Toronto may have an abundance of glamorous towers and glass-walled condo suites on the market, but it's the tattered houses being auctioned off by Toronto Community Housing Corp. that are really drawing the attention of buyers.
Next up for TCH are 81 Degrassi St. and 65 Dagmar Ave. in South Riverdale.
Real estate agent Nicholas Bohr of ReMax Hallmark Realty Ltd. says the three-storey brick semi on Degrassi represents the real estate ideal of buying the least attractive house on a highly desirable street. From the sidewalk, the house looks quite smart, with a coat of paint in deep charcoal and white trim, but the interior is definitely run down. The asking price is $570,000 and the location is in prime Leslieville.
"It's going to go way over asking," says Mr. Bohr, of the expected bidding frenzy. "It's going to be a silly price it will fetch."
Last week I wrote that the Fridman Elkind team at ReMax is selling more than 40 of the 68 vacant properties that TCH plans to sell in 2013 and 2014. The social housing agency is selling a portion of its holdings in order to chisel away a repair backlog that stood at $750-million in 2012 and continues to grow.
In a few weeks, Rick DeClute, of DeClute Real Estate Inc., will bring some TCH waterfront properties in the Beaches to market. Mr. DeClute is expecting delirium among buyers. He'll be targeting people who want to buy the properties and renovate them for themselves.
Among the 16 properties to sell in this recent batch, builders and renovators are often outbidding the so-called "end users" – people who would acquire the house in order to actually live in it – because rookie buyers are nervous about undertaking such an extensive overhaul.
"They really do get sold for the potential," says Mr. Bohr.
Also coming on the block is the house a little farther east on Dagmar Avenue. By contrast to Degrassi, it all but has a skull and crossbones stencilled on the front door. The asking price is $535,000.
"It's in such bad shape," says Mr. Bohr, "people will definitely have to sign a waiver to get in."
Not that he expects that to be a deterrent. Mr. Bohr says the house is so full of mould that house hunters will likely need a mask to view it. Still, the agents haven't ruled out holding an open house.
"If there is an open house, it will be unlike any other," he says. "I've been in it. It's dangerous and you are exposing yourself to a lot of this mould."
Meanwhile, two of the houses listed by ReMax haven't yet sold. TCH has had all of the properties appraised to ensure that it receives fair market value. While offers have trickled in for these two, says Mr. Bohr, they've come in below the appraised value.
The property at 90 Chatham Ave. is a two-storey semi listed for $485,000. It's located just south of Danforth Avenue and Toronto East General Hospital's Withdrawal Management Centre. The proximity to an addiction care facility makes some potential buyers nervous, Mr. Bohr said.
"It's like a textbook case of a stigma," says the agent.
Mr. Bohr posted an information flyer in a nearby mosque because he figured the property might appeal to a buyer who worships there. So far he hasn't had much response.
The other house that didn't sell on the designated offer night is located at 15 Milverton Blvd.
In that case, the builders and renovators don't see the opportunity to make money after renovating the house with an asking price of $475,000.
"Those are our two little ugly ducks that are sitting," says Mr. Bohr. "Even though the market has decided they are not worth what [TCH] is asking, they are still there and they are very hard to sell."
TCH spokeswoman Sara Goldvine cannot comment on specific sales but she did say a batch of seven properties has raised $3.29-million.
"We're confident we're going to bring in a good return," she added about the ongoing sales.