Canada's Condominium Magazine
At least one record was broken in Toronto in 2014: it was the year of the most condominium completions. According to George Carras of RealNet Canada, the previous record of 16,668 units completed in a year was broken by the end of October. At that time, 20,684 units had already been built, and more than a dozen more projects were scheduled for completion by year’s end. That would put the total number of new condos completed at about 25,000, Carras said in a Toronto Star article.
The record-breaking pace of condo construction is just the “new normal” in Toronto, Carras says, a continuing consequence of the provincial government’s land use policies that came into effect in 2005. The thrust of those policies is intensification, meaning that high-rise development is favoured over low-rise, and there is no end in sight. Carras, whose RealNet Canada provides housing market data for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), said that there are 219 condo projects currently in various stages of construction in Toronto, bringing an additional 52,732 new condo units into the market over the next four years. And lest anyone worry about the market’s ability to absorb all of those new condos, he points out that 86 per cent of them are already pre-sold.
One emerging trend in the booming condo market is a return to larger unit sizes. Tridel’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, Jim Ritchie, said recently that a desire for larger homes was the biggest change taking place in the Toronto condo market. Demand for larger units at Tridel’s Aqualina condominiums in the new waterfront neighbourhood of Bayside was strong. So strong, that the developer increased the number of larger units in its phase-two Bayside community, Aquavista (rendering at top of page). Almost one-fourth of the units in the new lakeside condo will be two bedrooms and larger, and they have been selling briskly, according to Ritchie, who says that the demand for bigger units is not confined to downtown.
Affordability remains a key driver in the condo market. In Toronto, the difference between the average price for a semi-detached home and the average price for a condo has doubled in just the past three years. Another factor is the demand for rental housing. According to the latest census data (2011), just over one in five of Toronto condo occupants are renters, not owners.