Bountiful Opportunities Await GTA Residential Developers in 2022

Amidst the ongoing pandemic and concerns over the alleged ‘great migration’ away from city centres, the GTA real estate market was hotter than ever this past year and is predicted to stay on trend in 2022.

At CentreCourt, we launched three projects in 2021: 8 Wellesley which sold out in 10 days and represents $595M in development value; PRIME Condos; and WestLine, representing 1,700 new homes across the three projects. We kicked off 2022 with the first launch of the year in the GTA: 252 Church, one of the last developable corners along Church Street in the downtown core located near Yonge Dundas Square and across the street from Ryerson University.

Despite great outcomes in 2021, this year will be one of immense opportunity with challenges and roadblocks to navigate. Like all sectors, the development industry faced challenges related to pandemic measures, inflationary environment, lack of skilled labour, backed-up supply chains and changing regulations.

In Q3/Q4 of 2021, the economy accelerated and employment opportunities continued to grow in the city despite setbacks to in-person learning and the return to office. Toronto is resilient and the demand for well-situated condos in proximity to major amenities, mass transit and employment nodes is stronger than ever.

Canada recently hit its goal of adding over 400,000 new permanent residents, while Toronto continues to attract an outsized share of foreign students and skilled immigrants in the healthcare and tech sectors. The development industry has a real opportunity to provide new housing options that are amenity rich for new graduates, immigrants, and young Canadians in search of their first home through high-rise communities across the GTA.

With the demand for new housing, and pricing, at an all-time high developers have an opportunity to work creatively with landowners and municipalities to unlock complicated development sites, sites that would have otherwise been too costly or complicated to be put into production. Keep an eye out for some exciting announcements.

In 2022, we expect the 905 market to continue to grow, particularly in Mississauga and Vaughan, as these locales have established condominium nodes, access to employment opportunities, terrific amenities, and most importantly, high-order transit.

Still though, Toronto proper remains king, and that will be reflected in 2022’s real estate development activities. The downtown core is poised for significant economic growth in 2022 through a combination of the return to office, the attractiveness of our post-secondary institutions and continued interest from employers and immigrants alike. With over 240,000 jobs in Toronto’s tech ecosystem, the city is recognized as the fastest growing technology market in North America. Toronto has experienced a steady rise in the number of startups, VC investors and global tech giants calling it home. This is because the talent these organizations are trying to attract and retain prefer to call Toronto home.

Overall, Toronto has continued to prosper in spite of challenges. In Q3 2021, the number of leases signed were at an all-time high. The development industry has a lot of work to do in the coming decade given the strong demand for new housing in the downtown core, outer-416, and 905 regions, but with opportunities abound as well.

Bader Elkhatib is a partner and senior vice president at Toronto-based real estate developer and builder CentreCourt, where he leads new acquisition efforts. He holds an Honors Business Administration (HBA) degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario where he graduated with Distinction.

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