Real Estate

Under Asking: “Buyers are calling the shots these days.” Three realtors on why they sold at a discount

Their properties include a detached red-brick steps from U of T, a pristine semi in Greektown and a Junction Victorian with plenty of green space

Under Asking: "Buyers are calling the shots these days." Three realtors on why they sold at a discount

The bad news: interest rates are at their highest in 22 years. The good news: buyers who can afford to wade into the market are snapping up great deals as listings languish and sales decline. Here, three different agents representing three different properties share why they recently reduced their asking prices. They also explain why the market dip will likely continue into the new year.

Harbord Village: Borden Street
This Harbord Village home just sold for $60,000 under asking.

The place: A two-storey detached in one of downtown’s prettiest neighbourhoods Listing price: $2,249,000 Sold for: $2,190,000 Date sold: October 27 Bedrooms: 3+1 Bathrooms: 3 Size: 3,150 square feet Real estate agent: Richard Himelfarb

“The sellers completely rebuilt this house 10 years ago. When we listed it at $2.6 million in September, we knew we were pricing ourselves high in such a tight market. Buyer feedback confirmed our suspicions over the next month. We then reduced the price to $2.35 million and got lots of bookings.”

Agent Richard Himelfarb says he priced the home at an intentionally high figure.

“One person in particular showed great interest but wouldn’t commit to an offer. I convinced my clients to make a further $100,000 reduction to persuade the buyer. Sure enough, they countered with $59,000 below our ask. We’re in a buyer’s market right now, so we accepted.”

This place has three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

“I’ve been in real estate for 12 years. The state of the market these past three months is like nothing I’ve seen. House hunters are calling the shots, and deals are much harder to put together. If you list a property even a little bit too high these days, it’s difficult to get showings, let alone offers.”

"Buyers are calling the shots" in todays real estate market, says Himelfarb.

Danforth: Pape Avenue
Here's a property that sold at a discount, right on Pape Avenue.

The place: A century-old semi with a finished basement Listing price: $999,000 Sold for: $980,000 Date sold: October 27 Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 2 Size: 1,300 square feet Real estate agent: Scott Hanton


“This listing was perfect for first-time homeowners looking to avoid high-rise living: three finished levels, a porch and a leafy backyard. But the house is on a busy street, which can be a disincentive. In the spring, a very similar listing had sold for $1.1 million, so we decided to list it at just over $1 million to drum up interest.”

The place is 1,300 square feet and comes with three bedrooms.

“We discovered that people don’t feel pressured to buy right now. It took seven weeks to get 30 showings. Usually, if you have a listing in an appealing neighbourhood, it takes a week to hit that number. We dropped our price by $20,000, to $999,000, but still nothing.”

Initially, realtor Scott Hanton priced this home hoping interest rates would change.

“After nearly two months of futility, we considered taking the house off the market and re-listing in the spring. But, fortunately, we found great buyers who purchased the home for $19,000 under asking.”

After two months on the market, the owners agreed to sell for $19,000 under asking.

“The frenzied bidding wars of the past 10 years are gone, and it’s taken a year for sellers to adjust their expectations in terms of what they can get. Interest rates are starting to stabilize, but we haven’t hit the bottom of the market quite yet.”

The Junction: Hook Avenue
How about a classic Victorian just off Dundas West in the Junction?

The place: A freehold townhouse with a front and backyard Listing price: $1,300,000 Sold for: $1,280,000 Date sold: November 1 Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 1 Size: 1,650 square feet Real estate agent: Ted Neal


“This home has 10-foot ceilings and crown moulding. It’s in the heart of the Junction, a short walk from the UP Express, which can get you downtown in five minutes. The main drawbacks: it has only one bathroom, and it needs roughly $30,000 of electrical and roofing work.”

This place sold for $20,000 under its listing price.

“Earlier this year, a comparable listing hit the market for $1.4 million and then was reduced to $1.3 million. Factoring in the cost of renos and bathroom additions, we listed at $1.3 million. On October 25, when the Bank of Canada announced that it was holding interest rates, that boosted buyer confidence, and we got two serious showings the following day.”

The home has four bedrooms and one bathroom.

“One buyer made us an offer at $20,000 under asking, and we accepted. My clients could have gotten much more a few years ago, at the market’s peak. But there’s a new reality now: for sellers, confidence has been absolutely stripped away by high interest rates.”

The place came with minor flaws: it needed extensive electrical work and came with only one bathroom.

“But this is still a great time to get in the game. In the past, I had clients regularly competing with 10-plus buyers trying to outbid each other. Buyers today—for the first time in a long time—aren’t competing for everything. They can take time to do their due diligence without feeling rushed.”

Are you an agent who recently sold for under asking? Send your story to



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