Real estate agent Cheri McCann of Toronto-based McCann Realty Group Ltd. is dangling a property for sale with a tactic meant to draw the attention of first-time buyers: She has listed a detached house in Toronto with an asking price of $399,900.
“It’s the cheapest house in Toronto that we’ve found – unless we’ve missed something,” says Ms. McCann.
The listing comes a few days after another agent sparked a furor on social media by listing an east-end garage for sale with an asking price of $599,000.
The single-car garage, on a 20 by 100-foot lot, is located on Greenwood Avenue north of Danforth Avenue.
The fall market is off to a fairly brisk start, many agents say, and marketing strategies are varied and creative. Offer dates were reserved for only the most coveted properties in the past couple of years but agents say they’re creeping back into the market again.
Ms. McCann’s listing is tiny house at 4 Lucy Ave. near Danforth and Victoria Park Avenue in the city’s east end sits on a lot 22 feet wide and 100 feet deep. It has two bedrooms, one bathroom and one parking space.
Ms. McCann says she set the asking price under $400,000 in order to generate some buzz. She acknowledges the property will likely fetch more but declined to speculate on how much a buyer might be willing to pay.
Two other east-end houses of a similar size have asking prices around the $550,000 mark.
Once the “for sale” sign on Lucy Avenue went up, potential buyers started streaming through, Ms. McCann says.
“We have had a ton of showings,” she says.
A few potential buyers tried to table so-called bully bids before the scheduled date for reviewing offers but the sellers turned them away, says Ms. McCann.
Ms. McCann says the house is being sold “as is," without a home inspection. The basement is unfinished, she says, but the eat-in kitchen has been updated with some newer appliances. The bathroom has not been updated but the plumbing works, she adds.
She says lots of young couples have been looking at it as a starter home on a family-friendly street.
“It’s cute as a button,” says Ms. McCann. “It’s a cul-de-sac – there’s one way in, one way out.”
Another possibility is that a builder will buy the house in order to tear it down and rebuild. A couple of new houses have already replaced other vintage bungalows on the street, and there’s a proposal to build townhouses five houses away, she says.
“The street is developing.”
Many of the remaining older homes have been fixed up, she adds.
“They might be small but they’ve been given a lot of flair and style.”
Ms. McCann calls the September market so far “steady."
Declining interest rates in recent months have encouraged buyers, she says, and some higher-priced houses have had offer dates recently. She points to one property near Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue West listed with an asking price of $1.9-million that received four offers and sold above $2-million.
Ms. McCann adds that one house in Wanless Park sold for more than $10-million recently.
Shawn Lackie a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker – R.M.R. Real Estate, believes the market in the Greater Toronto Area is still playing catch-up after a dismal first half of 2019.
“This has been a totally bizarre year because we had virtually no spring market,” he says.
Mr. Lackie, who oversees Coldwell Banker offices in Port Perry, Durham Region and other areas east of Toronto, says homeowners were reluctant to list their properties for sale during a cold and wet spring that didn’t cede to warmer temperatures until July.
“Everything seems to be delayed by 45 to 60 days. People had plans to list but kept holding off.”
He believes deals struck in July and August normally would have been done in June in previous years. Some people had trouble understanding market value amidst the uncertainty, he adds.
“Buyers and sellers are funny because when they get confused they’re like a bat flying around in daylight.”
Mr. Lackie has been taking calls from homeowners who want to know how much their property might fetch in a sale. He’s advising people to just look at sales in the most recent 30 or 40 days in order to gauge prices. Looking back any farther is mostly irrelevant, he says.
Now that September is here, Mr. Lackie thinks the market has rebooted. Whether that upward trend will continue through the next six to eight months is impossible to predict, he says.
He says the factors that affect the 416 area of Toronto usually also influence the 905 and beyond.
“We typically follow what happens in Toronto. It ripples out.”
Mr. Lackie is seeing an increasing number of baby boomers selling their houses in Toronto and nearby suburbs, then moving farther north and east.
“Peterborough is on fire right now,” he says of the mid-sized Ontario city.
Many builders are putting up new sub-divisions throughout the region, in towns such as Peterborough, Lindsay and Port Perry.
“They wouldn’t be building these things if there weren’t buyers.”
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