Housing in TO ... circa 2011

   12 July 2017, lunch time

I wrote the draft of a blog post below on June 29th, 2011. I just noticed it now. It’s funny to look at the numbers I was complaining about back then. Funny how things change in 5 years. And also don’t. The numbers are all bigger now, but the problems are all the same. In 2011 it was still feasible for me to try and buy a house. The house I ended up buying was one that wasn’t taking offers, that I paid less than asking for. Does that happen anymore? I’ve been priced out of the neighbourhood I currently live it. I could never buy this house now.

The housing market in Toronto is always a little bit crazy. I had thought that since we’re currently recovering from a financial apocalypse, the real estate market in the city might have calmed down: wrong! Here are two stories of woe.

Shima and I saw a nice a nice small semi-detached home just off Dundas St. West near Bloor. It was listed for a very reasonable $459,000. (If you asked me what I thought was a reasonable price for a house a year a two or go, I promise you that wouldn’t be the number that came out of my mouth.) A houses price depends solely on what people are willing to pay for it. The agent didn’t pick the price he listed the house at out of thin air. Houses on the street sold for $430,000 (or less) the previous year. Based on how much units in my condo were selling for now versus last year, I guessed that the house probably should have been listed at $464,000. I assumed the house would sell for a bit more than that because there are only so many houses downtown, while there are plenty of condos and they continue to build more. It was also reasonably nice as houses downtown go. In the end Shima and I decided to bid $482,000. For those keeping score at home, that’s $23,000 over asking. (Wait, i’m getting ahead of myself. We had to ‘bid’ on the house because the sellers had decided to ask for all their offers on the same day. This is a classic ploy to drive up the price of a home. It’s a sellers market, so it’s a reasonable thing to do.) On the day we were to hand in our offer, we learned that 8 other people were also interested in the house. We decided we’d just offer ….

Shima and I saw a nice old house on Saint Clarens that was listed at $460,000. It was very beat up. We would have needed to fix the wiring, the roof, the cracked plaster walls, etc. It was clear though that if we had a bunch of money we could turn it back into something quite nice. Since we didn’t have a bunch of money we didn’t bother bidding on the house. Turns out that was a smart move on our part, since it sold for $200,000 over the asking price.


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