Skip to main content

Two houses – very close in location but polar opposites in presentation – sold this month in a central Toronto neighbourhood.

The stalwart family house with the same owners since the 1950s sits at 76 Jackman Ave. – almost across from the front door of Jackman Avenue Junior Public School in Toronto. The more scintillating “executive” home at 66 Chester Ave. is equally close to the rear door of the same school.

Comparing the two detached properties provides an interesting glimpse into the enigmatic art of setting an asking price. As it happens, Wilfred Veinot sold them both. The agent with Sutton City Realty Inc. specializes in the neighbourhood near Broadview Avenue and Danforth Avenue.

He settled on an asking price of $1.595-million for the Jackman Avenue house. The home with two-and-a-half stories, a partially finished basement and original wood trim attracted a lot of interest for its well-maintained construction and because it sits in the coveted Playter Estates enclave.

It also needs a renovation in the opinion of most of the people who looked at it, Mr. Veinot says. Some potential buyers thought they might need to spend $500,000 or $600,000.

In the end, the house drew two offers. Records show it sold for $1.725-million.

Fully renovated, a house such as that is not likely to sell for more than $2.5-million, Mr. Veinot says, so buyers were carefully weighing the cost of renovations and comparing what else they could get for their money. He got the sense that buyers were willing to undertake the renovations but they wanted to be sure the figures make sense.

76 Jackman Ave. was listed at $1.595-million and sold for $1.725-million.

“It gets complicated up in that price range.”

If they walked through the school and out the other side, they could look at the house on Chester with an original asking price of $2.375-million. That house is “absolutely stunning,” Mr. Veinot says. It has four bedrooms, a main-floor family room, three gas fireplaces and three wall-mounted TVs. A family could move right in and unpack their toothbrushes.

But the Chester house – with every detail complete down to the two remote controls for the garage – doesn’t offer much potential to boost the value of the property beyond a rise with the market. The house was relisted with an asking price of $1.999-million and sold the same day for $2.066-million, according to real estate industry data.

Parents with elementary-school-aged children covet the Jackman school district and both houses fall into that area. Both have parking and both are within walking distance of the subway. But the Jackman house is deemed to be within Playter Estates, while the Chester house is just outside of the tony area.

Mr. Veinot says Toronto buyers are extremely savvy these days and most people put a lot of thought put into the budget. He has an upcoming listing on nearby Browning Avenue. The semi-detached house with four bedrooms will have an asking price in the $875,000 range.

Mr. Veinot says the house, which was last renovated in the 1980s, might be a project for someone who has $1-million or more to spend. Another semi in the area recently went for $1.601-million. But for someone whose budget tops out at $900,000, they can live in it as it is.

“It will sell over – I just don’t know how much over it’s going to go,” he says.

Mr. Veinot says some of the sale prices seem crazy to market watchers, but he doesn’t find that buyers are just blindly flinging around wads of cash. Every extra $5,000 or $10,000 is important to buyers and sellers, he says.

“For a lot of us, our real estate is our everything.”

Christopher Bibby, a real estate agent with Sutton Group Associates Realty Inc., was astonished recently to sell a house in the Allenby Junior Public School area for $300,100 above the asking price. The school area near Avenue Road and Eglinton Avenue West is also popular with parents.

66 Chester Ave. was originally listed at $2.375-million before selling for $2.066-million.

The “classic Allenby,” traditional detached house was listed with an asking price of $1.149-million. About 90 potential buyers booked appointments and the open house was jammed.

His clients had purchased the property a little over six years ago for $760,000 and renovated the main floor, with upgrades elsewhere.

Lots of agents and neighbours were guessing what the house might go for. On offer night, it drew seven bids and sold for $1,450,000.

“It far exceeded all of our expectations,” he says.

Mr. Bibby says some buyers were interested but their agents they knew they wouldn’t have a chance. “A few agents said ‘150 over isn’t going to cut it so we’re just not going to bother.’”

They were right.

With prices rising so dramatically in the area, he says, many of the curious neighbours he talked to during the open house said they might be interested in selling but it would be too expensive to move.

“A lot of the neighbours coming through had the identical house,” he says.

Instead, they’re topping up or expanding out the back if they need more room.

“Sure, I can get all this money for my house, but on the upgrade am I still going to be competing?” is a common quandary, he says.

Mr. Bibby was also interested to note that many of the people making appointments were investors or agents acting on behalf of investors.

He was surprised that investors – both Toronto-based and foreign – would be interested in renting out a $1.5-million single-family house.

But detached-house prices are rising at such a clip, he says, that investors who would have favoured condo units in the past are now perusing the established neighbourhoods.