#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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Neighbourhood: Kensington — Chinatown
X-factor: This one-bedroom condo apartment at 60 St. Patrick St. is on a quiet street downtown, steps away from the Art Gallery of Ontario and Grange Park.
Accessing the heart of Chinatown to the west or Eaton Centre to the east will take less than 15 minutes on foot or by streetcar, and the St. Patrick subway station is just a five-minute walk away. Nearby, there are countless restaurants, cafes, shops and grocery options.
The building itself offers an outdoor pool, sauna and exercise room, according to the listing, and the condo fees are $600 per month.
According to realtor Othneil Litchmore, that’s not a bad price. What makes it even better is that, according to the listing, the fees also cover all the utilities and cable.
“That’s a really good thing,” Litchmore said, adding that kind of offer is typically only seen in older buildings.
Condo fees for a unit in a new building might cover only water, he explained.
Overall, the unit is listed for a “good price,” Litchmore said.
Why is it priced this way?
While Litchmore said the fees are at a good price right now, he pointed out that the building was built in 1979. Because it’s an older building, he said it’s important to note that “things could start going wrong,” which could result in the maintenance fees increasing over time.
Because of the age, it’s also possible that the unit “might need some updates,” he said. The parquet floors, for example, are “very outdated.”
With less than 600 square feet, the unit is “not very big” and does not include a parking spot,” Litchmore added.
“I would say that’s a disadvantage, although a lot of people living and working downtown don’t need a car,” he said. “If it had a parking spot, it would be selling for a lot more.”
One-bedroom condos of about the same size in the neighbourhood have been selling for about $450,000 since December, Litchmore said.
The average price of a condo in Toronto overall, however, was about $600,000 in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.
How much this condo will sell for is hard to tell, Litchmore said.
He pointed out that the owner is holding offers until March 7, which likely means the seller wants to start a bidding war to drive the price up. But in this market, it won’t necessarily work.
“This market is sort of strange right now,” he said. “The reality is that if the seller doesn’t get the price that they want, they could easily just cancel and repost it at the price that they want.”
It’s a phenomenon that’s been common across the GTA. In January, about 55 per cent of listings were terminated, according to HouseSigma, meaning they were suspended or cancelled, or failed to close. Other realtors have echoed Litchmore’s statement that the terminations are due to confusion around pricing and unrealistic expectations in a fluctuating market.
“Unlike maybe early last year and into 2021, where a number of offers and a number of interested parties would drive the price up naturally, in this market, you just never know.”
According to the listing history, the unit was last sold in 2016 for $287,000.
Any other tips for someone looking at places like this?
Those looking for a $400,000 condo downtown should know it’s “extremely rare” to find one at that price point, Litchmore said.
He added that those that are available for that price are usually in older buildings with higher condo fees.
With the costs considered, someone interested in that price may be better off renting or searching beyond the GTA, he said.
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