The number of cranes casting shadows over Toronto, which regularly leads North America by this measure, often captures headlines.
And when you consider that there are 126 of these machines in the city’s core — and 246 across the Greater Toronto Area — by last count, it begs the question: Is it too much?
In a recent note, Eric Lascelles, chief economist for RBC Global Asset Management, suggests that even in the face of some eye-catching construction stats, high-rise homebuilders are pretty much keeping pace with demand.
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“Toronto has enjoyed remarkable population growth in recent years, sustaining a building boom that has raised eyebrows in terms of the number of cranes on the skyline, but ultimately aligns fairly well with actual housing demand,” writes Lascelles in the latest instalment of his weekly #MacroMemo feature.
RBC researchers say the Toronto metro area is growing at the second-fastest rate of any city anywhere in North America or Europe, just slightly trailing Dallas, Texas.
Metro Toronto gains about 120,000 residents annually, after all, says Lascelles — and they’ve got to live somewhere.
That may sound like a lot, but the leading economist puts it into perspective.
Toronto’s metro area is home to approximately 6.4 million people, so the region’s population is growing by about 1.9 percent a year.
“This growth rate is sizeable, and roughly double the national rate, but not wild,” says Lascelles.
Nor is the rate of growth unreasonable when all that Toronto has to offer is considered.
“The city’s population growth is supported by a variety of factors, including a vibrant economy; increasing economies of scale; a high level of national immigration; strong immigrant communities; and a robust service sector that includes major financial institutions, a myriad of head offices and a rapidly-growing tech industry,” Lascelles concludes.