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Toronto residential rental construction on the upswing: report

Construction cranes fill the sky in Toronto. (FILE/Rene Johnston/Getty Images)
Summary

About 70,000 new rental units are either under construction or proposed in the region.


Toronto has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country at around 1.5 per cent


Urbanation credited the lifting of rent controls for spurring construction of new rental housing in the region.


Construction of residential rental buildings in the Toronto region is on the upswing, according to a new report released Friday.

At the end of 2019, the number of rental units under construction in the Greater Toronto Area reached 12,367 units, data released by real estate consulting firm Urbanation said.

“[This is the] highest level since the 1970s when modern rent controls were enacted,” Urbanation said in a news release.

The region saw about 4,172 units begin construction in 2019, a decline from 5,620 from 2018. However, about 3,630 rental units were completed that year.

“[This is] the highest level since the early 1990s, allowing the inventory of future units underway to continue rising last year,” the firm said.

Shaun Hildebrand, president of Urbanation said 2019 marks an important year in the history of the region’s rental market.

“Progress made towards increasing supply could mark the beginning of a new era for rental housing development in the region,” Hildebrand said in the release. “But it’s critical that this momentum continues in the years to come in order to eventually bring the market into balance”

Rental housing development proposals also up in 2019

The number of rental building proposals submitted to the municipality also rose in 2019, reaching the highest level tracked by the firm over the last five years.

“57,197 new purpose-built rentals were proposed for development but had not yet started construction, rising from 44,086 units at the end of 2018,” Urbanation said.

In total, about 70,000 new rental units are either under construction or proposed in the region.

“[This] was 4.5 times more than the total number of rentals built in the GTA since 2005 (15,305 units),” they added.

Urbanation credited the lifting of rent controls for spurring construction of new rental housing in the region.

Toronto has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country at around 1.5 per cent in 2019 according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Vancouver has the lowest in Canada, at around 1.1 per cent.