The Chase: they had $400,000 and were willing to live anywhere but in a condo
The buyers: Biao Liu, a postgrad marketing student at George Brown, and Sharon Liu, an instructional designer at the Metrix Group consultancy, both 26.
The story: Sharon’s father is a big believer in property ownership. “Owning a piece of land is part of Chinese culture,” Sharon says. So when she and Biao got married in July, there was no question that they’d be looking to buy. They set a budget of $400,000 and told their agent, Robert Atkinson of Century 21, that they’d consider anything, anywhere in the GTA, as long as it wasn’t a condo. After checking out places in Markham, Aurora and Richmond Hill, they decided there was nothing decent for $400,000 that wasn’t a condo. Since they were going to have to up the ante, they opted to limit their search to Markham, which they liked for its Chinese restaurants and grocery stores—and Sharon’s dad liked for the investment potential.
James Scott Road (near Markham and the 407).
Listed at $540,000, sold for $591,000.
A half-dozen properties into their search, they found this townhouse in Vinegar Hill. It was the first place they liked—and it was almost $150K over their budget. Sharon’s dad agreed to top up their offer, but even $560,000 wasn’t enough. In a four-way bidding war, they were outbid by $31,000.
Cornell Common Road (near 9th Line and 16th Avenue).
Listed at $659,000, sold for $650,000.
Sharon fell for this recently renovated detached, which had new bamboo floors and a big backyard, and was located on a tree-lined street. But she also knew it would hobble them financially, and they couldn’t justify it. It sat on the market for 40 days before selling for just below asking.
White’s Hill Avenue (also near 9th Line and 16th Avenue).
Listed at $579,000, sold for $562,000.
If they couldn’t have the detached house of their dreams, they could at least be nearby. Just up the road from the one that got away, they found a three-bedroom townhouse that had been on the market for two weeks. The place had character: oddly shaped bedrooms, a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard wall and a home theatre with two rows of sofa seating. They bid $550,000, went back and forth three times and, after bargaining away the theatre sofas, finally sealed the deal at $562,000.
34 thoughts on “The Chase: they had $400,000 and were willing to live anywhere but in a condo”
We just bought a house in Weston Village for 420,000. You have to look in the right area.
So basically the headline about a $400k “non-condo” was completely misleading…
Hey Sophie..do you mind giving more details on your house?
I clicked on this thinking that it would be interesting to see what they got in the GTA for $400k. But no, Toronto Life has yet another completely misleading headline. They didn’t have 400k, they had 560k!
Buying a $562,000 house on a single income, while one of them is still in school – presumably paying tuition, and not earning money. Something’s not right here.
Assuming they put 20% down, a 25-year mortgage on that place at 2.85% (current prime interest rate) will run them nearly $2,100 per month just in mortgage. Factor in the taxes, maintenance, and insurance, and you’d need to be netting over $7,000 per month in order to have a reasonable GDS ratio.
But it’s “part of Chinese culture”, and owning property is “no question” since they just got married to each other. So that makes it okay, right?
Check out Weston Village. New Go Station running Downtown. It’s super affordable and a great area.
A MUCH more interesting story would be ‘they had $400,000 and this is what they got’ versus ‘they had 400K in their wallet and daddy had another couple of hundred grand to give them so here’s what they could get for $600K.’ #TorontoLifeClickBait #Fraud
There are lots of homes in the GTA for around $400,000.. They only problem is that they don’t last long!
email me at email@example.com if your looking, I have a list of places I can show you.
The Chase: they had $400K but soon realized they needed 600K to live anywhere but in a condo.
bought a house in East York for 460,000 at the end of the summer. Yes, I had to take down a ton of wallpaper- but it’s detached, has a detached garage, huge backyard (for the city) and is super cute. You have to look and be willing to paint and fix up a place but it’s doable. Toronto Life should really run a story about our search.
You can buy two in my neighborhood for that money. Of course, you’ll be living in Hamilton, or, as I call it, “Queen-West-West-West-West.”
Despite all the hype, most people will be commuting out of town for a decent job for the foreseeable future, though.
The Hamilton-as-a-great-place-to-do-business buzz hasn’t caught up with the Hamilton-as-a-great-place-to-live buzz yet.
I don’t understand the “400k budget” in the title when they purchased a townhome for 562k. lol
Where’s the disclaimer on this article stating it is complete nonsense? Seriously TL… You really need to work on headlines.
Next time try… “Want a non-condo property for 400k??? Think again!” …
or maybe… “Can your parents throw you an extra 160k to buy your first home in your 20s? If not, you might be out of luck. Hopefully you don’t dishonour your family by renting”…
I like the 2nd one although it might be a little too long. What do you think?
their rich Chinese parents chipped in a considerable amount of course.
“Chinese Kids were disowned when they decided to rent. But Daddy saved them by chipping in 600k.”
This article is basically a lie…………..I was excited to see something for 400K!
