Let’s talk some more about floor plan designs and the economic constraints that form part of the decision making process. There continues to be a narrative out there that for-profit developers only want to construct small apartments (a form of social engineering perhaps) and that they aren’t focused on livability. So let’s dig into some of the constraints.
Consider that the average price of a new construction condominium in downtown Toronto last quarter (Q1 2021) was $1,419 per square foot. And I bet that this number has already increased. Now consider that, in the City of Toronto, the “growing up guidelines” suggest that an ideal family-sized three bedroom suite should be around 1,140 square feet.
When you multiply these two numbers together, you get an “ideal” three bedroom suite that costs just over $1.6 million. Of course, this is without parking. So if you want downtown parking, add another $100-200k (which, at this price point, is still almost certainly going to be a loss leader for the developer).
All of a sudden, you’ve now got a $1.7 – 1.8 million residence. This will work in some submarkets and in some locations, but certainly not all.
So what happens is that the end price becomes a constraint. And in order to make the suite more affordable, the developer will naturally look for ways to make it smaller. Turn this into a 900 square foot three bedroom and all of a sudden you shave off over $300k from the price.
The point I am hoping to make is that developers generally aspire to respond to what the (sub)market wants. If the (sub)market wants a certain price point, developers will try and meet that need. If the (sub)market wants massive apartments, developers will gladly deliver. (We’re working on combining some supremely awesome suites at this very moment in fact.)