Will Toronto's suburbs see the next great housing gold rush?

The phenomenon of so-called "hipsturbias" is already apparent in 24-hour cities across North America

Will Toronto's suburbs see the next great housing gold rush?

Developers are betting on new projects in some of Toronto’s oldest suburbs to attract millennials fleeing from the main city area’s inflamed home prices.

Analysis by PwC and the Urban Land Institute indicated that these revitalized suburbs – nicknamed “hipsturbias” as a nod to their primary target market of young professionals and starting households – are what markets need to keep a lookout for this year.

The emerging trend is already apparent in many North American markets, particularly in “cities that never sleep” like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

Supported by robust public transport systems and infrastructure, hipsturbias feature desirable big-city amenities like condo buildings, offices, retail shops, and walking-friendly neighbourhoods without the hassle of big-city prices.

Menkes Developments Ltd. is among those aiming to introduce thriving hipsturbias. The company is collaborating with the British Columbia Investment Management Corp. on two projects in Vaughan: the Mobilio residential development launched in 2019, and the Festival four-tower complex.

“It’s a huge trend in the U.S. and it’s exactly what we’ve been planning for the last few years up in Vaughan,” the Toronto-based developer’s executive vice president (high-rise residential) Jared Menkes said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “We’re bringing what we know downtown and bringing it to the suburbs.”

“Downtown Toronto is going to continue to thrive, but I think subway connected, suburban-urban locations are going to see a bit of a rebound in the next three to five years,” director of office and retail Sean Menkes added.

Such communities are likely to become more important in the coming years, considering that Toronto’s home price growth will not be stopping any time soon.

In its market forecast, RE/MAX stated that Toronto’s average residential sale price will grow by as much as 6% in 2020. This will be largely impelled by intensified demand in the city’s detached housing segment, itself already seeing extremely tight inventory. At present, Toronto has approximately two months of housing stock.