Toronto is catching up to Vancouver on the building cost front.
Not only is the gap in home prices narrowing between home prices in Ontario’s capital and the notoriously pricey west coast city, construction costs are now comparable between the two metropolises.
Altus Group has released its 2022 Canadian Cost Guide, a report that provides a forecast of construction hard costs across all asset classes in the Canadian marketplace. The report is based on the company’s proprietary database of 4,310 real project costs.
“A Perfect Storm” for Rising Prices
As Altus Group highlights, the Canadian construction industry has been extremely resilient in 2021, with construction activity in many cities reaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels. However, the ramifications of this demand and subsequent flurry of activity in construction has compounded the cost pressures experienced over the past year.
“High demand, broken supply chains, volatile commodity prices, and persistent labour shortages have conspired to create a perfect storm of rising costs and decreasing predictability,” says Altus Group. Despite these challenges, the company says that greater predictability will likely come once the world finally emerges from pandemic-induced disruption.
Read: GTA New Condo Sales Just Had Their Second-Strongest Year Ever
Predictions aside, the data reveals that the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) construction costs are now on par with those in Vancouver. The report also offers data for Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and St. John’s.
In Toronto, the price per square foot for condo construction was $230-$305 for buildings up to six storeys; in Vancouver, this figure was $225-$340. The cost for buildings up to 12 storeys was $275-$355 per square foot in Toronto and $235-$350 per square foot in Vancouver. The square footage cost of buildings 13-39 storeys was $285-$345 in Toronto $245-$375 in Vancouver.
Buildings 40-60 storeys cost $285-$370 per square foot in Toronto and $275-$380 per square foot in Vancouver. Buildings over 60 storeys were $320-$420 per square foot in Toronto and $295-$380 per square foot in Vancouver. Finally, it cost up to $230 per square foot for a premium for high quality in Toronto and up to $225 in Vancouver.
When it comes to the wood-framed residential sector, in Toronto, the price per square foot for a row townhouse with an unfinished basement was $150-$220, while this figure was $135-$210 in Vancouver. In Toronto, construction costs for a single-family residential with an unfinished basement was $165-$260 per square foot, while it was $150-$275 per square foot in Vancouver.
A three-storey stacked townhouse cost $185-$240 per square foot in Toronto and $175-$240 per square foot in Vancouver. A wood-framed condo up to four storeys cost $215-$285 per square foot in Toronto and $195-$290 per square foot in Vancouver. In Toronto, the price per square foot for a wood-framed condo five to six storeys was $225-$300 per square foot in Toronto and $215-$300 per square foot in Vancouver. Finally, a custom-built single-family residential cost $480-$1050 per square foot in Toronto and $450-$1135 in Vancouver.
In addition to the home construction industry, Altus Group presented data for other buildings in the private sector, including seniors housing, office buildings, retail, hotels, parking, and industrial facilities. In the public sector, construction cost data was presented for educational buildings, healthcare, transportation buildings, government buildings, recreation/entertainment buildings, site servicing, and infrastructure.
Across the board, the construction costs were comparable in Toronto and Vancouver in all sectors. As the two cities increasingly mirror one another on the cost front, one thing remains (arguably) true: Vancouver has Toronto beat in the scenery department.
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