Across North America, Toronto has the most construction cranes active, and the second and third place cities aren’t even close to catching us.
Rider Levett Bucknall released its July 2019 Crane Index recently, and Better Dwelling had a few additional details about the report. The Crane Index looks at 13 major cities in North America and tracks the amount of cranes on the skyline.
Before we jump into the numbers, you’re probably wondering why the number of cranes even matters. A crane is one of the most obvious signs of development, and when development is booming, the economy is booming. Every crane equals growth, jobs, and opportunities.
More than two-thirds of the cranes in North America are involved in mixed-use and residential development. RLB reports that these projects are reaching completion at nearly the same rate as groundbreakings.
The July 2019 survey marks the fourth consecutive increase in cranes across the continent, with Toronto leading the way with 120 cranes, and Seattle and Los Angeles following in a distant second and third with 49 cranes a piece. The cranes in these three cities account for more than half of the cranes counted in the survey. In January 2019, there were 104 cranes up in Toronto, and a year ago, there were fewer than 100. Clearly Toronto is one of the fastest growing cities in North America.
In downtown Toronto, the number of cranes increased, but most of the cranes in Toronto are actually outside of the core. The majority of the cranes are focused on mixed-use and residential construction. RLB predicts there will be an increase in crane activity in the near future as more infrastructure projects move through the pipeline to the construction phase.
The next Canadian city on the list is Calgary, placing fourth behind Seattle and Los Angeles, with 34 cranes. There’s been a recent surge in high-rise residential construction in Calgary, along with a steady increase in office, commercial, mixed-use, healthcare and infrastructure construction.
Some may look at these statistics and think that it’s proof that Toronto actually isn’t in need of more housing supply, but it’s not about the number of cranes in the sky when it comes to supply and demand.
The cranes dedicated to residential construction are up because of housing units that have already sold. A builder typically needs around 70% of the units to sell before they qualify for financing and can break ground. And as you may know, the vast majority of these projects are completely sold out before completion.
It’s exciting to see that Toronto’s streetscape is going through so much growth, and we can’t wait to see how many more cranes go up this year!