Many buyers, some fickle, some fast


Iconic 3 Kingsway Cresent sold!

Because of that long tenure, real estate agent Leslie Battle of Royal LePage Real Estate Ltd. described 3 Kingsway Cres. as “a rare opportunity” when she listed the five-bedroom house for sale in November.

“It’s a very iconic property,” Ms. Battle says of the circa-1930 mansion, which backs onto a ravine above the Humber River.

With so few homes on the market and heavy buyer demand, she decided to list the property with an asking price of $6.2-million – and set a date for reviewing offers. 
Iconic 3 Kingsway Cresent sold!

  Iconic 3 Kingsway Cresent sold!

The buyers paid full asking price and the house sold after nine days on the market.


She says the family understood that a builder might want to knock down the 90-year-old home but they are pleased that the new buyers plan to restore and renovate the fivebedroom house. Inside, the house has rich wood trim and panelled walls, a grand staircase and a glass conservatory in the garden.

The house has rich wood trim and panelled walls, a grand staircase and a glass conservatory in the garden.


“It’s a very fast and volatile market, and you’d better know what you’re doing,” she says. And while she does advise homeowners that the current low levels of inventory make this a very good time to sell, she doesn’t recommend listing a house that doesn’t show well. If the home is in need of repairs and cleaning, she works with the sellers to make sure it’s prepared.

“I would not throw a house on the market for the sake of it,” she says. “You only have one chance to hit a market.”

Agents need to know their market and their neighbourhood when selling a house.

Durham, east of Toronto, has been wildly popular in the past few years – but there, too, the market unpredictable. Sellers and their agents who set an asking price too high or use the wrong game plan will end up with a property that languishes. Buyers, meanwhile, will pay tremendous premiums for some houses. “There seems to be a lot more emotion in the purchase these days – it could be panic.” Mr. Lackie says he’ll see a handful of properties sell below the asking price or with conditions attached to the offer and he’ll think the market is settling down

“The art of negotiation has sadly gone out the back door through all of this,” he says. “Everybody keeps pushing the envelope.” Some properties sell for way more than expected and that keeps sellers’ expectations inflated, he says. Mr. Lackie points to the rural community of Little Britain, Ont., where a house on a one-acre lot was listed with an asking price of $579,000. “It had mould in the house, a leak in the basement – it was not well cared-for,” Mr. Lackie says. “They got $803,000 for it.” In another case, a beaten-up bungalow on the main thoroughfare in Port Perry, Ont., sold for $705,000 after it was listed with an asking price of $599,999. Mr. Lackie points to another deal where a house sold for $864,000 after the homeowner listed it with an asking price of $749,000 and held back offers for one week

The new buyers plan to restore and renovate the five-bedroom house. ROYAL LEPAGE REAL ESTATE SERVICES LTD. Soon after, a neighbour put his house on the market with an asking price of $849,000 and an offer date one week later. “This hit the saturation point,” Mr. Lackie says. “They didn’t get offers.” The seller reduced the asking price to $819,000 and ended up settling for about $800,000, Mr. Lackie says.

“These people are right to the wall with their mortgage.”

As prices climb, parents are increasingly helping their adult children to buy a first house or move up to a better one.

“The bank of mom and dad is probably the leading financial institution in the country right now.”

Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, is surprised to see the national market going haywire again as 2021 winds down.

“The housing market started slowing in April, and our assumption was that, with borrowing costs rising, there would be a further loss of momentum in the final stage of the year. Instead, the opposite has occurred.”

Canadian Real Estate Association data show sales rose 8.6 per cent in October from September, while the average price jumped 2.7 per cent in the same period. That appreciation is equal to an annualized rate of 37 per cent, he points out.

This will make the Bank of Canada concerned that the renewed rise in house prices is because of “extrapolative expectations” – with buyers assuming the market’s strong run will continue indefinitely, he adds.

Mr. Brown says the central bank may raise interest rates sooner than his forecast of a midJuly hike as a result, but he also estimates that the economic hit from the devastating floods in British Columbia will reduce the chances of the bank becoming more hawkish any time soon.

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