Another year has almost come and gone, and while no one could have predicted how 2020 was going to unfold, this unpredictable year has shown the true resilience of not only Canadians but of the housing market, too.

As Toronto marks nine months of the pandemic, the resiliency of the housing market in Canada's largest city has proven itself, particularly in the freehold market, where sales and prices have been on the rise since the early summer. And the trend has continued well into the fall, with total transactions up 16% in October, while average prices jumped up 10%.

In the lead up to the end of the year, real estate agent Doug Vukasovic has highlighted some of the most sought-after Toronto properties in 2020, each of which sold for more than 170% of its asking price -- indicating just how much homeowners are willing to spend to land their dream homes.

"These three homes attracted a lot of attention -- and became the city's biggest-selling properties from a-list-to-sale perspective," Vukasovic said in a recently released housing report.

On this list, you won't find multi-million dollar mansions decked out with enviable finishes and amenities, rather, it's made up of homes that are in dire need of some serious TLC. Ultimately, the list is comprised of homes in highly-sought after neighbourhoods that will most likely be gutted and renovated, if not torn down completely.

"The biggest factor for these homes selling for significantly more than the asking price is that they were listed well below market value to begin with," Vukasovic explained to Storeys.

"A common thread between these homes is that all were located in West Toronto in great established neighbourhoods and all required work. I’m not suggesting that any of these were deals obviously. Deals don’t really exist in the freehold segment, which continues to be a seller's market."

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Topping the list of the most sought-after listings in 2020 is a 3-storey, multi-unit row house at 1077 Queen Street West, that sold for a whopping 182% of its asking price. The selling point? The home's highly desirable Queen Street location. Standing more than a century old, Vukasovic says the home appears to have good bones, but it would be in need of a lot of updating.

sought-after listings 1077 Queen Street West/Zolo

"I don’t think this is an end-user (most don’t want to live on a main street) but rather an investor who is banking on the Toronto real estate market continuing to appreciate and owning a piece of it on one of the trendiest strips in the city. It’s really all about location here - especially from a commercial perspective."

"My guess is that the property was purchased by an investor -- who'll look to improve and then rent out the two upper-level suites, and turn the basement into an additional apartment," said Vukasovic.

Vukasovic said the main floor could also be converted into a commercial space -- though, the owner would have to apply for the appropriate zoning changes.

This home was listed for $1,099,000 and sold for $2,000,000 in February. 

sought-after listings 300 Euclid Avenue/Zolo

Next on the list is a detached, 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom bungalow at 300 Euclid Avenue, which was priced at $999,999 and ended up selling for 181% of its asking price. At first glance, the house appears to be a shed for the home next door, but the lot itself offers 2,600 sq. ft. and houses a two-car garage.

"This is the sort of sale that has given Toronto its reputation as one of North America's priciest real estate markets," said Vukasovic.

Vukasovic explained that he believes this is a sale where someone was looking to buy, knock-down and flip, or perhaps build themselves a brand new home.

"Detached homes in this area are more rare - representing only about 10% of the total sales in the last two years. If a builder is looking at getting creative they’ll have fewer building restrictions buying a detached home versus one that is attached," said Vukasovic.

Though detached properties in this pocket of Little Italy are selling in the $2.2 to $2.5 million range, paying $1.8 million for this four-room bungalow was hardly a steal.

"In fact, the buyer will probably spend an additional $1 million or more to tear it down and rebuild. The resulting new home will no doubt be valued in the millions, too, but it remains to be seen if the market will jump high enough to justify the significant initial outlay," added Vukasovic.

This home was listed for $999,999 and sold for $1,808,000 in July. 

sought-after listings 63 Constance Street/Zolo

The third property to make the list is a spacious 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom detached at 63 Constance Street that sold for 177% of its asking price.

According to Vukasovic, the property, which was listed for $1,298,000 received 37 offers when it hit the market back in January -- predicting that the market for detached homes was so "hot" that only a global pandemic could "temporarily dampen its growth."

"Like a number of Roncesvalles-area properties, this one has been divided into multiple apartments. It could, however, be converted back into an attractive single-family home," explained Vukasovic.

However, he says the new owners will have some work to do. For example, there's knob and tube wiring that must be removed. But other than that, Vukasovic says the property is "more or less" in liveable shape, adding that a relatively modest renovation would go a long way.

"High Park/Roncey continues to be one of the most desirable locations in the city based on its proximately to the largest park in Toronto and the vibrant commercial strip on Roncesvalles. An end-user likely saw the opportunity here of renovating the interior and making it their own versus buying a finished product in the area which will run you closer to $3 million."

This home was listed for $1,298,000 and sold for $2,300,000 in January.