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Shrinking lot sizes and unit sizes

Shane Dingman’s recent piece in the Globe and Mail about shrinking lot sizes raises two interesting points.

One, new low-rise lot sizes seem to be shrinking and that’s probably a normal market outcome. Similar to the way in which average unit sizes have been generally coming down for mid-rise and high-rise product, it is a way to maintain some semblance of affordability in the face of ever-rising costs.

The average price of a new condo in the City of Toronto last quarter was nearly $1,300 psf. That means that if you had an average unit size of 1,000 square feet, you’d have an average selling price of $1.3 million (to state the obvious). Not everyone can afford this ticket price, and so there’s downward pressure on unit sizes in order to get the face prices down.

Two, developer margins aren’t increasing just because home prices have been going up. At best, they’ve remained constant (Shane provides a quantitative example in his article). But there are also many cases where margins are getting squeezed as a result of rising costs.

All of this to say that I think we can continue to expect downward pressure on lot sizes and unit sizes as the Toronto region continues to grow.

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