Under Asking: “Places that used to get 12 offers are now getting two.” Three agents explain why they sold at a discount
Their properties include a cozy townhouse in Willowdale, a two-bedroom condo in the core and a unit in one of Toronto’s most prominent lakeside high-rises
The Toronto housing market is down 13 per cent from its February peak, and many brokers are suggesting that a buyer’s best bet at landing a home for under asking is to find a seller with an urgent timeline.
We asked three agents to dish on a property they recently sold at a discount, why they agreed to go down in price and what it all means for house hunters.
Willowdale: Byng Avenue
The place: A townhome with wood finishes and private parking
Listing price: $948,800
Sold for: $885,000
Date sold: August 16
Size: 1,400 square feet
Agent: Ray Adelson
“We put this place on the market in mid-July and tried to create a bidding war by listing it a bit low at $899,999. We received a few offers under that selling price, but none reached a number acceptable to the seller. So we re-listed it at $948,800. We didn’t feel the new price to be a stretch; other units in the building were selling for about that.
“Then my clients closed on a new home, buying it for a few hundred thousand dollars under asking themselves. All of a sudden, it made sense to sell the Byng Avenue property at a discount.
“This sale illustrated why you should buy and sell in the same market: you won’t get hurt that way because you have real numbers to help you assess the situation. A lot of people who bought between January and April chose not to sell their first homes because they predicted that the market wouldn’t cool.
“But, when it shifted in May, those same people panicked—they had a legal obligation to close the deal on their new homes and had to sell their first homes in a hurry, for a lot less than they could have months earlier. Buying and selling in the same market gave my clients flexibility.”
St. Lawrence: Church Street
The place: A condo near St. Lawrence Market with a south-facing balcony
Listing price: $899,900
Sold for: $820,000
Date sold: September 3
Size: 800 square feet
Agent: Kenneth Yim
“There was a similar unit in the building that had just sold for $935,000. It had no parking but was on a slightly higher floor with a better view. With that in mind, we originally priced this unit at $930,000. We didn’t get the traction we wanted, so after three weeks, we dropped the price to $899,900.
“An offer came in at just under the eventual selling price. We went back and forth, settling for $820,000. In my opinion, that’s very low, but my clients had already bought a pre-construction condo, and their payment was due.
“Selling for that much under asking wasn’t easy. I have plenty of other clients who are refusing to lower their prices, instead opting to rent out their properties until higher prices are offered. The buyers for this unit caught a lucky break: right now, I’m finding that only people who have to sell because of a big life change are doing so.”
Humber Bay Shores: Lake Shore Boulevard
The place: A spacious condo perched above the waterfront with lake views from every room
Listing price: $1,595,000
Sold for: $1,440,000
Date sold: August 8
Size: 1,900 square feet
Agent: Terry Szwec
“This property had a lot going for it—a good location and fantastic views—but the original price was a little ambitious when you look at other units with similar square footage. We initially listed it at over $1.6 million and received no offers after three weeks, so we dropped it to $1,595,000. Then, the market spoke. Three offers came in, all under asking. Only one was not conditional on financing or on another home sale. That’s the one we accepted.
“Now, the fact that we took that offer and went down in price is not a sign of a doom-and-gloom economy. It’s more that the January and February prices have evaporated, and sellers must make a mental adjustment and lower their expectations.
“Fewer people are looking to buy now than what we’ve seen in past months because of how unsettled the markets are. Places that used to get 12 offers are now getting two, and a lot of people are choosing to rent while they wait out the uncertainty. I think we may see the emergence of more of a balanced market from now on.”