You can’t buy what isn’t for sale. And when it comes to the new-home market, consumers can’t buy what builders aren’t allowed to build.
As a result of intensification policies put in place by the province nearly a decade ago, a new detached home — once the GTA’s most common form of new housing — is now in extremely short supply across the region.
Of all new home choices in the GTA today, 75 per cent are highrise condominiums, with most of the units (42 per cent) currently in projects that are in the pre-construction phase.
Ten years ago, a brand-new detached four-bedroom home on a 46-foot lot could be found in relative abundance across the GTA, and the price tag was under $400,000 — utterly unthinkable in today’s new-home market.
As I write this, there are only eight new subdivisions in the entire GTA that offer detached homes on 46-foot lots, and there are only 31 lots available as of this writing, with the average home price coming in at a whopping $929,423.
So if you’re seeking a new detached home, you’ll likely need to expand your search and start to consider not only the Greater Toronto Area, but also communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).
Consider how prices vary for the same home in three different markets across the GGH:
The Liberty is a four-bedroom home being offered by Empire Communities at their new community in Niagara Falls. The home is 2,828 square feet and situated on a 46-foot lot, and priced at $374,990 — a far cry from the $929,423 GTA average. But if you work downtown, it means a two-hour and 24-minute GO train commute to Union Station.
Empire Communities is offering that same home in another of its new subdivisions in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for $439,990. While the home is $65,000 more than in Niagara Falls, the location saves 30 minutes of commuting time each way to Union Station.
A similarly sized home that’s being built privately near Avenue Rd. and Lawrence Ave. in Toronto is only 20 minutes from Union Station by TTC, but it’s priced over $1.6 million.
Making the choice to purchase a new home involves weighing a multitude of options both personal and financial: Owning versus renting; form and size of home versus location (and the corresponding commuting time, proximity to family, and local community amenities); and, of course, price and affordability.
If you need help to better understand the market, it’s a good idea to consult a professional.
Members of the Toronto Real Estate Board are professionally equipped to provide you with assistance in looking for homes across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It’s their job to explain the realities of the new-home market, answer your questions. They can also provide valuable guidance if you’re looking at purchasing in the resale market.
The intensification policies of yesterday are driving market conditions today and having a direct impact on where we work, where we live and how we commute.
But ensuring we have a range of affordable home types is an essential part of keeping our region competitive globally.
And remember: housing is something that all of us — consumers, industry and government — are in together.