As the population of the City of Toronto grows, more people than ever are looking for a place to stay in the city. Data from Statistics Canada and Royal LePage indicate that in recent years, the square footage of Toronto condos has been shrinking at an arming rate.
Meanwhile, the median price per square foot of Toronto condos is up. So a shrinking in size doesn’t necessarily mean prices are getting more affordable either.
Toronto condos smaller than 90s peak, continuing to shrink
According to Statistics Canada, the square footage of Toronto condos reached a peak sometime in the early 1990s.
From the 1990s until 2017, the median square footage of Toronto condos shrunk by almost 40%. Between 2015 and 2017 alone, the median size of condo units in Toronto fell from 681 square foot to 647 square feet, a decrease of about 5%.
Compare this to the average size of single-family detached homes in Toronto, which actually increased over the same period. The median price per square foot of single family detached homes also remained more or less stable over the same period, while median price per square foot in condos grew rapidly.
Though houses are broadly more expensive, they also offer a larger living area and more space for families. However, detached homes are not popular as entry level properties as first-time home buyers find it far easier to pay condo prices.
In comparison, Toronto condos are shrinking faster than those in other cities like Vancouver. Compare this to the notoriously small condos of the greater Vancouver area, which only saw a 16% in size reduction over the same period from 1990-2017.
Price per square foot growth in condo units outpaces reduction in size over the same period
Another important statistic when considering the size of Toronto condos is the price per square foot. While Toronto condos have been shrinking, the median price per square foot has increased.
According to Royal LePage the median price per square foot of a Toronto condo was $743 in 2019. The average in 2021 has already risen to over $900 per square foot, with over $1000 per square foot becoming the new norm in some areas.
Assuming two condos of the same price, one smaller and one larger, the smaller one will obviously cost more per square foot. This means that if the average price stays the same, price per square foot may increase a small amount in proportion to the decrease in size. This is not the case however.
A condo built in those same years from 2015- 2017 not only saw a decrease in size by 8%, but also an increase of price per square foot of more than 55%. Condo apartments are getting smaller while at the same time, we are paying more for a smaller living area.
Condo apartments more popular than ever
One final fact to consider is the state of the condo market generally. Despite shrinking condos and inflating prices, the volume of actual sales has increased. Even with a higher price per square foot and smaller unit size, investors are still eager to get in the Toronto real estate market with a condo.
Factors pushing sizes down, prices up
Other factors could be behind this change as well. For example, condos apartments were once seen as substitutes for a family home and were built large with multiple bedrooms. This attitude has changed. Now smaller property types such as single bedroom condo units are far more popular.
In addition, Toronto is more densely populated than ever, and the areas where most condominium developments are located can’t get any bigger. There are two solutions to create higher supply in a limited space. One is to build upwards, which Toronto has been doing for decades now. The other is to increase density. This means more densely populated buildings, which in turn means smaller units but higher supply.
How Toronto condo apartments compare across the country
Condo prices in Canada’s densely populated and largest cities, are among the highest in the country, however, condo prices vary greatly between cities.
Compared to Vancouver, one of Canada’s most expensive real estate markets, Toronto looks even worse off in the condo market. The average condo in Vancouver is now not only bigger, but also goes for less per square foot.
Similarly, in Ottawa prices and sizes are much more favourable than Toronto, even despite supply issues.
Average Condo sizes and prices
We’ve compiled recent data on average price, price per square foot, and average square footage, to help you understand what you can expect when looking for condo apartments in the city of Toronto.
Values are based on an average across the whole city of Toronto, so actual prices may vary between neighbourhoods For example, downtown Toronto is the most expensive, while condo apartments in areas like North York or Scarborough will get you more value for your money.
This data also does not include the Greater Toronto Area, which will also vary greatly depending on location. Finally, statistics on real estate are hard to find and change rapidly, while this picture is mostly accurate for now, just remember that prices are subject to change.