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Blog > Why are Toronto apartments getting smaller?
It’s not your imagination. The average apartment size in Toronto is getting smaller.
It’s not just apartments either. The average condo size in Toronto is shrinking incredibly fast. Between 2015 and 2017, the average apartment square footage in Toronto fell nearly five per cent from 681 square feet to 647 square feet. This contraction makes the median sized apartment nearly 40 per cent smaller than apartments built in the 1990s. The average floor plan size has decreased not only for the studio apartment, but square footage is diminishing in one-bedroom apartments and the average 2 bedroom apartment as well. This shows that apartment sizes themselves are shrinking, not simply shifting to smaller unit types.
Several factors are behind the trend in smaller apartment sizes.
Here are five reasons the average apartment square footage is smaller in Toronto.
Families were much larger 100 years ago and required more space than today’s average 1 or 2 bedroom apartment. Since 1976, the two-person household has been the most common household size and, in 2011, households comprising one person accounted for nearly 30 per cent of all households.
In high and moderate-cost markets, the average apartment size has decreased significantly. Since 1990, Toronto's population has increased from over 2 million people to 6 and a half million as of 2016. As a result, formerly working-class neighborhoods get bought out by high-earning households. In these markets, apartment sizes decreased 13 per cent between 2016 to 2021 compared to apartments built in the 2000s.
A growing number of people are interested in reducing their carbon footprint and, besides consuming less, they are opting for smaller than average condo sizes. Green or eco-friendly condos require much less fuel and electricity to heat or cool depending on the time of year, and far fewer natural resources to build.
Many younger Toronto residents use their apartments as a place to sleep, shower, and store their belongings. Maybe they enjoy their Third Space more than they care about the studio apartment square footage of their home.
Adults aged 65 and up now comprise 15.6 per cent of Toronto’s population, which equals 426,945 residents. An aging population has resulted in smaller households, as many Toronto homeowners look forward to the financial freedom that comes with downsizing into a smaller apartment or condo. Apartment and condo dwellers also appreciate a low maintenance lifestyle since a landlord takes care of most repairs and yard work.
Between 2015 and 2017, the average condo size in Toronto decreased by about 5 per cent from 681 square feet to 647 square feet. A 700-square-foot apartment is equal to about a quarter of a full-length tennis court and is usually available as studio square footage or a small one-bedroom apartment.
With the average apartment size going down, the average rent per square foot has also decreased. Between January and December 2020, the average rent in the Greater Toronto Area decreased by 16 per cent.
Vacancy rates sat at 6.9 per cent in Toronto in 2021. A recent report by city staff suggests that between 9,000 and 27,000 housing units could be sitting vacant.
Tight vacancies are the primary reason luxury apartment sizes are so small in affluent markets, along with a trend toward eco-friendly condo living, which means people are opting for smaller than average condo sizes in walkable communities.
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