Are Toronto’s multiplying condos shrinking out families?
Artist impression: Majestic skyline of Toronto in 2020
Toronto’s got a problem. (Yes, it’s about municipal politics, but not what you think.) A lack of family-friendly condos are being built in Canada’s most populous city.
The new housing stock that is being constructed has shifted over the last decade from predominantly detached houses to condos. In 2005, about 35 per cent of the new units being built were condos. Now it’s about 60 per cent.
There are a number of reasons for this, including government policies that encourage downtown densification, and the greenbelt.
Economists continue to debate whether too many condos are going up. One of the arguments that condo developers make to defend the boom in supply is the notion that condos are slowly replacing detached homes as the new predominant form of housing, and that Toronto is on an extended path to becoming an urban centre like New York or London where families learn to live in less space.
But the vast majority of units that are being built here are studios, one-bedrooms, and one-bedroom-plus-dens. And they’re shrinking. The average size of a new condo is now 797 square feet, according to RealNet Canada Inc. Between 2005 and 2010 the average size tended to oscillate between about 875 and 925 square feet.
Families that want to live in houses in the city have been bidding prices up, causing a widening gap between the price of houses and those of condos, which have failed to keep pace.
Artist impression: Bird-eye view of typical Toronto condo in 2020
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