Daddy, i need more money for this inflated market of androgynous looking homes with no yard
Hi guys,I’m a Real Estate agent and there are homes for 400,000 (and a ‘Lil above) in Toronto. The area that I think a lot of people should look into is the Runnymede-St.Clair/Rockcliffe-Smythe area. It is up-and-coming, has great shops and transport and the prices are still CHEAP! Contact me @ Tyson.firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive a list of available homes and more info. Thx !
When did Toronto life become buzzfeed?
“a chinese couple with 400k their pocket were willing to live anywhere in toronto, the only catch is, it can’t be a condo!, what they found, left me speechless….”
I don’t even know why I clicked this rubbish.
Oh. Okay. So they’re not really homeowners, then. Just living in their parents’ house. I remember doing that when I was a kid. It was nice.
It’s known as “clickbait” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clickbait).
More visitors = more ad revenue. Hence the enticing headline.
Really Maxwell? Is that what it is? Gee thanks for that!
This is depressing. I’m so glad I’m not a first-time buyer on the market right now. I’d either have to settle for something lousy in a neighbourhood not of my choice, buy a tiny condo with no room for a family, or go over-budget on a townhouse somewhere out in 905.
Also, a note to Toronto Life: We’re talking here about a couple that had money from a parent. What about someone who has to find the money on their own?
Yes it was. Chinese parents from China often only have 1 child due to the restrictive “1 child policy”. Because of this, they pour money into their only child so they can succeed. In this case, the dude is still in school and still afford a 600k house. Even though their original budget was 400k (laugh), they didn’t seem to have any trouble going pass their own budget by 162k.
If we’re actually at the point where “parents pouring money into their only child” equals the child’s success, then I honestly cannot wait until the day that I finalize immigrating to the UK, to be very far away from a society that seems to harbor these values. That is absolute nonsense. There is no success in buying a house at 26 if your parents paid for it.
You’re from a rich family and they take care of it all for you because they want to give you a nice life? Cool. That’s fine. I’m not wealth-shaming by any means. But just because one’s parents are successful, does not make them successful. They’re descendents of success, sure. But success is something you have to earn. It’s not something your parents can buy for you.
As a first-time buyer just sticking his nose into the market in the GTA – – it gets more and more depressing every time I look. And I certainly don’t have well-off parents who can afford to sling me even a cent towards a real estate purchase…never mind over $100k. No matter how much you save, the prices seem to accelerate away from you ever faster.
Want to see house’s that actually cost around $400,000?!?! Here a few examples: copy and paste the link to see all the pics and info. http://v3.torontomls.net/Live/Pages/Public/Link.aspx?Key=61ba247b3210480d91907177c9250292&App=TREB
If you want to see any or have any questions, please feel free to contact me @ 647.657.3136 or email@example.com. Thx!
What’s wrong with helping your kids out financially if you have the means? Regardless of culture, any parents would do so if they could. So what?
This story wasted my time. Who cares that like everyone else they bought something in the 600k range. Why are they so special that I need to know about them. Absolutely no reason. Toronto life, your editors seem to be slipping up a bit.
slow news day… I’m waiting for the article on the korean couple who tried to buy a new car for 15k. (but actually ended up spending 37k on a 2015 BMW, because their parents wanted to drive something nicer.)
‘Owning property is part of Chinese culture’- Uhm, I can show you a billion farmers who disagree.
I enjoy reading the responses a lot more than this couple’s chase and not much of a buy. Good buy’s were Sophie’s and Tara’s. You have to be willing to do some work, get your hands dirty to make it your own and a great investment.
Usually, nothing is wrong with helping your kids out financially if you have the means (of course, parents propping up their kids’ purchases is the cause of many problematic occurrences in the economy at large, but that’s another discussion). Take a second to look at what the spirit of the article is… it’s protraying them as homebuyers. Homebuyers who had to work within a certain budget (which, in actual fact, turned out to be flexible by close to 50%). It’s a reality that many first-time buyers will face – and for that reason, it is relevant reading for those who are in the market, or soon to be in the market.
But this is not your typical case of being a first time buyer. Why? First time buyers aren’t usually in college, and able to spend $160,000 more than they expected to. Again, it looks as though it’s parent-financed. Does that mean that this couple should get the glory of being able to speak as though they bought a house for over half a million dollars at under the age of 30? Personally, I don’t think so.
The issue I’m taking with culture here is that they’re trying to use Chinese culture as the reason why this was “necessary” for them. Reality check; it’s not. If you can’t afford a house, you can’t afford it. That’s a reality people will face in any culture. I can’t wrap my head around why they think saying it’s “part of Chinese culture” will change anything. It doesn’t. If the supposedly “have to buy a house”, and the only way they can do it is by borrowing money from their parents, then that’s fine. Making it come off as your own accomplishment, however, I think is pretty classless.
Click-bait for the win
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