We are always happy to respond to all media requests for our knowledge and our opinion on the Toronto real estate market. Here are some of our more recent editorial articles where we were featured!


This $8 million Toronto mansion has a backyard oasis on a ravine
 


As condos continue to pop up in Toronto, it has become more difficult to find a bit of nature in the city.
For those with extra cash, a property recently listed on the market comes with its own bit of nature — a backyard oasis on the edge of a ravine.

17 the kingsway toronto

The mansion at 17 The Kingsway in Etobicoke doesn't come cheap — it's priced at nearly $8 million. But there is a lot of home and backyard for that price.

 

The approximately 3,844 square foot home comes with four bedrooms (plus two in the basement).

17 the kingsway toronto

There are plenty of spaces to sit and socialize in this home.

The home is entered through a circular drive past gardens created by Landscape Plus, according to listing agents Joe and Leslie Battle of Battle Real Estate Team / Royal LePage.

Upon entering the home, the interior looks formal and old-world with wood panelling and two gothic-style windows framing the door.

17 the kingsway toronto

The office space comes with a view of the gardens.

There are several rooms to cozy up next to a fire in —  in total, the home has five fireplaces.

17 the kingsway toronto

The main floor family room comes with a modern fireplace and a wall of windows.

There are also a few places for entertaining or relaxing with the family. The main floor family room panel of windows offers a view of the ravine out back.

17 the kingsway toronto

The dining room has space for eight people.

The wood paneling continues in the dining room, which also features a chandelier and space to seat eight people.

17 the kingsway toronto

The kitchen is newly renovated.

The kitchen was renovated in 2019 and comes with modern features like a breakfast bar and a wine fridge.

17 the kingsway toronto

The master bedroom is spacious and bright.

The master bedroom has its own sitting area with another fireplace.

17 the kingsway toronto

The master bedroom also comes with a fireplace and seating area.

Three of the upper-level bedrooms in this place come with views over the ravine.

17 the kingsway toronto

There is a spa-like ensuite bathroom for the master bedroom.

Soaking away the stress of the day would be wonderful in this tub with a view in the master ensuite.

17 the kingsway toronto

The huge brick fireplace is a unique feature in the basement.

A focal point of a lower level family room is an arty brick fireplace. 

17 the kingsway toronto

The backyard has views of the Humber Ravine.

Perched on the Humber Ravine, the best feature of this home is the fantastic backyard views. The ravine is a tangle of vegetation, which looks to be far from the city.

17 the kingsway toronto

There is an outdoor kitchen and a 12-foot long fire pit.

The backyard is totally enclosed with an iron gate. In addition to a patio with an outdoor kitchen, the space has a 12-foot-long built-in fire pit.
It would certainly be a great place for a post-lockdown gathering if it fits your budget.


The market for Toronto-area mansions is heating up

Mansions on the run,
March 2021,
Carolyn Ireland

This home at 489 Lakeshore Rd. E in Oakville, Ont., recently sold for $18.62-million.

SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY CANADA

Waterfront estates and historic homes are some of the carriage trade properties finding new owners as real estate buyers look to a future beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
Adrienne Lake, broker with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Oakville, Ont. says one property which has been on and off the market since 2016 recently sold for $18.62-million.
Kingsley Qin, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s, first listed the opulent four-bedroom, six-bathroom residence at 489 Lakeshore Rd. East with an asking price of $17.9-million.
The neo-classical mansion on one acre of land was on the market for 438 days at that price, says Mr. Qin, who adds that homes in that rarified atmosphere tend to take a long time to find new owners.
“About five years is typical,” Mr. Qin says. “These kinds of sales are very few and far between. In this price range, each property is very unique in its own way.”

The opulent home has four bedrooms and six bathrooms.
 
SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY CANADA

Designer Ferris Rafauli created the 16,000-square-foot house, which includes a grand staircase, home theatre and indoor swimming pool.
As the global demand for high-end real estate rose over those five years, Mr. Qin raised the price to its most recent level of $21,999,999.
The property actually sold conditionally near the asking price to a couple in Singapore in March, 2020, he says. When the coronavirus pandemic disrupted global travel and financial markets, they struggled for three weeks to get funds out of Singapore before the deal fell apart.
“Unfortunately the offer could not go through,” Mr. Qin says.
He adds that clients from around the world – including Europe, Russia, the Middle East, South America and the United States – have been shopping for luxury properties in Oakville, west of Toronto. The neo-classical mansion sits on a one-acre property.


SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY CANADA

The past year, however, has been more difficult as people coped with the pandemic.
He believes sentiment is changing now that vaccines are being rolled out and there’s less uncertainty surrounding the strength of global economies.
“I think people see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Mr. Qin says the buyer is a local resident who decided to take advantage of the dampened interest from overseas before borders reopen.
“The buyer said, ‘I don’t want to compete with international buyers.’”
Ms. Lake points out there are currently only four properties for sale in the range between $10-million and $50-million in Oakville and nearby areas.
“There really isn’t a lot for the consumer to choose from.”
Some houses also change hands quietly without going on the open market.
“A large portion of them are pocket listings,” Mr. Qin says.
Chelster Hall, the palatial home built by former Interbrew SA chief executive Hugo Powell at 1150 Lakeshore Rd. East in Oakville, was listed in 2016 with an asking price of $65-million. Ms. Lake says the waterfront estate was relisted with Sotheby’s and the price was reduced over time but the property did not find a buyer during that time.


MOE DOIRON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

It recently sold in a private deal after the listing expired, she says.
Ms. Lake, who is the managing broker for Sotheby’s offices in Oakville and Niagara, does not see a large number of listings coming onto the spring market. Competition amongst buyers, meanwhile, is more frenetic than it was during the run-up of early 2017, in her opinion.
“I think the market’s going to continue to be very, very tight,” she says. “A lot of agents can’t really pinpoint why there is this feeding frenzy.”
Leslie Battle, a real estate agent with Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., says demand is “off the charts” in the upper echelons of west-end Toronto and Etobicoke.
This week Ms. Battle recently listed a 4,500-square-foot house backing onto a ravine at 17 The Kingsway with an asking price of $8.5-million. While houses selling in that price range are rare in the west end, she says many move-up buyers are looking for lots of indoor and outdoor space to roam.
Ms. Battle points to one house on Baby Point Crescent in Toronto’s west as an example. The property received five offers and sold above the $6-million mark last week after it was listed with an asking price of $5.995-million.
Low interest rates are encouraging buyers with means to move up the property ladder, she says.
“Money is cheap.”
The listings drought is putting pressure on buyers to compete for the few properties that do become available.
“I don’t think there’s been a lot of inventory anywhere in the west end. That’s what is keeping our prices sky-high.”
Many buyers are seeking larger backyards and extra bedrooms that can be turned into offices.
In the past, homes in the west end selling above $4-million tended to be those rare properties backing onto a ravine or a golf course in pockets such as the Kingsway, Baby Point, Riverside Drive and Edenbridge, she says.
Now, some of the interior streets in the Kingsway enclave are selling north of the $4-million mark. The properties that have changed hands in that price range are newly-built houses on sought-after streets such as Queen Mary’s Drive and Wendover Road, she says.
Ms. Battle says competition is intense in every price range and segment. Many agents use the tactic of setting prices far below market value in order to spark competition, she says, and that can be unnerving for buyers when they need to pay hundreds of thousands more than the list price.
She recently worked with buyers who submitted one of 13 bids for a house on Wilgar Road, near Royal York Road and Bloor Street West.
The clients surpassed the other bidders with their offer of $2.34-million, or $541,000 above the asking price of $1.799-million.
Ms. Battle says the client questioned why he needed to pay a $500,000 premium and she advised him that the market value of the house was closer to $2.2-million. In that light, the premium was closer to $100,000.
“They’re going for massive competition,” she says of the sellers’ agents. “That is the game. The challenge for agents right now is explaining value to their clients.”
Bank of Nova Scotia economist Farah Omran says the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association show that the stronger-than-expected trend in the Canadian housing market witnessed over the course of 2020 is continuing into 2021.
CREA reported that sales in Canada jumped 39 per cent in February compared with the same month last year. The national average sale price rose 25 per cent last month compared with February, 2020.
Ms. Omran notes that listings rose in February from January but, in many areas, any new listings are absorbed immediately.
At the current rate of sales activity, national inventories would be liquidated in 1.8 months. Ontario has less than one month of inventory, she adds.



