#GTAHomeHunt is a weekly series from the Star that gets into the details of real estate listings in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Have a tip? Email us at email@example.com
Listed Price: $ 999,000
Neighborhood: Bay Street Corridor
X Factor: The modern one-plus-den unit at 5 St. Joseph Street has upgraded finishes, a relatively spacious kitchen and floor to ceiling windows. In the heart of the city, it’s a short walk from Wellesley station, and less than 20 minutes walking from downtown universities. The building has several amenities, including a gym and 24-hour concierge service.
But if its time on the market was any indication – 237 days – the price tag may have been a factor. To gain a better understanding of the property, we spoke with our expert, realtor Othneil Litchmore.
Why is it priced this way?
To see how a million-dollar price tag on a condo of this size fits into the market’s landscape, Litchmore first compared the price of unit 3709 to others within the building.
In March, a one-plus-den unit sold for $ 778,000, Litchmore said, and this was before the Bank of Canada increased interest rates to cool the market, meaning something similar could be poised to sell for even less now.
In January, however, a different one-plus-den that was listed for $ 799,000 sold for $ 870,000. In February, when the market was hotter, another unit of the same size was listed at $ 828,000 and sold the next day for $ 962,000, he said.
“The funny thing is that these were sold in January and February, but this home that we’re looking at has been listed since September,” Litchmore said. “Nothing has been listed this high, at $ 999,000.”
The cheapest similar-sized unit to sell in the building this year has gone for $ 670,000, he added, and if unit 3709 did not sell when the market was at its peak at the beginning of the year, “it’s not going to sell now , ”Litchmore said.
But altogether, it becomes “very clear that getting this sold is not their primary concern at this point,” Litchmore said, adding that the seller could have lowered the listing price and tried to cater to a buyer with a budget in the $ 900,000s – with the possibility to sell even at $ 950,000 – at the beginning of the year. It was the “perfect time to pounce,” and selling it within that range would have been “very possible,” he added.
While this unit spent nearly eight months on the market, other units in the building have only taken 11 days on average to sell since January, Litchmore said.
Last year, around the time the unit was listed, other one-plus-dens were selling between $ 845,000 and $ 962,000, he said. However, he noted, the most expensive unit was the only one to sell for more than $ 900,000, and Litchmore said it was bigger and brighter than this one, with a den that included floor-to-ceiling windows and a sliding door – traits the den for unit 3709 does not have.
But in order to reach those selling prices, agents were consistently listing the units well below their desired prices, Litchmore said, which was a common strategy at the time.
With unit 3709, however, “they did not use a pricing strategy that everyone else was using in the building,” he said. “From the outset, for whatever reason, getting this sold is not their priority.”
The Star reached out to the listing agent, Annie Liu, about the decision to list the property at this price point and why it has sat on the market for so long.
“When we listed it, the Toronto market was going crazy, ”she said.
Additionally, Liu told the Star that the owner and the current tenant have a good relationship, and the tenant pays rent on time and takes good care of the property, so there’s “no hurry to sell.” According to Litchmore, the home is indeed listed as not being vacant.
Liu said the seller has received offers, but has not accepted any because none have been “satisfactory.” Liu says the listing has been removed, which the Star confirmed, but said the seller may want to relist property at a later date.
The average rental costs for GTA condos are approaching pre-pandemic peaks with an increase in demand and a drop in supply, according to recent numbers from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.
Tips for finding a place like this?
For prospective buyers interested in a one-plus-den condo downtown, look west of Bathurst Street, Litchmore said. For example, Liberty Village could offer a location that’s not too far, but more affordable, with similar-sized units averaging $ 715,000 this year.
In Niagara, selling prices are averaging $ 729,000, Litchmore said. On the higher end of the spectrum are units in the Waterfront communities, where the average selling price is $ 775,000.