homeownership!

 

January 2016 – Home Of The Month – Upper Beach Listed at $749,000, Sold for $801,000.

This is the tale of a couple who felt the push / pull between the urban life they’d grown accustomed too, and a family life of fresh beginnings that was soon arriving. Our Buyers – who had initially been searching for a swish downtown condominium with a bright lights big city vibe – revised their search for something more family-friendly when the doctors told them they were expecting their first bundle of joy. Like many urban buyers, they believed starting a family didn’t automatically necessitate an exit to the ‘burbs where their lifestyles would be radically transformed, heavily auto-reliant and isolating from their social world. But – as many of you Buyers know – having a budget up to $800,000 often means having to compromise on size and condition when you want to live in the downtown core – especially compared to the suburbs where you get a lot more house for your money – albeit with the hassle of the everyday commute. (Have you read our post called What are the Real Financial, Emotional and Health Costs of Commuting?). Fortunately, this purchase demonstrates that the ideal marriage of location, space and value is possible in the central core of the city!

 

February 2016 – Home Of The Month – Danforth Village Listed at $699,000, Sold for $801,100.

Are you a millennial? As a generation matures into their 30s, the small ubiquitous condominiums built over the past two decades geared to first time buyers and investors no longer serve the needs of a cohort moving into family life. Meanwhile, with the limited supply of older freehold housing stock (with virtually nil new freehold housing being constructed), demand is fueling a dramatic spike in house prices. Comprising a significant segment of the Toronto real estate market, Millennials are collectively pursuing the same housing product (in location and the 600k-950k price point), which is resulting in precedent setting prices. While it’s true prices in Toronto have been escalating since 1995 (except in 2008), the recent rate of increase and sheer competitiveness to secure property is astonishing. This post explores how this generation is impacting the Toronto real estate market and how one couple – after selling their loft – secured great value in Danforth Village.

 

March 2016 – Home of the Month – Midtown Listed at $499,900, Sold for $495,000.

This blog addresses the Zoomer market who, whether single or attached, are eyeing the two+ bedroom condominiums in the heart of the city as their ideal retirement destination. Zoomers are often willing to pay for the privilege of quality services and amenities in a condominium, like a concierge and recreation facilities, even though these typically translate into higher common fees. For one, a concierge provides peace of mind and assurance that there’s someone to count on when your family or friends might be unavailable, and amenities like the fitness centre can serve as the necessary motivation to keep oneself active and engaged in staying healthy (or a place to send the grandkids to work off their sugar-rush energy). These downtown buildings are frequently in proximity to nearby services, where they can enjoy a walking life to an urban village and remain engaged with the world at large. This two-bedroom two-bath midtown suite had a stellar west facing exposure with city views and exceptional light. Perched on the twelfth floor, this well-proportioned unit has nine foot ceilings, a coveted split plan suite where the bedrooms are located on either side of the entertainment space, and one car parking and deeded locker. It’s a great example of what Zoomer’s desire in their next home. Want to learn more? Here’s another great post called The Zoomer Home.

 

April 2016 – Home of the Month – The Annex Listed at $1,759,000, Sold for $1,750,000.

Imagine what it must be like trying to purchase a piece of Toronto real estate when you’re don’t even live in the Canada. This feature shared the story of a family relocating from the United States, who started their search remotely nearly twelve months prior to their arrival date. Our Buyers, an engaging couple with two young daughters, were returning to Toronto after 8 years in the States. Their new positions at the University of Toronto required them to be mostly downtown, with some time spent on the west campus in Mississauga, about 33 kilometres west of Toronto. Coming from a mid-century modern dwell located in a bucolic American university town, our Buyers sought an urbane family-friendly location which would be less auto-reliant than their last place. But as lovers of architecture, they also hoped they might find a city residence which offered some architectural merit. The result? A gorgeous turn-of-the-century residence in The Annex! Are you trying to balance location, size and condition relative to your purchase price? Here’s how to establish your own housing matrix in Here’s How To Search For Your Next Property Purchase.

 

May 2016 – Home of the Month – Little Italy Listed at $1,525,000, Sold for $1,490,000.

