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Toronto’s property values ride a bumpy market Add to ...

Everybody who has been keeping an eye on Toronto’s undulating real estate landscape has seen the resale markets for single-family houses and high-rise condos in Toronto diverge, but the influence on prices in individual neighbourhoods is apparent in Globe Real Estate’s home value survey for fall 2013.

For the most part, prices continue to appreciate in the pockets that contain funky shopping streets and rows of desirable houses in popular school districts, while owners who live in – or are surrounded by – tall towers have seen values in their neighbourhood slip.

John Pasalis, broker at Realosophy, drilled into numbers compiled by the Toronto Real Estate Board to determine which neighbourhoods are running hot and which have cooled off so far in 2013. Since percentage swings in one area can be skewed by one or two big sales in one year or the other, he also looked at the balance between supply and demand, and the percentage of properties that sold for more than their asking price.

Values tend to swell when lots of bidding wars are going on, of course, and there isn’t a lot of competition these days in the condo segment, he says.

Mr. Pasalis points to the perennially popular Bloor West Village as a neighbourhood that has retained its lustre, reflected in the 8-per-cent rise in the average price.

Regal Heights, Chaplin Estates and the Junction also posted significant gains in average sale price. Kensington Market saw the average price jump 23 per cent in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period last year.

“Usually, in small pockets like that, a small number of sales can really have an impact,” said Mr. Pasalis.

The Junction, which saw the average price edge up 4 per cent, is a neighbourhood with lots of Victorian semis and Edwardian detached houses. Some condo buildings have appeared, but for the most part, it’s an area where single-family houses are relatively affordable.

The houses north of Dundas Street West have lagged in value in the past because they’re close to the rail yards, he adds, but values have been catching up more recently. People who are priced out of prime neighbourhoods prefer proximity to the tracks to moving to the northern reaches where transit, good shopping and cafés serving brunch are less available.

“A lot of those pockets don’t have the same neighbourhood feel as the Junction.”

Looking at the overall Toronto market, rising inventory means buyers have more clout than they’ve had in years past.

“The balance favours buyers, but the positive thing is they’re buying.”

The neighbourhoods where prices have lagged so far in 2013 include Scarborough Town Centre, Humber Bay Shores, Liberty Village, Willowdale and Bayview Village.

Humber Bay Shores, which consists almost entirely of condo buildings that have sprung up in the past 10 years, saw the average price slide by 8 per cent.

Mr. Pasalis says there has been some recovery in the Toronto resale condo market recently. He notes that sales in Toronto were moribund last year at this time because the market was still affected by the government’s tightening of mortgage rules.

“We’re comparing it to a really poor year last year.”


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