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When a 'six-figure' garage was offered for sale in Toronto

As the CBC's Lorne Matalon told viewers in August 1989, Toronto house prices were "pretty intimidating." But there was hope.

"We think we may have found one solution to Toronto's high cost of housing," he said, after viewers saw newspaper ads advertising houses for sale.

That solution was a place on a street in the city's east end: a 20-by-35-foot garage.

"A garage that has brought new meaning to the phrase 'affordable housing,'" said Matalon.

"Crazy ... but that's reality'

The selling price of $130,000 wasn't just for the garage. (In 2020 dollars, that price is equivalent to about $236,500.)

"This particular garage comes with plans for a one-and-a-half storey home," said Matalon. 

Real estate brokers David Dagenais and Desmond Brown highlighted potential adaptations for the garage, including replacing the metal garage door with a "huge bay window."

Matalon said the garage represented an opportunity "when it's hard to get a big bang for your Toronto housing buck."

"We probably are crazy, with what's happening in our marketplace," said Dagenais. "But that's reality."

'Trend-setting tract'

By spending another $70,000, said Matalon, a buyer could turn the garage into "rooms with a view."

"You could paint, like, a mountain scene on it," said Dagenais, indicating a fence opposite the garage. "Or maybe a lake, or a waterfall ... This could be like nature." 

Matalon acknowledged it was the land the garage sat on that was "likely to interest buyers," but Dagenais touted other potential in the "trend-setting tract of Toronto." 

"Over here you could put a nice skylight," he said, while standing on the garage's roof and envisioning a "master bath" with a Jacuzzi and sauna.

Matalon said nearby homeowners were "thrilled" there was a garage "in the six-figure range" on their street.

"The fact that the asking price for the garage is so much means that the value of their homes has already increased."


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