New Semi Detached In Toronto

4 Replies

Hi There,

I'm brand new to Bigger pockets. I am an architect in Toronto Ontario. I am in discussions with another architect to partner on design and finance of new semi-detached development in the east york area. The idea would be  to purchase a lot with a single family house on it, just wide enough to fit two slender urban semis on it, sever the lot, and built two very simple, but decent quality, highly energy efficient (would consider Passivehouse - I am a passivehouse certified designer) semi-detached dwellings for resale.

Does anyone have any experience with a similar project in Toronto or the GTA? Or even ontario? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


I am working through a proforma. To be honest, with all the HST tax charged on construction and resale, it makes the proforma challenging.

  1. For a simple rectangle in plan, with a very simple interior layout (straight run stairs, stacked plumbing and services) but high quality windows and builder grade interior finishes) what range of construction costs in $/sf would I be looking at
  2. How difficult is it to sever a lot in Toronto (we'd be looking at lots in the range of 30'-40' frontage)?
  3. If we happen to be in an area where zoning is for single family detached, how difficult is it to get an amendment to allow a semi?
  4. Does anyone have any experience with prefabrication at this scale (either wall panelization or full prefab modules)? Seems to me like it would reduce your costs on general conditions and be more efficient overall. Though I realize there are logistical challenges to this.
  5. HST charged on resale: is there any way to minimize this. I believe in paying an honest and fair share of taxes but the HST on construction AND the HST on sale of the new homes in this scheme really almost kills the viability project entirely.

Development on a small scale in the GTA is very challenging right now. You're realistically looking at 325-350 a sf for build costs, then you have to service the lots, etc, etc. Once you factor in your carrying costs, I'm guessing your margins are extremely tight. You may want to reconsider the project if that's the case.

Most builders include the HST in the sale price and have the purchaser assign the rebate to the builder.

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Originally posted by @Martin Gauthier :

Hi There,

I'm brand new to Bigger pockets. I am an architect in Toronto Ontario. I am in discussions with another architect to partner on design and finance of new semi-detached development in the east york area. The idea would be  to purchase a lot with a single family house on it, just wide enough to fit two slender urban semis on it, sever the lot, and built two very simple, but decent quality, highly energy efficient (would consider Passivehouse - I am a passivehouse certified designer) semi-detached dwellings for resale.

Does anyone have any experience with a similar project in Toronto or the GTA? Or even ontario? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


I am working through a proforma. To be honest, with all the HST tax charged on construction and resale, it makes the proforma challenging.

  1. For a simple rectangle in plan, with a very simple interior layout (straight run stairs, stacked plumbing and services) but high quality windows and builder grade interior finishes) what range of construction costs in $/sf would I be looking at
  2. How difficult is it to sever a lot in Toronto (we'd be looking at lots in the range of 30'-40' frontage)?
  3. If we happen to be in an area where zoning is for single family detached, how difficult is it to get an amendment to allow a semi?
  4. Does anyone have any experience with prefabrication at this scale (either wall panelization or full prefab modules)? Seems to me like it would reduce your costs on general conditions and be more efficient overall. Though I realize there are logistical challenges to this.
  5. HST charged on resale: is there any way to minimize this. I believe in paying an honest and fair share of taxes but the HST on construction AND the HST on sale of the new homes in this scheme really almost kills the viability project entirely.

I haven't seen many new construction with 15' semis.. You likely need to look into 40'+ to make semis. 

Not sure what your budget is but you can try and find corner homes and assembly 2-3 lots together and build a small townhouse development. You will get more bang for buck on these projects. But this may be a bit more time consuming to find. 

You need to look at the actual block or street to see how many semi's exist similar to what you are looking to build. If its all detached you are likely out of luck as you will get a lot of pushback from neighbors. When you mention East York there are not a lot of streets that are predominantly detached besides some streets by the beaches.   

Good