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It's been a roller-coaster year in real estate, opening on a residential battlefield that saw sellers clearly with the upper hand. In Toronto, bidding wars for mid-range homes in which as many as a dozen or more eager buyers trumped and re-trumped their offer prices were commonplace. Listing prices in many neighbourhoods were simply a starting point for homes that would eventually sell for hundreds of thousands over asking. But as fall winds blew and the federal government's new rules tightened financing requirements, sales - and sale prices - dipped across the country. Vancouver, Canada's second-largest residential real estate market, was hit hardest and sales tumbled by double-digit percentages. These are a few of the stand-out real-estate transactions we’ve covered this year.

Willowdale bungalow, Toronto

Asking price: $759,000

Selling price: $1,180,800

After Globe Real Estate reported that a run-down north Toronto home sold for a whopping $421,800 - or 56% - over asking, the story was picked up by media outlets across the country and the sale became the poster child for an overreaching market. The buyer, a university student originally from China with family money behind her, outbid 17 rivals. Even agent Michael Adelson was taken aback by the frenzied bidding. "We thought the market would take it to its logical level," he said, "and the market took it to its illogical level."

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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39 Wells Hill Ave., Toronto

Asking price: $950,000

Selling price: $1,375,000

This Casa Loma home was deliberately priced under $1-million to attract offers and a quick sale. The strategy worked, with 15 rival bids delivered in 7 days and the winner coming in at $425,000 over asking.

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686 Crawford St., Toronto

Asking price: $899,000

Selling price: $1,162,000

Multiple offers came in for this home just south of Christie Pits park, last renovated in 1983. After 60 private showings and a week on the market, the best offer came in at $263,000 over list. The skylit garage even came with a ping pong table.

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180 Pearson Ave. , Toronto

Asking price: $699,000

Selling price: $926,000

When this semi-detached fixer upper sold for $223,000 over asking, agent Lyle Hamilton couldn't hide his disbelief. "We were all totally shocked," he said. The home is subdivided into a rabbit warren of five separate apartment units and will require a large outlay to renovate it back into a single family home. Pointing to the home's best attributes, Mr. Hamilton offered that the modest home, "…has that versatility of use that played very strongly in its favour."

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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16 Cornish Rd., Toronto

Asking price: $975,000

Selling price: $1,176,100

Location played the major role in the selling of this home as the buyers were set on owning a property in the exclusive Moore Park enclave west of Mount Pleasant Road. They bid $201,100 over asking to make their wish come true. "It's a huge lot and a beautiful house," said agent Cameron Weir.

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25 Larkin Ave., Toronto

Asking price: $899,000

Selling price: $1,065,000

There were three offers for this 80-year-old house just a block north of the shops, cafes and restaurants of Bloor West. High-end renovations, a finished basement and some prized outdoor space drew a winning bid that was $166,000 over asking.

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11 Linden St., Toronto

Asking price $995,000

Selling price: $1,290,000

Just south of the massive St. James Town 1970s-era housing development, this 1890s home was set in an enclave of heritage homes that escaped the bulldozers. The charming semi-detached drew 25 private showings within a week of being listed and sold in a bidding war. "Of all the houses I sold this year, it went for the biggest premium," said agent Michael O'Brien. "In all of my real estate career, I've never seen such a frenzy to get a house."

Thea Menagh

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