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Real Estate News

Apartment Growth Outpacing Detached Homes Across Canada: Census

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The number of new apartments being built across Canada is outpacing that of single detached homes, new census data reveals.

The data, released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, reveals a continuation of the years-long trend of apartments taking up a larger and larger percentage of Canada’s housing stock. Although detached homes still account for the majority of dwellings — 52.6% compared to apartments’ 34.4% — its percentage fell 1% from the 2011 census numbers. The share of apartments, on the other hand, is up 0.9%.

Row houses, which Statistics Canada qualifies as three or more attached townhouses or garden homes that don’t having any other dwellings either above or below them, also saw a bump in percentage, increasing from 5.9% in 2011 to 6.5% in 2021.

Canada is home to a grand total of 14,978,940, according to the census data, 7,872,310 of which are single detached homes. Apartments in buildings with fewer than five storeys totaled 2,738,020 while the number of apartments in buildings with five storeys or more came out to 1,596,155. Apartments in a duplex accounted for the smallest share of apartment types, with just 821,490 nationwide.

As to be expected, the increasing share of apartments is greatest in Canada’s large urban areas. In Toronto, for example, the share of single detached homes dropped 3.2% between 2011 and 2021, meanwhile the share of apartments grew 2.4%. In Vancouver, the number of detached homes fell 3% and apartments simultaneously jumped up 3.4%.

This trend coincides with soaring home prices seen all across the country, particularly for detached homes. According to a March report from the Canadian Real Estate Association, the national average home price now sits at $796,000. Prices are even more out of control in major cities, with the average detached house in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) going for nearly $1.7M, according to data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. Homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, are gravitating towards apartment-style condos that are more within their price range, averaging $808,000 in the GTA.

Ontario, which has experienced some of the fastest growing home prices over the past two years, has seen record development numbers. In 2021, the province reported more than 100,000 housing starts — the highest level since 1987 — and more than 13,000 rental starts, which marked the highest level in 30 years. Toronto in particular has consistently held the record for the highest number of construction cranes out of any city in North America, with more than 250 in use as of the first quarter of 2022, according to Rider Levett Bucknall’s crane index. This is heads and shoulders above Los Angeles, which has the second highest number with 51.

With all levels of governments focusing on increasing housing supply, particularly that of affordable housing, an even greater share of Canada’s housing stock becoming apartments seems entirely likely.

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