Tracking Toronto’s Population Growth and Housing Boom

Real Estate

As Toronto residents, we can almost feel it happening.

The city's population is expanding rapidly, and, given the city has an environmentally protected ring of green space, our urban centre is bearing more intensification and densification. But by how much? And by how many people?

The last available Toronto census data dates from 2011… but can you imagine how drastically those numbers have changed in the past 5 years? In all likelihood, the population has spiked as steeply as Toronto's housing prices! Fortunately a new report by the Canadian Urban Institute gives us some idea of how the city is growing. Here is an image that estimates Toronto's current population based on “built, active, and under review housing projects”. Divided by zones rather than intimate neighbourhoods, it looks like the majority of the downtown core has undergone a period of 'High Growth' between 2011 and 2015:

*Photo courtesy of the Canadian Urban Institute Report


As the report shares, there were a total of 27,150 built residential units in the development pipeline dataset for the Downtown, which when added to the 2011 base population of 199,405 is the equivalent of an estimated population downtown in 2015 between 242,845 and 245,830.

Here's another map – a larger bird's eye view – that better demonstrates exactly where the building and expansion is happening:


*Photo courtesy of the Canadian Urban Institute Report


Care to rewind a bit further? If you're interested in Toronto's history or curious how the city has expanded over the past century, the animation below – from the City of Toronto's YouTube channel – is a neat find!


*Video courtesy of the City of Toronto


We've touched on the city's sociological past and present – what about its future? The Canadian Urban Institute has also made predictions based on existing trends to track future neighbourhood growth within Toronto's borders:


*Image courtesy of the Canadian Urban Institute Report


Acording to an article by the Toronto Star, the below map is demonstrative of the growth that is expected to occur between now and 2041 outside of Toronto, particularly among surrounding cities and bedroom communities. For a more in-depth look, visit Neptis GeoWeb.


*Image courtesy of NeptisGeoweb and the Toronto Star


One of the biggest challenges raised by officials in high growth municipalities surrounds poor funding for transit and transportation and health care. A councillor in Milton, Colin Best, has said that “the lack of any long-term budgeting for growth by the province is a huge problem.” Already Milton does not have the number of schools required to accomodate it's population, and that hospital capacities in high-growth communities are well beyond “internationally recognized safe occupancy rates.” -TheStar

So how does population growth intertwine with the real estate sector? Let's remind ourselves that the principal drivers of home prices are market demand and supply fundamentals. With Toronto’s population growing and supply being limited, the most likely scenario is that prices will keep rising until the next economic recession, whenever that is.

While we're the first to admit the number of buildings under construction isn't the most accurate nor specific way to estimate population growth , given the variables involved (like how many people will occupy any given complex), but it does paint an intriguing picture of a city in the midst of a boom!


~ the urbaneer team
– we're here to earn your trust, then your business –

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