The story is one we’ve been hearing for a while. Supply is trending downward. It’s becoming harder to build. And prices are up. The average new detached house in this region is now C$1,230,961 and the average new condo is now C$493,137 (~$601 psf). Overall, average pricing is up 20% for low-rise houses and up 10% for condos, compared to this time last year.
One of the things that I find interesting about the data is how unit sizes have recently started trending upward on the high-rise (condo) side. Below is a chart from Altus Group that shows what I’m talking about. Look at the increase from the middle of 2015 to today. The average is now 820 sf, compared to what looks to be around 770 sf at its lowest point.
Now, there are a number of possible explanations for this. One is that boomers are starting to sell their houses and move into condos in larger numbers, and 500 sf just don’t do. The market is starting to cater to them. Another possible explanation is that low-rise pricing has become so out of reach for many people and families, that they are now looking to condos to fill that need.
I see both scenarios playing out in new projects today. But this second scenario, in particular, is one that I’ve been thinking about for a few years now. It’s less obvious than the boomer play. But I think of it as the market maturing. I like seeing families living right in the city and I am sure we will see more of that in the future.