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As seen in the Globe and Mail, February 22, 2023:

Toronto-area real estate buyers who sat out the fall market are suddenly back and ready to compete.

Spirited bidding is common for properties around the $1-million mark, which is typically the entry point for a single-family home. In that range, agents are regularly reporting sales with 10 to 20 offers.

To drum up that many bids, agents are listing with an eye-catching asking price, then setting a date for reviewing offers.

In Scarborough, the three-bedroom detached house at 17 Sandyhook Square was listed with an asking price of $899,000 and sold for $1.038-million with 16 offers.

At 58 Antique Dr. in Richmond Hill, Ont., a three-bedroom detached house was listed with an asking price of $1,299,900 and sold for $1,487,500 with 10 offers.

Tyler DeClute, a real estate agent with DeClute Real Estate Union Realty, says most of the competition is taking place in the segment between $999,000 and $1.3-million.

But even with multiple bids, the action is not approaching the frenzy at this time last year.

“We’re not seeing crazy prices out of it – they are fairly reasonable in their offers.”

Mr. DeClute recently represented buyers who were outbid for a three-bedroom semi-detached house near the intersection of Danforth and Pape when 24 bidders came to the table.

The house at 50 Dewhurst Blvd. was listed with an asking price of $995,000 and sold for $1,455,055.

Mr. DeClute’s says buyers are becoming accustomed to the current conditions, and fixed-term mortgage rates have come down a little bit recently. Sellers are also more realistic in the prices they are willing to accept, he adds.

Back in October, agents weren’t setting offer dates because sellers and buyers remained in a stalemate, Mr. DeClute notes. But in February, setting a lower asking price is bringing more attention to the listing.

“You’re trying to get boots in the door.”

Still, even with the spurt of activity, many people are still cautious he adds.

“Some buyers need a stronger sign that we’ve hit the bottom.”

Mr. DeClute adds that many deals come with conditions in the current environment.

He recently represented buyers who purchased a house in the Beaches neighbourhood in mid-January and made the offer conditional on the sale of their existing four-bedroom house at 56 Fernwood Park Ave.

The agreement gave Mr. DeClute’s clients 40 days to sell their home, so they renovated a bathroom and had some rooms painted.

Last year at this time, Mr. DeClute estimated the value of the semi-detached house at $2.1-million. But with softer prices in the area this February, he set an asking price of $1,799,900 and an offer date.

The sellers received one offer and the house sold for $1.86-million.

If the homeowners did not receive an acceptable offer, they could have backed out of the purchase of the other home, Mr. DeClute says.

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