The Place: 1,000 square feet spread over the two upper floors of a four-storey building. There’s an open-concept kitchen, living room and dining area on the main floor of the unit. The second floor has two bedrooms.
Sale of the Week: the $1.3-million High Park home that shows catering to the young and wealthy can pay off
The Property: This three-storey home in High Park was fully renovated to attract the hip and the well-heeled. It features a rare second-storey family room with a wet bar. There’s also a built-in wine fridge in the kitchen, plus modern finishes throughout.
The Place: A thousand square feet in a faux-Victorian townhouse complex near Queen East. The unit takes up the lower two of four levels. There’s a big master bedroom and den in the basement and an open-concept kitchen and living room on the main floor.
Sale of the Week: the $820,000 Blake-Jones home that proves buyers won’t be dissuaded by eccentric design
The Property: This three-bedroom detached home features brightly coloured rooms with artwork hand-painted directly onto their walls and hardwood floors. The elevated corner lot, with an unobstructed view of the city skyline, was a draw for buyers.
The Place: A luxurious townhouse near Yonge and St. Clair with three bedrooms, 24-hour concierge service and a patio that’s just a short walk away from David A. Balfour Park.
The sellers: Michael Belz, a 49-year-old partner at Deloitte, and his wife, Melanie, a 45-year-old nutritionist.
The property: A four-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house on a Thornhill cul-de-sac.
The story: Michael and Melanie, both lifelong surburbanites, often trekked downtown to shop, eat and see the Jays (they attend at least 35 games a season). Last summer, with their elder son at Laurier and their younger one about to join him, they decided to give city living a try. Rather than leap straight into a condo purchase, they found a two-bedroom rental in the Heathview, a new apartment complex near St. Clair and Spadina. The only thing left to do was sell their Thornhill house, bought in 2007 for $810,000.
The prep: After a mammoth purge, Michael and Melanie tackled a five-page list of cosmetic fixes assigned by their realtor. But they refused to dismantle their Blue Jays shrine—a royal-blue room full of baseball memorabilia—which they roped off with velvet cordons for viewings.
—Von Palmer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s chief government and public affairs officer, addressing reporters after a news conference during which Doug Ford pledged to reduce the land transfer tax if elected mayor. According to the Star, Palmer was responding to a question from CityTV’s James Tumelty about why, if TREB thinks paying a percentage on a property’s purchase price is such a terrible burden on homebuyers, the organization isn’t pushing equally hard for realtors to lower their commissions.
For buyers and sellers and those who simply consider real estate a spectator sport, this was the nutty year when the average price of a detached house hit a million. And you’re lucky if those seven figures buy a rickety bungalow next to the tracks. Open houses now require bouncers to control the mobs, buyers eye one another like competitors in a boxing ring, and every week there’s another story of a bidding war that stretched all night and made the seller a killing.
In the following pages, we present a portrait of the manic market. We surveyed the city’s top agents to find the pockets where the fight to own a house is fiercest, and gathered stories from people who’ve wandered into the real estate trenches and barely survived.
The Property: This three-bedroom Victorian semi is within walking distance of the Junction’s shops, restaurants and bars. It features loft-like details throughout, including exposed-brick walls, hardwood floors and high ceilings. A third-floor master retreat sports its own walk-in closet, four-piece en suite washroom and skylights.
The Place: An updated three-bedroom Wychwood home with an artificial-grass backyard that stays green all year—no lawnmower required.
Sale of the Week: a $1.3-million Victorian semi is proof that holding out for a better offer can pay off
The Property: This three-bedroom Victorian semi is located within easy walking distance of U of T, Kensington Market and Bloor Street. It has open-concept living and dining rooms, a wine cellar and original hardwood floors. A streetcar stop at the corner makes up for the lack of parking.