Here’s a tale of a well-established professional couple who elected to ditch their big Lawrence Park house – just as their kids headed off to university – and shift into the next chapter of their lives. Why? With the real estate market cresting with top dollar values, many Zoomers are cashing out with the aim of buying something smaller and more urban and, in the process, eliminate any debt. Having lived in their family home for some years and accustomed to generous square footage, the challenge was finding the right place that gave them modern digs and an income supplement or (as all parents consider) private accommodations for their kids. In this instance, our Buyers wanted something in the central west side of the City where they could ride their bikes – whether that be to work, the market or cultural activities – while living an urban village life. And why not? After focusing their attention on the needs of their children, this next chapter presented an opportunity to ‘live a little’. After all, who doesn’t want to stroll to a five star restaurant in the neighbourhood and walk home a little tipsy? For these clients, this property in Little Italy’s College Street neighbourhood hit all the marks!

 

June 2016 – Home of the Month – The Beaches Listed at $719,000, Sold for $853,211.

Is it tough to compete for property? We explore the path of a young family who navigated the choppy waters of the Spring market to secure a detached original Beach cottage. Their journey was rife with challenges – which prompted us to write about their five attempts to buy a home in this post called A Real-time Tale On The Struggle To Buy Toronto Real Estate In Spring. However, having been a realtor for 26 years now, I’ve discovered families always land exactly where they were meant to be. Our Buyers were consistently attracted to vintage houses that embraced the patina of their age. They railed against houses with ‘Big Box Store’ kitchens, shiny new floors, and the glossy lipstick flippers favour. Instead, it was the homes well-loved and deeply cherished by owners for many years, who kept their upgrades and renovations simple, which appealed to this couple. So when this ‘cottage in the city’ came to market, it was an ideal match. It’s worth taking a look to see why!

 

July 2016 – Home of the Month – Junction Triangle Listed at $489,000, Sold for $485,000.

Are you a first time buyer? This post is about affordability in Toronto, as our young single buyer was making her first purchase on a budget under $500,000. Having an entrepreneurial spirit, the desire for a dog, and a love of horses (which includes her commute north of King City on a consistent basis), her preference was for a 2 bedroom condominium in a pet-friendly building on the central west side. As our buyer explored her options, she saw the merit in bypassing the pet-friendly high-rises and focusing her attention on the stacked townhouse market where she could also get a unit with decent outdoor space. For one, if you have a dog you can envision the hassle that accompanies waiting for the elevator in a high-rise to get your pet onto terra firma. It’s so much better to leash up and get out your own front door! And, as we explored the stacked townhouse market, we could see that these low-density complexes are generally in locations which are more accessible to major road arteries, easing the traffic hassles that come with any commute. The final result? An amazing townhouse at Bloor and Symington with a roof terrace and private garage, just steps to the Lansdowne subway station! If you’re new to the market, our Dear urbaneer: I Need A Crash Course In First Time Home Buying will help gently steer you through the process.

 

August 2016 – Home of the Month – Yonge Dundas Listed at $400,000, Sold for $392,500.

Are you embracing the Airbnb movement? This first time Buyer approached us with a very specific request. Not only was he seeking a residence in the centre of the city for under $400,000 which would serve as his principal residence but, given he travels frequently for work, he wanted to ensure his first condominium purchase be situated in a building that permitted the services of short-term rental sites like Airbnb. Unfortunately, after contacting 30 condominium management firms in the downtown core, we discovered only 5 did NOT have a policy prohibiting the use of short-term rental websites. This means that most of those rentals you see on airbnb are illegal which portends its own set of issues and concerns, both as an owner and a prospective guest. After much sleuthing, this centre-of-it-all condominium next to the Pantages Hotel is our top pick for those seeking a furnished rental investment! Curious about the opportunities and constraints of airbnb? Our post is definitely a must-read –> Airbnb And The Economy Of Shared Housing.

 

September 2016 – Home of the Month – Danforth Village Listed at $799,900, Sold for $820,000.

Are you looking for a fixer-upper in a Triple AAA location? (Have you read our post called On Choosing A Winning Location?) Our Buyers – renting in The Pocket – were well-versed in each of The Danforth neighbourhoods and the property values they commanded, so when this estate sale one block from The Danforth and Pape subway came to market near Playter Estates, despite the upgrades required the location trumped everything else they had seen. An estate sale owned for the previous 50 years, this ‘stuck in the past’ dwelling had parquet floors, a 70s kitchen and a very tiny second floor washroom. However, despite needing a cosmetic and building component tune up, it boasted a two-storey addition of around 250 square feet and a lane way garage. For our Buyers – willing and able to upgrade – the upside is that all the future renovations can be completed within the existing space plan, meaning they won’t have to incur a significant future cost of adding an extension. Now that’s an opportunity. Think you’re up for a fixer upper? Here’s Move-in Ready Or Fixer Upper? What’s Your Housing Match? and Help! We Want to Renovate, And Keep Our Relationship Intact.