Buyers growing shy in heated Toronto market!

The Globe and Mail
November 4, 2021 , Carolyn Ireland.

219 Milverton Blvd.

ROYAL LEPAGE REAL ESTATE SERVICES LTD.


People clamouring for space are pushing prices higher in the Toronto-area real estate market as buyers compete for properties.

But some buyers are becoming wary of the bidding wars that have propelled prices to new records in the Greater Toronto Area.

Leslie Battle, an agent with Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., recently sold a three-bedroom house in the city’s east end for $1,310,786 after listing it with an asking price of $1.089-million.

The semi-detached house at 219 Milverton Blvd. had 51 parties swarming through in the five days it was on the market and six bidders entered the fray.

Still, Ms. Battle was surprised at the number of potential buyers who decided against making an offer.

She fielded several calls from agents representing buyers who loved the property but didn’t want to compete, she says.

“I’m sensing a little bit of a pullback with buyers,” Ms. Battle says. “I think it’s the thin edge of the wedge that we’re going to see a little bit more of.”

Ms. Battle calls the segment between $900,000 and $1.4-million “the price range that does not sleep” in single-family dwellings, but she adds that lots of pent-up demand from buyers was satisfied over the summer when the market came out of the spring lockdown.

This semi-detached house had 51 parties swarming through in the five days it was on the market.

ROYAL LEPAGE REAL ESTATE SERVICES LTD.

Now real estate values are disconnected from the realities of an economic recession and decreased immigration, in her opinion.

She believes consumers are more fearful that the single-family home market is becoming overheated – especially as COVID-19 case counts rise and some of the financial support from governments and lenders has been phased out.

“We may see some fall-out from people who are forced to sell,” she says.

Some of the homeowners who were able to defer mortgage payments for a time may find they can no longer afford their properties, she says.

Ms. Battle expects the changing dynamics will cause that rapid price growth for detached and semi-detached homes to level off in the coming months.

More supply might become available as research shows relationship break-ups are on the rise during the pandemic, she says, and many people close to retirement are accelerating their plans to move out of town.

Countering that is a tendency for older homeowners to delay their plans to move into retirement homes during the pandemic, she says. In recent months, she has had three potential clients who decided to keep their houses and pay for home care instead, she says.

Over all, she doesn’t see the kind of economic strength necessary to fuel the market to greater heights in early 2021, but she notes that the market this year has been much stronger than industry watchers predicted.

Real estate agent Andre Kutyan of Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. has noticed fewer buyers coming out for showings recently. But move-up buyers are still willing to compete for houses at the high end of the market.

“The people who are coming out are serious.”

Mr. Kutyan says the number of new listings has slowed in the second half of November as buyers and sellers grapple with navigating life during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the upscale neighbourhood of Lawrence Park, Mr. Kutyan recently represented move-up buyers whose child goes to school in the area.

The couple looked at half a dozen houses before a four-bedroom home arrived on the market with an asking price of $6.995-million.

“Of course when we put an offer in, another offer came in,” says Mr. Kutyan, who adds that buyers often wait on the sidelines hoping they won’t have to compete.

