Decline in housing applications Jan 2022 to Jan 2023
The Toronto planning landscape has seen a dramatic shift from January, 2022 to January, 2023. Between the planned introduction of inclusionary zoning, rising interest rates, falling housing prices, inflation, the introduction of Bill 23, a new City Council, and more, developers had a lot to consider when it came to proposing new projects in the city.
Ward map of all applications submitted to the City of Toronto in January, 2023
That said, January is usually a quiet month in terms of new applications, and this year was no exception. In January, 2023, only 4 applications were proposed, for a total of 5 buildings. However, compared to 2022 (which had 5 applications proposing 10 buildings), the ambition of the proposals was much more constrained. As this year only 2 of these projects were residential, smaller than usual numbers should be anticipated.
This year saw 202 dwelling units and 156 vehicular parking spots, as opposed to 810 dwellings and 382 parking spots proposed in January, 2022. The GFA proposed decreased significantly to ~268,000 ft², from ~671,000 ft² the year prior. However, the site area of the proposals increased this January to ~345,000 ft², up from ~154,000 in the same month last year. As a result, this year's FSI is an unusually low 0.78, compared to 4.36 in January, 2022.
Unit sizes are likely to be bigger for projects proposed this month, as the residential GFA was at 956 ft² per unit, an increase of 27% over the 748 ft² last year. Since there are only 2 condo projects (190 Ridley and 150 Sterling), this is too small a sample to consider indicative of a trend.
Greater uncertainty continues to weigh a heavy burden on development applications, and — for the moment — on the future of growth in Toronto. Looking forward the rest of 2023, while the economic headwinds are certainly a challenge, navigating the new political landscape has uncertainties with it as well. Not only with respect to handling by new councillors and soon a new mayor, but also with the new "strong mayor" powers coupled with other changes re: how planning decisions get made. These changes could result in much faster planning reviews, thus lowering the cost somewhat for developments. However, how the changes end up being implemented remains to be seen.
Summary of applications submitted in January, 2023. Data from UTPro.
The mix of dwelling units for development applications submitted to the City of Toronto in January, 2023. Data from UTPro.
The GFA mix for development applications submitted to the City of Toronto in January, 2023. Data from UTPro.
The mix of vehicular parking for development applications submitted to the City of Toronto in January, 2023. Data from UTPro.
Bicycle vs vehicular parking units for development applications submitted to the City of Toronto in January, 2023. Data from UTPro.
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