The Up, Down And Sideways Market

Leslieville/Riverside, Riverdale / Playter Estates, Roncesvalles Village

As February nears its end, realtors are scratching their heads wondering whether the Toronto real estate market is going up, down or sideways.

Today’s Toronto Star published an article on how the downtown condo market is showing signs of life. You can click HERE to read it.

From’s current experience, the lower the price point, the more interest and action there is in the condominium marketplace. You’ll notice the Toronto Star article is referencing the sale of condominiums in the low $300,000s for first time buyers. As you get into the 400k+ range the market is, by and large, sputtering. However,  as the article accurately addresses, the real culprits are the over-supply of those poorly-designed cookie-cutter suites that have been the mainstay of the investor market. It’s properties with thoughtful efficient space plans and well-executed finishes that owner-occupants-to-be are seeking.

Right now, in the condominium market, it’s a case of sifting through the junk to find the gems. More than ever one needs to be discerning and prudent.


Just six days ago The Globe and Mail published a piece about how the market has fractured into its own dynamic that is dependent on the type of dwelling, and where it is located. You can click HERE to read that story. Certainly, when it comes to the downtown freehold property market, it’s significantly more competitive than for condominiums. Anything good, whether due to location, condition or opportunity, is being snapped up in bidding wars.

Over the past two weeks, a row house in Roncesvalles and a semi-detached dwelling in Riverdale (both three bedrooms with laneway parking) were brought to market at $549,000 with a holdback on offers. Both of them garnered multiple bids and shot up 19% over their asking prices. Without question the price point attracted the interest, but the fact that both of these properties needed substantial renovations at a cost anywhere between $200,000 and $300,000 demonstrates that housing is no longer as ‘affordable’ as it was once considered.

The same goes in the Prime Annex, where a substantial junker of a house (crumbled waterlogged plaster, buckled floors, muddy leaking basement, all components shot) – albeit detached on a wide lot – but without parking, shot 15% over its asking price to surpass the $1.1million price point. When my Buyers asked if I thought $300,000 would cover the cost of renovations, I told them the best case for the decrepit character house was to unfortunately bulldoze it and build new. At the end of the day, the house was so forgone the most economical solution was to start fresh and treat it as land value. I have to admit, I hope the Buyers have deep pockets and restore it.

It’s tough going in midtown too, where Leaside remains as coveted as ever. The 1920s and 1930s brick boxed semi-detached three bedroom houses are commanding close to $800k these days, and the detached dwells are hitting the mid-800s plus. One of our buyers recently ranked second out of five bids on a renovated semi with family and master bedroom 2-storey addition. Listed in the mid-800s the price of entry for the winning buyer was 10% over list. Sigh.

Like our Buyers, we’re hoping more product will come to market soon. We believe we’re caught in the February doldrums where a lack of supply is typical. Most Sellers are still getting their houses ready to come to market and, when the snow is still raging, they feel no motivation to hurry it up. After all, they still can’t get to their garages to clear them out! published a newsletter in March 2012 called “Where Are The Listings?” that still holds true today. Click HERE to read some of valid reasons for a lack of property offerings in Toronto.

At, we’re committed to guiding you through the ups, downs and sideways of the Toronto real estate market. With over twenty years of sales and marketing experience, and a comprehensive education on Housing & Home, we’re here to earn your trust, and then your business.

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

~ Steven and the urbaneer team

Tales From The Real Estate Trenches

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