Mr. Kutyan’s clients sweetened their offer and purchased the newly built house at 1 Cheltenham Ave. for $7.1-million.

Even at that, he figures the buyers struck a good deal because the house has such luxurious features as seven bathrooms, a library and a home gym, and sits on a large lot in a neighbourhood where building lots sell for millions of dollars.

“I cannot replace that house between land and construction,” he says of the costs of building new.

THE PRINT MARKET

The downtown condo market may be flooded with listings, but in neighbourhoods such as Rosedale, Lawrence Park and Forest Hill, very little comes up for sale.

“What’s driving the market is the lack of inventory,” he says.

In the family-friendly, midtown neighbourhood of Cedarvale, Mr. Kutyan listed a four-bedroom house for sale with an asking price of $3.695-million.

“We priced the home right on the money,” he says, because the owners did not want the property to languish.

Mr. Kutyan put the word out among his contacts that the house at 33 Heathdale Rd. was being polished and fluffed before it arrived the market. A sign in front said “coming soon.”

Nine potential buyers toured the home on a recent Sunday before he launched the property on the Multiple Listing Service of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board the following day.

“By Monday evening I had four offers,” he says.

The house sold for $3.855-million.

“Three people didn’t buy the home and another five didn’t offer,” he says, in pointing out that eight interested parties are still looking in that price range.

“The next one that comes up, you’re going to see a line-up again.”

The agent also has clients who have moved from central Toronto to Markham, Ont. to be closer to family. Another couple is moving north to Rice Lake and another pair of empty nesters is looking to trade their large house in Toronto for an equally spacious property closer to their sailboat in Mississauga.

“It’s definitely a lifestyle change,” Mr. Kutyan says.

Priscilla Thiagamoorthy, economist at Bank of Montreal, says she is keeping an eye on the condo segment of the market and the impact a slowdown there might have on housing starts.

Ms. Thiagamoorthy says millennials and international migrants have been purchasing high-rise condo units for the past decade, fueling new construction.

But now, with immigration flows slowing and a shift in preferences for larger, suburban homes, Canada’s big cities could see a slowdown in condo construction, she says.

Still, demand for single-family dwellings, supported by low interest rates and teleworkers, will still keep the housing market resilient over all, she predicts.

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Header. Blood bath on Palmerston. 

The Globe and Mail
March 22, 2018 , Carolyn Ireland 


Palmerston home buyer disparaged for paying $600,000 over asking
Agent says naysayers fail to factor in the emotional draw a property can have. 

Some market watcher labelled the sale of this home, at 822 Palmerston Ave., a ‘blood bath.

UPDATED MARCH 22, 2018 MARCH 22, 201
IIn early 2018, the Toronto-area real estate market has become a far more genteel place than it was at this time last year. Sellers no longer have an iron grip on desperate buyers and negotiations between the two sides are common.

But that doesn't mean that some eye-popping sales aren't still happening. Competition is still fierce for singular properties.

One sale last week was labelled a "blood bath" by some market watchers, who were merciless in their deprecation of a buyer who paid $600,000 above the asking price for 822 Palmerston Ave. in the city's west end.

Leslie Battle of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., who represented the buyer, finds the comments vexing. "Everybody has different motivations and it's not always money," she says.

The detached, two-storey house near Bathurst and Dupont streets was listed with an asking price of $1.822-million. After a week of showings and buzzing open houses that included a food truck parked at the curb, 13 bidders put offers on the table.


‘Everybody has different motivations and it’s not always money,’ agent Leslie Battle says of her client’s decision to make an offer of $2.417-million.

When the top three were invited back for a second round. Ms. Battle asked her client what she would like to do. "I want the property – go do what it takes," the buyer told her. At the end of the night, the sellers accepted her offer for $2.417-million.

What the naysayers fail to factor in, Ms. Battle says, is the huge emotional draw of a particular property.

