Real estate: What $500K buys across Canada

Apparently you may be able to get real house for that kind of money if you have “insider contacts” in City of Toronto ?

More city homes go up for sale, but you wouldn’t know it

For sale signs, even MLS photos go missing on four latest offerings

This week, four more Toronto Community Housing Corporation properties were put up for sale. But most people would be hard-pressed to know that.

1318 Gerrard Street East
E01 – Greenwood-Coxwell

For Sale $295,000

Contractor/Renovator prospect! This brick semi detached home is a fixer upper opportunity to create a charming house for your family or to create promising resale value. Deep fenced in sloped backyard. Located close to Greenwood park and just steps away from the ttc and restaurants on Gerrard street.

By week’s end, not one of the houses had a For Sale sign out front. There were no virtual tours to be watched online.

The MLS listings — the most basic tool in every realtor’s property marketing arsenal — didn’t even feature exterior photos, let alone a peek inside each of these homes which may not be for the faint of heart, but are in some of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the city, Riverdale and Leslieville.

Photo Not Available, all four MLS listings said above a list of room measurements.

The realtor charged with selling the four semi-detached houses — his brokerage has been allocated a total of 17 by the cash-strapped TCHC — didn’t return calls and emails from The Star.

One of the homes, which the MLS listing touts as an “excellent location in demand Riverdale” makes no mention that the house, with its deep backyard, is close to Withrow Avenue Junior Public School, just steps from transit and a short stroll to the Danforth and one of the best views of the downtown skyline from Broadview Ave.

Earlier this month, the TCHC halted the sale of one of the most valuable of the 123 houses it plans to sell off to help finance a $2.6 billion backlog of repairs in assisted housing complexes over the next decade — a $1.375 million Beach duplex that drew three offers before it was disclosed that the property is zoned for parkland.

The upcoming sale of yet more TCHC properties has got some realtors questioning if the housing company is now more focused on simply cutting the costs of sales effort rather than ensuring the houses are marketed to get the most money possible.

“I’m frustrated, both as a realtor and a taxpaying Torontonian, that these properties are not being effectively marketed and presented in the manner in which they should be to maximize value,” says David Fleming, who recently raised the issue in a lengthy blog post.

Some 30 TCHC properties will be listed over the next few weeks by realtors offering deeply discounted commissions or flat fees rumoured to be as little as $1,000 to $5,000 per property.

At the same time, the TCHC has issued a new request for proposals looking for realtors to sell the next batch of 42 houses.

TCHC spokesperson Sara Goldvine declined to discuss any details of confidential sales agreements with realtors, other than to stress that experience and understanding of the local market are the top priority and that sales have exceeded expectations so far.

“All of the homes that have been sold so far have been at or above the independent appraised value,” says Goldvine. “From our perspective, that’s good value for the taxpayer. We’re generating much-needed dollars for capital repairs.”

Veteran realtors Leonard Fridman and Matt Elkind have taken a completely different tact.

The pair have been commissioned by the TCHC to sell 46 houses — an usually large allocation to one company that has been, in the words of one realtor, a “game changer” in the TCHC sales efforts from previous efforts when properties were divvied up in groups of five or ten.

But it’s those very economies of scale that have been critical to their success so far, says Fridman and Elkin. They were able to create a slick website to promote the 46 unique properties and even launched “Coming Soon” signs that they stake out front in the weeks they are getting the homes ready, at a staggered pace so they don’t flood the market, for showings.

“A For Sale sign works harder than any real estate agent,” says Fridman, a long-time realtor, investor and renovator.

“It’s out there 24 hours a day and it doesn’t need to eat or sleep.”

This weekend the pair will hold an open house at what has to be one of the tiniest — and low-priced — semi-detached three-bedroom houses in the City of Toronto.

The dilapidated TCHC home at 1318 Gerrard St. E. in the Greenwood/Coxwell area, overlooks the streetcar tracks. It is listed at just $295,000.

Like all the 25 TCHC properties Fridman and Elkind have sold so far, some for up to 126 per cent of asking price, this one is expected to result in multiple bids. Under TCHC rules, they are irrevocable for five days and supposed to go directly to the housing provider in sealed envelopes for consideration.

The Gerrard semi will likely be snapped up by a buyer, probably a renovator, also represented by the pair, as have more than 50 per cent of the TCHC properties Fridman and Elkind have sold so far, a practice known as “double ending a deal.”

They say that’s because they are aggressive at following up with open house visitors, and have a stable of buyers and renovators who closely watch what they have to offer.

In at least one case, they took it one step further, selling a rundown TCHC house on Ivy Ave. for $550,000 last June — $31,000 over the list price — to a renovator/designer who turned it into a chic, upscale showpiece that Fridman recently listed for $899,000 and sold for $959,000.

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Real estate: What $500K buys across Canada

In late December 2013, the Canadian Real Estate Association predicted that the national average price for a home will be $391,000 this year. But it’s hard to compare how far your buck will go in Canadian cities using that figure, since the average prices at year’s end are so very different: $785,574 in Vancouver and $320,693 in Montreal, for instance. So we’ve found a round figure in the middle and asked, what could approximately $500,000 have bought homebuyers in various markets across the country in January?

In Canada’s housing market here’s what $500 K buys: A lake in Edmonton … a condo in Toronto

From four bedrooms in Windsor to one-bedroom in Vancouver, how far $500,000 in Canada's diverse housing market goes depends entirely on where you want to live.

From four bedrooms in Windsor to one-bedroom in Vancouver, how far $500,000 in Canada’s diverse housing market goes depends entirely on where you want to live.


