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The Chase: Upper Beach for under $475,000? The search for an under-asking miracle

A family in the Upper Beach was determined to find a detached house for less than $475,000

THE BUYERS
Gordon Springle, a 45-year-old real estate agent, and his wife, Ruthann Clayton, a 46-year-old home stager.

THE STORY
Springle, a former French teacher, flipped five houses in six years before becoming a full-time real estate agent in 2003. He and his wife were renting a semi on Main, near Gerrard, but after a few years there, they were tired of the traffic and noise from the busy inter­section. Springle gave himself a challenge: find a house on a quieter street, still within walking distance of their daughter’s high school, which meant somewhere between Victoria Park and Main, Kingston Road and Gerrard, for no more than $475,000.


HOUSE 1
Whistle Post Street, near Main and Gerrard. Listed at $469,900, sold for $536,600
This three-bedroom semi in the Upper Beach Estates development was the first house that fit the bill, but the bidding war that ensued quickly outpaced Springle and Clayton. The house was seven years old and backed onto the railway tracks, yet they watched offers flood in, exceeding their limit. “At that point, it wasn’t looking good for us,” says Springle. They didn’t bother to bid.


HOUSE 2
Winston Avenue, near Kingston Road and Victoria Park. Listed at $499,900, sold for $525,000
This modest three-bedroom, two-storey detached house was on an underrated street but showed well. Springle suspected (rightly) that it was listed low to bring out buyers. It sold in seven days for $26,000 over asking.


(Images: Springle by John Cullen; houses by Stefania Yarhi)

THE BUY
Winston Avenue, near Kingston Road and Victoria Park. Listed at $519,000, reduced to $489,000, sold for $480,000
Springle saw that the vast majority of house hunters in this neighbourhood were bidding ridiculously high on intentionally underpriced listings. This detached home, a few doors down from House 2, had been on the market for two months without a nibble, and the sellers had just reduced the price. Springle went for a showing at 5 p.m. on a Monday and made an offer later that evening, which was accepted the next day. He found out after the fact that the sellers had been one day away from taking the house off the market and waiting to re-list. “Luckily for me, they decided a bidder in the hand was worth two in the bush,” says Springle. They got the house and blew their budget by only $5,000.

  • Phil

    What a wonderful ad. NOT.

  • CJC

    That’s really great! They stuck to their budget and got a great home.

  • CocoTO

    Man…the media just can’t keep up with the changes in the Real Estate market. Other than a few anomalies, houses haven’t been selling over the asking price for a couple of months now. There are plenty of houses selling for under the asking price. Multiple offers and bidding wars are a thing of the past…we’ll see if they come back with the Fall Market. Come on TL…this was no miracle, it is the reality of a sellers market that has quickly become a buyers market.

  • AH

    To shed some light, all 3 properties were listed and sold before April 2010 within a month of each other.

  • Flowersformomma

    the list to final sale is insignificant at times. Most of the time the list price is set well below actual market value to attract buyers. 2010 will not see the great crash that everyone is calling for. There will be an adjustment for sure, but dont expect chaos, the market will adjust down

  • Gordon Springle

    It’s hard to coment when you don’t know more of the details. Some background: the other two on Winston Sold very high with respect to the market values in the area and set the bar. #37 had been previously listed for $519k and sat on the market for a few months; it was overpriced and didn’t show well so it fell through the cracks. As it sat, the neighbouring homes (one right across the street, the other a few doors down) Sold for over $500k. Bear in mind that this is an Upper Beach detached with 2 car parking that just needed some paint. It had fallen off the radar for local realtors and had been reduced in price low enough that the local agents’ interest in it were beginning to get rekindled. The price we paid for it as per a professional Current Market Analysis was about $25-35k under market value in a hot sellers’ market. Even if values dip 7%, we’re in a great position. Hope this sheds light on the scenario.

  • Doug McGonigal

    The first babyboomers hit age 65 next year. Most of them, to maintain their lifestyles over the years, now find themselves with little to no savings. What do you think the first thing will be to go when they find out CPP won’t keep the tank filled in the X5? That’s right: all those granite counter-topped, gut-renovated Toronto homes. Get ready, 30-, 40- and 50-somethings, the boomers are about to stick it to us, once again. Sell now, if you still can, because the buyer’s market has just begun.

  • BSB

    Good point Doug. Also, many of those 30,40 and 50 somethings are up to their elbows in debt. If we hit a major air pocket in the economy, many of these individuals will be forced to sell (or will be foreclosed on.) For me, I worry about this risk more than the boomers risk (although the boomers risk will be very important.)

    Furthermore, the average house price to family income in Toronto is about 5X. Historically, this ratio is closer to 3X. So…there is a lot of room for prices to drop in Toronto.

    And yes I am a homeowner…and have one of those renovated “granite counter-topped” homes. And I bought it last year. So I am very much exposed to the risk of falling house prices.

  • RAS

    One thing is certain, it will be very interesting to see what happens in the Toronto real estate market over the next few years.

  • Tod M.

    What an ugly house. The addition in the front really screwed up the architecture of the house

  • Andrew

    You’re going to have to look NORTH of the tracks to find anything under $475000 in that area. And believe me, you probably don’t want to live there.

  • Gordon Charles Springle

    Response to : What an ugly house. The addition in the front really screwed up the architecture of the house
    August 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm | by Tod M.

    Yes, the pic looks ugly. One of the reasons I scored a deal. Easy aesthetic fixes required drives down the market value

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