In this case, the buyer is downsizing and wanted to return to the Seaton Village neighbourhood where she raised her kids and still has friends. She also loved the home's interior, which had been renovated without removing all of the charm and quirkiness, Ms. Battle says.

She says they arrived at the final price by looking at such factors as the number of bidders and the current low inventory. The only other nearby detached that sold in the past year went for more than $2.7-million.

The house, with three-plus-two bedrooms, includes a separate suite above the double garage. That suite could provide the potential for rental income if the owner wants to apply for a permit in the future, she points out. "That's often the case with buyers, they're buying a little bit of history. 



The house has a separate suite above the double garage. 

Ms. Battle adds that since her client had sold another house, she has much more flexibility in deciding how much to pay than someone relying on debt. She says it's much tougher for first-time buyers or others without a lot of equity.

One aspect that seemed to bring out snark in the comments was the food truck serving up mac and cheese and other comfort foods. But Ms. Battle says that attraction did nothing to sway her client. "I don't care if she has five food trucks and Santa on the roof. We can't pull offers out of thin air."

Alex Brott of Sage Real Estate Ltd. represented the sellers. The food truck was her idea. She says the Palmerston house was the ideal location because she could have the truck parked in front of the driveway without taking away parking from neighbours who park on the street.

"It was a ton of fun," she says. "I think it made the people who came back for their second visit or their third visit stay a bit."

Ms. Brott says she set the asking price for 822 Palmerston slightly below her estimate for market value. She wanted to draw a large number of house hunters without making the list price insanely low.

"The market will dictate what's it's worth," she says. "What I didn't know was that it was everyone's favourite house in the neighbourhood."

Ms. Brott says there were some low-ball bids in the first round and the others were spread across a range, but the top two bids were very close at the end. "The person who won the deal won by a painfully small margin."

In addition to practical matters such as the parking, Ms. Brott says potential buyers appreciated the character in such elements as the arches and curves of the plaster walls. A wide front porch faces Vermont Square Park across the street. "The emotion that that house brought out was fascinating. It had such a warm vibe. It was unusual. But not the unusual you want to back away from."

Many agents are anxious to see if listings will become more plentiful after the Easter and Passover holidays. Ms. Brott says demand is high – particularly among move-up buyers.



Alex Brott, who represented the sellers, says potential buyers appreciated the character in such elements as the arches and curves of the plaster walls. 

Listings are relatively tight, however, and sales in the Greater Toronto Area in February plummeted 35 per cent from the same month last year. Many are predicting that March sales will also come in far below March of 2017.

David Madani, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, warns that he sees signs of a national house price correction. He believes the country may face a debt-driven deleveraging process this year. He calculates that the seasonally adjusted household debt-to-income ratio stood at 170 per cent in the fourth quarter, down from what was probably the peak at 170.2 in the second quarter of 2017.

The economist says that heavily-indebted households found out last year that a modest rise in interest rates can lead to significantly higher debt servicing costs.

His bigger concern is that these large debts may have been used to finance speculation in real estate and bid home values up to what he considers ridiculously high levels.

"Although household assets have risen in value faster than debt, they are highly variable, whereas debts are fixed," he points out.

Ms. Battle says the current fervour in downtown Toronto neighbourhoods is partly driven by the lack of listings. Sales in areas farther out of the core are moving more slowly. But while year-over-year February sales fell in the GTA, early 2017 was a phenomenon, she says. "Our previous February was off the charts. That was an anomaly."

Ms. Battle has participated in six offers in the past 10 days, in price segments ranging from $600,000 to $2.4-million. All six have sold in competition, she says. It's particularly difficult for people trying to enter the market.

She senses that a lot of sellers are hesitant to list because they are waiting to see how this market shakes out.

As such, market conditions remain difficult for buyers who want to get into prime pockets, she says. "As far as first-time buyers go, it's a miracle they hang in sometimes."

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@CAROLYNIRELAND


 

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