Condo high rises post record in February, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Condo high rises post record in February, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Condos rise as high as condo sales records (Image: veggiefron) 

According to builder’s group BILD GTA, Toronto hit a landmark last month as high-rise condo towers added more than 2,000 units—the first time Toronto has cracked that number. The broader GTA saw high-rise counts spring up as well, and investment in high-rises seems to be increasingly crowding out low-rise condos, according to BILD. (Interestingly, the trend isn’t just in the downtown: even in the suburbs, high-rise numbers are generally growing faster than low-rises.) This is just the latest in the seemingly never-ending series of press releases from real estate boards, builders, banks, sellers and any other parties that have a stake in Toronto’s real estate market. On the other hand, media sources seem to be predicting dark (or at least dull) days for Toronto real estate. So is the GTA market going like gangbusters, or going over a cliff?

We’ve noted before how ambiguous the facts are around Toronto’s real estate market (and, seriously, some clarity would be lovely right about now). A few days ago, the Toronto Star published an article asking if the market had peaked. Talking about the bubble bursting has been a regional sport for years, but the Star’s Tony Wong offers up some good points to justify why he thinks it might happen this year. The biggest is that this year is going to see a record 9,500 condo units put on the market—a flood of supply that could start a selling war.

This is why we’re not cheered every time we see a new release touting “Toronto’s real estate market posts record X.” Crashes are usually preceded by some record being set. Add to that the fact that most of the new condos are being bought by investors (not people actually looking for a home, people who are more stable in hanging onto their properties for good or ill), and it’s starting to look like some combination of interest rates going up and the deluge of tower suites taking the steam out of the market. Do you wonder if it will be possible to pick up a bunch of condo suites and tear the walls down to make something affordable, something that is larger than a shoebox? We may find out.

• Has the GTA condo market peaked? [Toronto Star]
• New condo sales set record in February [BILD GTA]