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52 Harvard Ave. had an asking price of $769,000, drew five competing bids and sold for $913,000.

A rundown old house with a hodge podge of apartments in Roncesvalles Village drew crowds last week when it was listed with an asking price of $769,000.

Real estate agent Matthew Regan of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. figured interest would be high even before he booked 40 showings in six days over the Victoria Day weekend.

He was astounded when the property at 52 Harvard Ave. drew five competing bids and sold for $913,000.

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"What a result – wow. The best part is, the seller is just ecstatic. She was almost in tears."

The owner purchased the house in 1988 for $135,000, he says.

While the house needs some fixing up, it offers high ceilings, good bones, a walk out to the garden and a rooftop deck, he says.

"I think it was the fact that it just screamed potential," he says of the interest.

Mr. Regan says he set an offer date and drew a bully offer on the first day but the owner rejected bullies.

"The seller decided to play the odds. She guessed right."

The bidders were a mix of people who wanted to keep it as an investment property and others who wanted to live in it, he says.

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The buyer had visited the house in the past while a friend was living there and had long been interested in it, Mr. Regan says.

Buoyant real estate buyers in Toronto seem to be sticking with their house hunting even though patio season is now here.

Market activity has pulled back slightly, says real estate agent Paul Johnston of Right At Home Realty Inc., and listings have increased.

"It's gone from pandemonium to just a heavy frenzy," he says.

Mr. Johnston likened the early spring to the bread lines in the closing days of the Soviet Union.

"A lot of people lined up for disappointment."

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Today's market, he reckons, is more like two weeks after the iPhone launch. "There's product to be had now."

Mr. Johnston says he has several new listings coming out in the next couple of weeks.

Builders sanguine enough to launch new condo projects, including Dovercourt 455 at College and Dovercourt, and Kingston & Co. on Kingston Road.

He doesn't expect a deep summer slump but the market will likely slow a bit in August, he says.

The positive mood in Toronto stands in contrast to the pessimism in the housing market in the United States.

Myles Zyblock, chief investment strategist at Dynamic Funds, says in a research report that housing sales have failed to pick up despite low borrowing rates.

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Because the housing recovery is so important to sustaining a strong economy in the United States, Mr. Zyblock says, he fears the broader economic recovery might stall.

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