Building Magazine


Housing supply crisis in the Greater Toronto Area is getting worse: BILD


February was a record breaking month for new condo apartment sales in the GTA, while the number of new low-rise homes available to buy reached unprecedented levels of scarcity, says the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Across the entire GTA, there were only 1,001 new low-rise homes available in builder inventories at the end of February, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence.  A decade ago there were 17,304 of these homes which include single-detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes. 

“February data demonstrates, quite clearly, that our housing supply crisis in the GTA is getting worse,” says BILD President and CEO Bryan Tuckey.  “Our members are building to current provincial intensification policy and we are building less low-rise single-family housing and more high and mid-rise housing but consumer demand for low-rise homes has not dropped.

“Today in the GTA we have a scarcity of single-family ground-related housing that is not just unprecedented – it is almost inconceivable,” says Tuckey. “As a result we are seeing record breaking condo sales and continued price growth.” 

At the end of February, there were only 324 new detached homes available for purchase in builder inventories. In February 2007, there 12,064 such homes available to buyers.

February saw available new detached homes reach a new record average price of $1,469,449, while the average price for all single-family ground-related product, which also includes semi-detached and townhomes, climbed to a new high of $1,081,013.

According to Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s Executive Vice President of Research Consulting Services, the low inventory of available single family product is a key factor driving price increases and it is limiting choices for consumers.  

“If I were shopping for a single-family home ten years ago, I would have been able to choose from among 500 different sites and nearly 18,000 units,” she says.  “Today, there are less than 100 projects with any available units to purchase, totalling only about 1,000 units. And I would have to act very quickly to get one of those”.

In the GTA in February, there were more than twice as many new condo apartments sold than low-rise units. Altus Group recorded 3,542 sales of condo apartments in stacked townhouses and mid and high-rise buildings, and 1,541 sales of new detached and semi houses and low-rise townhomes. 

Condo apartment sales in February were up 79 per cent over the same period last year and more than double the ten-year average.  The month’s condo apartment sales were driven by continued strong sales in Toronto (1,661 units) and a significant increase in 905 sales, which included 105 unit sales in Durham, 107 in Halton, 370 in Peel and 1,299 in York.

Average prices for available new condo apartments in the GTA also set records in February. The average price of new condominium apartments in stacked townhouses and mid and high-rise buildings was $523,086, up from $507,511 in January. The average price per square foot reached an unprecedented $652, and the average unit size dropped to 802 square feet. 

Inventory level for condo apartments continued to drop in February and reached a new low of 10,342 units. 

“While the February results point to a trend decades in the making, the severity of the monthly figures, is jarring,” says Bryan Tuckey.  “As the current data demonstrates, legislative guidelines and planning policies have real impacts on real people.  With significant declines in builder inventory and record prices (for both low and high-rise homes), the GTA housing market is in crisis and it is time for governments to work with us to address the problems.” 

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