The single-family home is no longer the gold standard for family housing. As many millennials (roughly defined as people aged 15 to 34) are starting to have children, they’re also opting to rent or buy condos in urban centres. Last month, we tackled some of the pros of raising a family in the city (Read More) and some best practices for families in condos particularly. Today, we speak to investors. Property investors holding mid-sized condos will have the increased potential of finding tenants or buyers in the coming years. Smart investors know that one bedrooms are no longer the only profit-generating option. To wisely invest however, we must first understand the whys behind this emerging trend. Who are these young families and what are they seeking in their housing, their communities, and their children’s’ futures?
RAISING URBAN KIDS IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO HAS BECOME A CHOICE THAT PARENTS ARE INCREASINGLY MAKING
- Urban kids are exposed to a greater density and diversity of people, young and old. They develop social skills faster, they hone their “street smarts”, and they’re exposed to a more diverse social and economic mix.
- Exposure to cultural resources –performing arts, museums, libraries, theatres—stimulates kids’ creativity and develops diverse skills and interests that may not be covered in traditional school curricula.
REDUCING COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH TRANSPORTATION MEANS SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS—OF TIME AND MONEY
- In the global fight against climate change, the cost of fuel is likely to rise. Urban dwellers are moving closer to their places of work (into condos located in more densely built-up areas) and will often have access to affordable public transit or neighbourhoods with high walkability.
- A short commute on the TTC means parents can be home to spend quality time with their kids after work, as opposed to facing the unpredictable traffic jams and long travel times along the highways to the suburbs.
- Many condo developments feature pharmacies or grocery stores at street level or nearby, making a quick trip to the store for amenities only an elevator ride away.
DENSE NEIGHBOURHOODS FOSTER A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
- Communal spaces like parks, public pools, libraries, and even the lobbies and shared spaces of condo buildings facilitate a sense of community between people from all walks of life.
- The number of preschool-age kids is rising fastest around condo developments in Toronto. Communities aren’t just for adults; kids growing up in the city will have their own communities of peers and playmates as they grow up in an urban landscape.
- As condo families increase, businesses are paying attention: baby-friendly yoga classes and movie screenings mean parents can befriend and network with other young urban families.
SMALL SPACE LIVING FACILITATES A DISTINCTLY MODERN COMMITMENT TO SPARSENESS
- Years ago, a bookshelf teetering full of hardcovers and VHS tapes might have taken up an entire suburban basement. The digital generation has no need for such cumbersome analog repositories of art and culture. Movie streaming services and portable eBook tablets mean that millennials can maximize their less-than-a-thousand-square-foot condo’s living areas.
- Communal green spaces like condo gardens and public parks mean families can enjoy the health and leisure benefits of a yard without the work—that interminable cycle of mowing, raking, and shoveling that continues to plague suburban dwellers.
- Decorators and furniture stores are catching on to the sparseness trend: multi-functional furniture, space-opening paint colours, and easily foldable baby strollers make condo living a breeze for young families with space-efficient goals.
BUYING A SINGLE-FAMILY HOME IN TORONTO CONTINUES TO BE UNAFFORDABLE FOR MOST MILLENNIALS
- Low incomes, high student debt, and a precarious job market mean that Toronto’s skyrocketing housing market, where the average price for a new detached home is now $1.05 million, is simply not an option for millennials. Incomes have not risen on par with the increase in housing prices; detached home ownership is less and less feasible for the younger generation. Condo living is simply the new reality for young families in Toronto.
Ontario’s Ministry of Finance projects the GTA as the province’s fastest growing region, with a population increase of 3 million (or 45.8%) by 2041, including a significant contribution from steady international migration. Property investors and owner-landlords stand to benefit from Toronto’s increasing density. This generation’s entrance into parenthood means an influx of space-saving young families in search of the benefits of condo life, from community safety to affordability. And with 1.5 million millennials in the GTA region alone, the time to invest is now.