Buyers with $5-million or more to spend in Toronto’s real estate market are not always spared the pressure of competition – particularly if a property looks like a comfortable place to ride out any potential future waves of the pandemic.
Cheri Dorsey McCann says buyers with deep pockets continue to base their real estate decisions on an unpredictable future.
The current mood was apparent when the broker with McCann Realty Group listed a five-bedroom house in Teddington Park with an asking price of $6.498-million.
Five offers landed during the first weekend on the market and the sellers received full asking price for 23 Doncliffe Dr.
The property comes with a pool, hot tub and wine cellar, but Ms. Dorsey McCann says the people bidding on the property seemed most interested in the main floor office and home gym.
Ms. Dorsey McCann says buyers who have lost access to their workplaces and fitness clubs in recent months want to have as many options as they can within their home.
Many of the people who purchased homes in the $5-million-and-up range in the past year were looking for more space so that family members can spread out – particularly if parents are working at home while their kids are in online school.
“It gave them a life again. It was very stressful for them not to be able to get away.”
Vaccinations have been rolled out and society is opening up, but home buyers are still laying the groundwork for the possibility of future waves.
“People are still nervous. They don’t think we’re out of it. They feel that we could still have another lockdown and they want to be prepared.”
In Teddington Park, many of the homes from an earlier era have been recently replaced with much larger dwellings that sell for between $15-million and $20-million.
The house on Doncliffe, built in 2001, sits between the traditional and the contemporary.
“It was a hard house to price,” Ms. Dorsey McCann says of the residence built in 2001. “There weren’t any 20-year-old homes to compare.”
Ms. Dorsey McCann says buyers covet the area near Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue partly because residents do not need to drive to shops, restaurants and transit.
The owner of 23 Doncliffe used to take the subway to his office in the financial district, she adds.
At 12 Misty Cres., the five-bedroom house listed with an asking price of $4.495-million sold as soon as it hit the market for $4.398-million, Ms. Dorsey McCann says.
The home near Bayview Avenue and York Mills has a very private setting for its backyard pool and terrace.
“It was one day on the market.”
Ms. Dorsey McCann says the light supply in the city is making it difficult for move-up buyers to find a home.
Some homeowners are still reluctant to list on the Multiple Listing Service of the Canadian Real Estate Association during the pandemic. They want to eliminate the house hunters who want to have a peek inside but aren’t serious about making an offer.
“The more active agents are doing a lot of quiet deals,” she says. “Some things are selling very quietly and exclusively.”
Some of the buyers Ms. Dorsey McCann is trying to match with a property are returning to Toronto after some time away. She has clients in Calgary, Boston and Sudbury, Ont. who are moving to Toronto for reasons related to work and family.
Ms. Dorsey McCann says supply has been low so far this fall but some sellers are still preparing their properties for sale.
She will soon be listing a 12-year-old house set on three acres in Vaughan, Ont., with an asking price of $13-million.
For buyers with a more down-to-earth budget, Ms. Dorsey McCann will list a three-bedroom semi-detached house at 187 Brookdale Ave. in Bedford Park with an asking price of $1.198-million.
Ira Jelinek, a real estate agent with Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., says listings are down compared with previous fall markets but supply has improved in October.
“It’s a totally different market than the sleepy summer.”
Mr. Jelinek has been seeing about two to three appointments a day for a three-bedroom semi-detached house near St. Clair Avenue West.
And the demand is also heavy outside of the core, he adds.
Near Yonge Street and Davis Drive in Newmarket, Ont., a new phase of stacked townhouses was released for sale. For each three-bedroom unit, about nine buyers turned up, he says.
Looking at the national picture, economist Rishi Sondhi of Toronto-Dominion Bank, notes that sales climbed in September for the first time in six months.
After five straight months of decline, Canadian real estate sales rose 0.9 per cent from August.
Despite the uptick, sales for the third quarter dropped 12 per cent from the second quarter.
The average price of a home in Canada rose a sturdy 1.2 per cent in September from August.
Mr. Sondhi says the correction in sales from unsustainable levels achieved earlier in the year is likely over and September should mark the beginning of a modest positive trend.
“The key word here is ‘modest’ as interest rates are likely to grind higher moving forward, playing off against improving job markets, a rising population and the decision by some households to plow excess savings into down payments,” Mr. Sondhi says.
Moving forward, average prices should display stronger growth than sales – despite condos making up a rising share of activity – as markets remain drum tight, he adds.
Your house is your most valuable asset. We have a weekly Real Estate newsletter to help you stay on top of news on the housing market, mortgages, the latest closings and more. Sign up today.