Shaughn Butts/Edmonton Journal

$499,900 in Edmonton will get you two-and-a-half storey, three-bedroom show home, with double detached garage and 2.5 baths.

The place: Two-and-a-half storey, three-bedroom show home, with double detached garage and 2.5 baths

List price: $499,900

Square footage: 1,901

Taxes: $3,400

Monthly fees: HOA $300/month

Where: Late stage of an established development in city’s southeast, south of the ring road. Forty minutes to downtown, 10 minutes to the airport, and five minutes to a residents-only recreational lake.

Top features: Loft-den, bonus room with Juliet balcony, hardwood, gas fireplace, all appliances, deck and landscaping included. As a bonus, all the furnishings are included. HOA fee includes access to a 32-acre freshwater lake with sandy beach, dock, tennis courts and all-season clubhouse.



HandoutThis four-bedroom bungalow in a western suburb of Montreal comes with a salt-water pool.

The place: Four-bedroom bungalow with two baths, built in 1959

List price: $492,500

Square footage: 1,442

Where: The Beaurepaire area of Beaconsfield, a western suburb of Montreal. Not far from Lac St. Louis and a commuter train station.

Top features: Comfortable bright living room with wood fireplace opening to dining area. Fully renovated three years ago, with spacious and modern kitchen with granite counter tops. Unique south-facing den adjacent to master bedroom. Fenced yard with new salt-water pool on a lot of 9,122 square feet. Extra-large basement family room with fourth bedroom, laundry room and workshop.

Taxes: $4,746

Monthly Fees: N/A



In the east-end suburb of Orleans, separated by a 20- to 25-minute highway drive from downtown Ottawa.

The place: Two-storey single family home with four bedrooms and four bathrooms

List price: $499,900

Square footage: 3,200

Where: In the east-end suburb of Orleans, separated by a 20- to 25-minute highway drive from downtown Ottawa. This home is a short walk to shopping, cafés, parks, schools and public transit.

Top features: Classic crown moulding and gleaming hardwood floors run throughout the main level of this Naismith model by Minto. The kitchen is open to the family room to allow ease of flow when guests come to visit. An elegant curved hardwood staircase leads to the upper landing. Homeowners can spread out with two spacious ensuite bathrooms and three walk-in closets. The backyard is fully fenced with no rear neighbours.

Taxes: $4,879

Monthly Fees: N/A



This two-storey split in Regina has13 rooms, including three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

The place: A two-storey split with 13 rooms, including three bedrooms and three bathrooms

List price: $519,900

Square footage: 2,090

Where: Situated in a well-established, well-treed neighbourhood in southeast Regina, close to schools, parks and shopping. Only a few minutes drive from downtown. Backing green space.

Top features: A spacious family home, built in 1984, featuring many updates and upgrades, including a modern, eat-in kitchen with granite countertops, and heated slate flooring through the kitchen, dining area and hallway. A garden door leads to the deck overlooking a beautifully landscaped yard with patio, pond and flower beds. The over-sized garage is insulated and drywalled.

Taxes: $3,263

Monthly Fees: N/A


Former show home with all the bells and whistles: hardwood floors, kitchen island and walk-in pantry, central air, central vac, four bathrooms and a fully finished basement.


The place: Two-storey, four bedrooms, four bathrooms

List price: $504,900

Square footage: 3,975

Where: Premium Stonebridge location in the south end of the city. New development full of young families, close to shopping, parks and leisure facilities. Quick access to freeway means that downtown Saskatoon is only a short drive away.

Top features: Former show home with all the bells and whistles: hardwood floors, kitchen island and walk-in pantry, central air, central vac, four bathrooms and a fully finished basement. Open concept. Main-floor laundry.

Taxes: $3,975

Monthly Fees: N/A



For around $500,000 in Toronto you can get a two-bedroom townhouse and have to pay $503 per month in fees.

The place: Two-bedroom, two-storey loft townhouse with one bathroom and one parking space

List price: $489,900

Square footage: 806

Taxes: $2,802.21 in 2013

Monthly fee: Maintenance/HOA of $503 per month

Where: Excellent downtown-west location in the trendy Niagara neighbourhood, with transit, cafés and restaurants nearby. Walking distance to the 37-acre, uber-popular family- and pet-friendly Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Top features: Exposed concrete feature walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, custom kitchen, gas hookup for barbecue on its garden patio.

Faith Wilson Group

This one-bedroom condo at “The Grafton”, a heritage conversion building in Yaletown in Vancouver goes for $475,000.


The place: 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo in The Grafton

List price: $483,000

Square footage: 850

Where: Situated in a prime Yaletown neighbourhood in the heart of downtown, with trendy eateries, entertainment, sports venues and shopping on the doorstep, as well as the seawall and myriad transportation options.

Top features: A New York-style home that merges original heritage features — exposed brickwork and wood beams — with a modern open-concept interior. Features include hardwood floors, expansive windows and a functional floor plan, a gas fireplace, custom kitchen, master bedroom with walk-in closet, five-piece ensuite, storage locker and parking stall.

Taxes: $2,000

Monthly fees: $431 per month


Postmedia News

In Windsor you can get a four-bedroom, house with games room and office above garage, hardwood floors throughout, maple staircase and designer granite kitchen.

The place: Executive two-storey, four bedrooms, master ensuite bathroom, 2.5-car garage. Located in the suburb of Lakeshore

List price: $499,900

Square footage: 3,300

Taxes: $5,200

Where: Situated in a two-year-old subdivision, 20 minutes from downtown Windsor. Just minutes away from four golf courses and Lake St. Clair.

Top features: A games room and office above garage, hardwood floors throughout, maple staircase and designer granite kitchen, large fenced yard, covered porch and fenced, in-ground pool.

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