 

October 2016 – Home of the Month – High Park Listed at $799,900, Sold for $1,100,305.

Could you compete for a house against 19 other buyers? That was the situation for our clients, an engaged couple climbing the property ladder from his downtown condominium (they’re keeping hers as an investment property) into a freehold residence perfect for the next chapter of their lives together. Young professional urbanites in the creative and technology economies, our Buyers were consistently attracted to homes which afforded a location amenable to their commutes, offered an appropriate overall size and space plan to their needs, and importantly, had a limited to-do list. As our Buyers searched for the ideal Home, they came to recognize that the first impressions of many MLS listings – with wide-angled photographs and over-embellished copy – masked the truth that many properties were in fact in need of substantial upgrades or renovations. It’s a frequent frustration for many Buyers and their realtors these days, who arrive at dwellings to discover they suffer for settlement issues (common on the west side) or discover the polished pictures on MLS don’t accurately reflect the poorly executed fittings and finishes of greedy flippers. Fortunately – after some failed bidding wars – this loft house came to market and fit the bill perfectly. Amidst all the interest, our Buyers took our advice to secure the property after establishing what the home was worth to them, based on the total sum of the following our four ‘values’ outlined in A Winning Bidding War Strategy.

 

November 2016 – Home of the Month – Dufferin Grove Listed at $1,188,000, Sold for $1,426,100.

For loft lovers, finding a house in downtown Toronto can be a challenge, especially when one has become accustomed to living with ten foot-high-ceilings and an open concept space plan. Thank goodness Toronto has its fair share of Victorians! Our Buyers’ loved wood beams, exposed brick walls, and soaring ceilings typical of the ‘hard loft’ aesthetic, but with a child on the way, a reputable school catchment area shot to the top of their wish list. Their friends had shared their mistake of purchasing a house without full consideration of the school district, recommending they buy in the best school districts because our inner city baby boom has resulted in the catchment areas being at capacity. So when this Victorian came to market with around $250,000 in 2013 renovations in their preferred loft aesthetic (and a lower level suite renting for about $1,300/month) in coveted Old Orchard Elementary School District, our Buyers pulled out all the stops to secure it. It’s gorgeous inside and out! Our repeat clients were kind enough to write this testimonial about their experience –> Toronto Real Estate Buyers Recommend Steve Fudge And The Urbaneer Team.

 

December 2016 – Home Of The Month – Bloor West Village Listed at 789.900, Sold for $780,000.

When our Buyers indicated their desire for a detached house for under $800,000 which didn’t require significant renovation, we crossed our fingers due to the rarity of these gems. So did our Buyers, given a lot of detached dwellings we viewed in the $650,000 to $800,000 range were being sold primarily as ‘diamonds-in-the-rough’, ‘bring your contractor’ or ‘land value’. For all Buyers there’s something a bit disconcerting when properties in your price range are deemed better as tear-downs than being renovated. We wrote about the rise of this phenomenon in our post called Exploring Toronto Real Estate Property Values that shared some recent sales of properties deemed ‘obsolete’. Just as a conversation on whether a two bedroom dwelling might be converted to three, this charming detached renovated to the studs house had two bedrooms and a bath on the top level tucked under the eaves, while the main level had an open plan kitchen/family room and a separate living room – which on closing would become the Buyers’ third bedroom. Sometimes great things come in small packages, right?

 

Did any of these homes speak to you?

These 12 diverse Toronto properties provide a snapshot of the kind of Homes urbaneer sells. Serving first and second time buyers, relocations, renovators and those building their long term property portfolios, our mandate is to help our clients choose property which will realize the highest future return on their investment while ensuring the property best serves their practical needs and their dream of “Home” during their ownership. At urbaneer, we identify a property’s best qualities, features and insouciant charm in the context of your wishes and wants, plus your future target market. Although searching for the right property can be an intense and sometimes lengthy process it is, without fail, rewarding both to our clients and the urbaneer team. We are so grateful to be the realtor of choice for both Torontonians, and the newly arrived.

If you, or someone you love, has specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would enjoy the personalized service of Top Producing boutique real estate outfit who subscribe to a pressure-free approach, please know we’re here to help at urbaneer.com. Here’s our Testimonials which showcases our commitment to service.

Steven Fudge and the Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage • (416) 322-8000
http://www.urbaneer.com • info@urbaneer.com

– earn your trust, then your business –

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Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s Student Mentorship site called Houseporn.ca which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, product and real estate in Canada!

 

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