Philanthropist and CEO of Mattamy Homes Peter Gilgan.

Moe Doiron / The Globe and Mail

Real estate developer Mattamy Homes, known as a force in the suburbs, aims to meet the growing demand for homes in the Toronto area by building and expanding.

Mattamy, a Toronto-based company that has grown to become the largest private construction company in North America through its focus on single-family homes, is launching its own high-rise development division on Thursday. The new Mattamy GTA Urban branded company will initially focus on creating what Chief Executive Brad Carr calls “vertical communities” that combine medium and tall residential buildings with retail, office and public space in the greater Toronto area.

Over time, Mattamy plans to expand this business area. The company also operates in Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and 11 US markets.

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While Mattamy is best known for single-family homes, it has built more than 40 high-rise and multi-family housing projects in the past four decades. The new urban division represents a heightened commitment to high-rise living and will initially build on land Mattamy already owns in Toronto and in remote centers like Brampton, Mississauga and Richmond Hill – a land bank that Carr said she has the company for at. will support for at least five years.

“Multi-family homes in mid-rise and high-rise buildings are a core component of future development in the GTA as Canada’s largest urban center seeks to provide increased supply of housing and livable communities while keeping the green belt intact,” Carr said in an interview.

Mattamy plans to build both condominiums and rental units to serve a region whose population is expected to grow from 6.4 million to eight million by 2030.

“The Canadian government has made it clear that a central element of their pandemic response will be increased immigration, and we know that many of these new Canadians want to be in the Toronto area, which is the demand for affordable homes,” said Mr Carr . Mattamy, who is controlled by billionaire Peter Gilgan, is currently speaking to potential financial and commercial backers for his new high-rise projects.

Mattamy currently sells 2,500-3,000 homes in the GTA each year, and Mr Carr said the urban division is expected to build about the same number of units, doubling the company’s annual local production. Mattamy hired David Stewart, the former president of the Canadian communities at rival Minto Group Inc., to lead the new division. Mr. Stewart started his career with Mattamy and joined Minto 10 years ago.

“We are building on an already strong base of multi-story projects across the GTA and have an ambitious growth plan to significantly expand this portfolio in the short to medium term,” said Mr. Stewart.

The housing market, which is the key component of Mattamy’s urban expansion strategy, is recovering in Toronto after sales slowed in the early days of the pandemic last spring. For the first three months of this year, the average sales price of a new condominium in the GTA was $ 817,000, up from $ 770,000 a year ago, according to data service Urbanation. During the same period, the average price for a single-family home for resale in the GTA rose above $ 1 million for the first time, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.

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Shaun Hildebrand, President of Urbanation, attributes the strength of the Toronto condominium market to low borrowing costs and renewed optimism among buyers. In a press release, he said suburban property prices “have risen 30 percent in the last year, bringing urban properties back into the spotlight.” Sales of new condominiums in the GTA totaled 5,385 units in the first quarter of 2021, close to pre-pandemic levels.

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