The Globe and Mail published this headline today: “Developers building more small condos, despite people clamoring for more space.” It’s behind a paywall and so some of you may not have read it. But the data looks something like this. Of all the new condo project launches that happened this year in Toronto, studios and one-bedroom suites accounted for 61% of all new inventory, according to Urbanation. This is a higher percentage than what the market saw in 2019 and 2018, and this is despite the fact that many/most people are still working from home and would probably appreciate a bit more space.
The short answer as to why this is happening is affordability. For years I have been clamoring for a dual aspect oceanfront penthouse on Miami Beach, but that time hasn’t come for me yet. Things cost money. And the downward pressure on unit sizes is a direct result of developers trying to ensure that their inventory is within the reach reach of buyers (there’s a sweet spot somewhere in the range of $500-700k right now). Developers are heavily incentivized to build what sells and rents, both quickly and at the highest price. That tends to be smaller units, especially early on.
Where this goes in the future is anybody’s guess. But with the dramatic price increases that we have seen on the low-rise side of the market, I suspect that we’ll see a subsequent surge in demand for condos — maybe even larger condos.