I had a listing this past week that has just sold in the Caledonia-Fairbanks area. It's between St. Clair and Eglinton, west of Dufferin. For those who are familiar with Toronto real estate, it feels like a throw-back to three to five years ago when first time buyer could still afford a house in the city of Toronto for under $600K, and even $500K, in some cases. My client bought the property in 2012. At the time, first time buyers were heating up neighbourhoods like Mimico and the Junction Triangle that were still affordable for those with a house budget under $600K.
My client did not have that kind of money at the time, and I needed to convince her that she may need to try out a neighbourhood that is a little off the radar, but whose population largely take care of their homes, and still has easy access to public transit and highways like Caledonia-Fairbanks. Now, the winds have changed some, and those emerging neighbourhoods that were once off the radar are heating up.
When the property was purchased in 2012, I told my client it was the early years of this West End neighbourhood. It was mostly working class Portuguese families. You may feel like a bit of an outsider, if you were not one of them. At the time, this home had been somewhat renovated with new stainless steel appliances and granite counters. New wood floor and an amazing garage. The house was on the market for months with several reductions. In my opinion, the house was poorly marketed and may have suffered from attracting serious buyers because it did not show well and did not reach the intended buyer. Not a lot of effort was put in to the sale of the house back then. That's why we were able to buy for under $400K in 2012 dollars.
Of course, when my buyer moved in, there were some further improvements made, and the house was generally cared for. So, it looked lived in and like someone took pride in their home. I think it makes a difference to buyers to come in and see that real human beings live in this place, though I do stress the importance of staging. Real human beings and staging is a good combo. This week, in 2015, we sold it for over asking the asking price of $489,000 in a week.
I could brag here about my excellent marketing strategy and staging prowess, but I do have to give some credit to the neighbourhood itself. It is slowly being discovered, and the first-time buyers have given up on many of the previous emerging neighbourhoods of the past, that are rising too high in price, and are coming here. It has all the qualities of a successful emerging neighbourhood. The adjacent neighbourhoods, the Junction Triangle to the south and Oakwood to the east are becoming too expensive for many first time buyers. It's also becoming a more desirable neighbourhood because of the Eglinton Crossway currently under construction. The Eglinton Crossway will make this neighbourhood much more accessible to downtown and the Yonge Line.
Some of the buyers can see the future potential and are making their move now. The other factor that is attracting buyers has to do with the neighbourhood diversifying. There is still a strong Portuguese presence here, which comes with the benefits of some delicious Portuguese desserts along St. Clair and Rogers Road, but the people coming through the open house were from all walks of life. They are, however, comprised mostly of couples and individuals who have been renting closer to Bloor and downtown but are buying up here where it is somewhat affordable to buy a house. Yes, it's not Little Italy or even Little Portugal, but Caledonia-Fairbanks is a more affordable area to buy a house than most Toronto neighbourhoods. First-time buyers, take note. The timing here is good.