It’s that time of year again when the market is so hot that I want to sell our house. Back when I was renting, my dad used to joke that I moved every time the light bulbs needed changing. So today, I thought I’d look back at all the places I’ve lived:
When I first moved to Toronto in 1996, I rented an apartment at Yonge/College. It was a tiny bachelor apartment and I remember my parents had to help me pay the $700 a month rent. Coming from sleepy Ottawa, it was so exciting to be living in the middle of everything.
I went from there to the upper floor of a house on Curzon street in Leslieville. Leslieville wasn’t cool yet, but I was living a 5-minute walk from my sister and loved it.
Next up: an apartment on Queens Quay. I loved being on the lake, but the wind in the winter was pretty brutal. I was paying $1200 a month and soon realized that a mortgage payment would be less than the rent I was paying. My dad sent me off to a first-time buyer seminar and with a $10,000 downpayment from my RRSP and a loan from my parents for the closing costs, I was ready to enter the real estate market. Interest rates were hovering around 7.5%.
801 King Street West – This was the first condo I ever bought, as a single 27-year old in 2000. It was 630 sqft and was part of what would soon be one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Toronto. At the time, the neighbourhood didn’t even have a name, and shops, restaurants and the Shoppers Drug mart were years away. I remember the day this part of King West got its first bar: The Foggy Dew, on the main level of my building. (In an ironic twist, I would much later meet my husband Brendan at The Foggy Dew).
I pulled up the listing from when I sold and was hoping to include photos of my horrible paint colour choices, but alas, it appears that my agent didn’t bother to include photos. I can’t believe I didn’t notice or care back in 2002!
Bought in 2000: $153,500
Sold in 2002: $184,900.
Worth today: over $300K.
208 Niagara Street – Moving into a townhouse seemed so very grown-up. I was still single and loved the idea of having a spare bedroom and a private roof-top terrace that was almost as big as my old condo. My parents were upset that I’d paid $315,500 for it: how could a townhouse EVER be worth that much? How would it ever possibly increase in value? This was a bad investment and I would lose money, they said.
I loved, loved, loved living in that townhouse. I only reason I sold it in 2008 was that I met a boy who liked to travel (Brendan, who would eventually become my husband and business partner). We decided to test our relationship by back-packing through South America for a year, and I couldn’t imagine dealing with a tenant while I was hang-gliding in Brazil.
Bought in 2002: $315,500
Sold in 2008: $453,000
Worth today: over $600K
65 Florence Street – When we returned from our adventure, Toronto was in the midst of a recession. Always thinking like real estate agents, we seized the opportunity to buy a renovated Victorian in Brockton Village for a bargain. It had been on the market a long time and all signs pointed to a long recession and price correction in the Toronto market. In the end, the recession lasted 6 months and the neighbourhood became one of the hottest spots to live, with prices increasing by more than 50% in 5 years.
Bought in 2009: $442,000
And so the question remains…will 2014 be the year I move again?
*want to see what happened? Check out the follow up blog here!