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Real Estate

Under Asking: “The slowdown is giving people a leg up.” Three agents discuss why they went down in price

Their properties include a spacious townhome in Long Branch, a rustic semi-detached in Leslieville and a backyard-rich bungalow in Oakwood Village

Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price

In the first half of 2022, buying a home in Toronto for under asking sounded like fiction. But the market’s historic cool-down—average house prices have dropped 16 per cent since March—is spurring deals, however slight, across the city.

We asked three agents to tell us about a property they recently sold at a discount, why they agreed to go down in price and what it all means for home buyers moving forward.


Long Branch: Long Branch Avenue

The place: A modern townhouse with a rooftop terrace and lake view Listing price:$1,099,000 Sold for: $1,000,000 Date sold: July 29, 2022 Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 3 Size: Roughly 1,400 square feet Maintenance fees: $367 Agent: Brandon Hebert,  Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

“I bought this place in 2014 for $460,000 as an investment property. To me, it was perfect for a jet-setter or a young family who needed access to the airport and downtown. And the improvements I made—a rooftop terrace with a pergola, a custom kitchen island and a stained-clay wall—add to its quality.

“I chose to finally sell the townhouse because I had refinanced its mortgage early on in the pandemic and purchased a home in Whitby. It made sense for me to sell sooner rather than later based on the new interest and rent rates. In January, I thought I could sell the townhouse for $1.2 million. But then the downward shift in the market meant selling for less. Places in my neighbourhood that weren’t as developed as mine were going for under a million, so it didn’t make sense to price mine so high anymore.

“I had only two showings for the property in its first week on sale, and only one turned into an offer. The eventual buyers bid less than asking, but they put a beautiful letter together: they mentioned wanting to start a family in the house, and I thought it would be good karma to give an opportunity to young people trying to crack the market. Besides, I had been sitting on this investment for about eight years.

“Overall, I’m happy with the sale. I think I’ll use the revenue from this place to buy an investment property on the Adriatic Sea or an estate property in the Durham region.”

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—Brandon Hebert

Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price

Photos: Matt Vardy


Leslieville: Kent Road

The place: An open-concept semi-detached home with a backyard and parking pad Listing price: $1,049,000 Sold for: $975,000 Date sold: July 27, 2022 Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 1 Size: 1,185 square feet Maintenance fees: n/a Agent: Anya Ettinger, Bosley Real Estate

“The previous owners had given this family home a rustic, loft-like look. Some people love the exposed brick, but not everybody is into that. It required a specific buyer: someone who wouldn’t need more than two bedrooms and who wouldn’t mind eventually updating the kitchen and finishing the basement. That being said, the home is relatively turnkey and doesn’t require imminent work. You could buy it, move in and then save up to redo the kitchen later on. Another perk is that it has legal front-pad parking, which is rare in Leslieville.

“We had close to 20 showings in one week. Quite a few groups came to the open house, but none of those translated into an offer. That’s usually an indicator that the price is off. By July, the market had already shifted, and buyers were looking for a deal. We had expected to sell for a bit under our asking price, but a few sales in the neighbourhood (a similar place went for $910,000) forced us to lower our expectations even more. My client didn’t mind reducing our price. He understood that the market wasn’t great.

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“I wouldn’t say I’m mad about this market turn. It makes everyone’s lives easier. I’m 23, and seeing houses go for under asking suggests that those in my age group may have a chance at owning even if they don’t come from money. It’s still not perfect—interest is going up—but the slowdown is giving some people a leg up.”

—Anya Ettinger

Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price

Oakwood Village: Amherst Avenue

The place: A detached bungalow with a large backyard and a basement with a separate entrance Listing price:$1,049,900 Sold for: $980,500 Date sold: July 29, 2022 Bedrooms: 2+2 Bathrooms: 2 Size: Roughly 1,270 square feet Maintenance fees: n/a Agent: Thee Bounkeuth, Keller Williams Realty

“This bungalow hit the market with lots of potential: it has a massive backyard and two separately contained units that can be rented out simultaneously. In such a hot rental market, that’s a huge draw. Plus, the place was renovated six years ago and is move-in ready. I’m a millennial, and I think our generation likes that—a home that doesn’t require much work. The costs of skilled trades have gone through the roof in Toronto.

“Had we sold it four or five months ago, it probably would have gone for $1.15 million, but the market’s a lot weaker now. We knew that going in, so we prepped the place as best we could to show the appeal. The house was fully staged, de-cluttered, painted, cleaned, and we ran a social media campaign. You have to present the home at its best because not everyone has the vision of what a place could be, and if you don’t set it up properly, especially in a slow market, you’ve missed your chance to sell.

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“The new owners came at the right time, because the downturn won’t last. Over the next 10 years, I think Toronto will turn into a mini Manhattan: young people won’t be able to afford anything, and the next generation will just rent. I don’t envy that. If things don’t change, young people will face an even tougher market than we’re facing now.”

—Thee Bounkeuth

Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price
Under Asking: "The slowdown is giving people a leg up." Three agents discuss why they went down in price

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