TORONTO — Toronto condo builders are slowing development in a bid to avoid a crash after a decade-long boom led to 159 towers now under construction.
So far this year, they’ve announced 13 new condominium projects, the fewest since the recession in 2009, when there were just three over the same period, figures from real estate researcher RealNet Canada show. In the same period last year, 29 new projects were announced, including Tridel Corp.’s Ten York, the third-tallest residential tower in the country at 75 stories when it was first marketed.
“Most developers have their hands in their pockets right now,” said Brad Lamb, president of Brad J. Lamb Realty, a developer and the city’s largest condominium broker. His firm, which is marketing more than 45 high-rise developments in the city, won’t start a new project until 2014, said Lamb, who has eight projects in Toronto and Ottawa “on the drawing board.”
The slowdown comes as a near-record supply of condos comes to market in a city with the most towers being constructed in the world, according to BuzzBuzzHome, a Toronto-based real estate listings and research firm. Developers are trying to manage the slowdown as buyers retreat amid tighter mortgage rules, a slowing economy and the burden of record consumer debt.
The supply of new high-rise units reached 21,262 in February, 34 percent more than the same period a year ago and close to a record 21,696 in October 2012, RealNet figures show. About 61,000 units are currently under construction — the most ever — and a record 35,757 residential units will come on stream next year, RealNet said.
Developer Concord Adex postponed its previously announced Lumen this year, a 30-story building in a cluster of condos near the Gardiner Expressway, a major highway that connects the western suburbs with the city, according to BuzzBuzzHome.
Menkes Development was one of the first to announce this year, putting its 29-story 365 Church development on sale for purchase in March. Due for completion in 2017, unit size starts at 323 square feet (30 square-meters), among the smallest in the city.
“Condo prices are not going up now the way they have been,” said Finn Poschmann, vice president of research at the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto. “From the developers’ side, they’re saying: ‘OK, enough is enough right now. We’re digesting a shift in the market as it is and we really don’t need to be beat up more.’ ”