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Sizes of new condos in largest cities trending downward

by Ephraim Vecina on 09 May 2019

The median sizes of new condos in Vancouver and Toronto have been on a significant downward trajectory over the last few years, according to a Better Dwelling analysis of assessments and floor area numbers from Statistics Canada.

Newly built units in Vancouver are approximately 16% smaller than the city’s peak condo size, which was seen between 1971 and 1991. A unit dating from 2016 to 2017 measured 769 square feet on average, around 3.6% smaller than a unit built between 2011 and 2015.

The decrease was even more dramatic in Toronto – an unexpected result considering the prevalence of tiny units in Vancouver, Better Dwelling stated.

Toronto’s newest condos are nearly a full 40% smaller than the market’s peak condo size seen in 1990. The average-sized unit in 2016 and 2017 was 647 sq. ft., a floor area 5%  lower than that in a condo built from 2011 to 2015.

“Toronto condos had a median size of 1,070 sq ft. from 1981 to 1990, 16.81% larger than Vancouver during the same period. Worth remembering that Toronto is both ‘cheaper’ and less densely populated than Vancouver,” the analysis added.

Assessed condo unit values in these markets also considerably exceed those of other housing types, separate figures from Statistics Canada indicated.

“The gap between assessments for a condo apartment is as much as double in Toronto. Vancouver, the country’s most expensive city, isn’t seeing nearly as high of a premium on new builds.”

Toronto’s median condo assessment value was $457 per square foot (PSF) in 2018. For perspective, this was 32% greater than the city’s median assessment for all residential property types.

Meanwhile, Vancouver’s median last year was $659 PSF. However, while this was way higher than Toronto’s assessment, this was also only 11.13% greater than Vancouver’s median for all housing assets.


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