Gone are the days of condos being just for young professionals, new couples or students. Couples raising a family are more consistently turning to condo developments in various communities to set down roots. In fact, back in 2016 the consensus found that 20.9 per cent of Toronto residents live in condos. That’s 8.9 per cent more than in 2011, and above the 8.4 per cent national average.
This trend has become increasingly evident as we see pre-construction developments offering new amenities and layouts suited to a family lifestyle in downtown Toronto, the GTA, and even cosmopolitan suburbs. There is no question that condos are a destination for families now more than ever, but the question being asked is why?
We broke down all the reasons why this transition is happening -- and why it makes sense in the scope of the future of pre-construction condo projects:
There has been a clear shift to a wider variety in unit layouts in the past couple of years, with more projects selling three-bedroom units -- and larger. Altus Group Data from August 2017 showed that the GTA’s average condo size was 871 square feet, compared to the prior year’s 801 square feet. This rise of bigger units comes as little surprise after the city mandated that, according to Toronto Storeys, 25 per cent of new units be classified as “large.”
These guidelines dictate that 10 per cent of units house three bedrooms at a minimum of 1,140 square feet, and 15 per cent have two bedrooms at 969 square feet.
“Developers of their own volition are seeing that three-bedroom product. There is demand for it...It’s not from every segment of the marketplace, but they can sell it,” Menkes’ marketing manager Mimi Ng told Toronto Storeys.
It Supports The Lifestyle Young Professionals Are Seeking
Young professionals in the city today are enjoying the urban lifestyle, and want to maintain it. Millennials who were living in a one-bedroom unit are getting older, attaining their job goals and growing families -- but are looking to still keep their lifestyle in the city. They still want to live in the same area with all the conveniences they look for, but require a bigger space for their growing family.
These young growing families long to stay close to everything, work, school, amenities -- for them it's all about convenience and staying connected to what matters to them the most, and what they are used to. Young professionals are choosing to raise their families in condos to be close to it all -- their workplaces, future job opportunities, local amenities, you name it.
More often than not, young families are seeking neighbourhoods that are vibrant and plentiful in entertainment. Destinations like the Ripley's Aquarium, Nathan Phillips Square, expansive malls, and countless parks like Trinity Bellwoods are scattered throughout the downtown area. It can get challenging to find day-to-day activities to share with children, and being in the heart of the city opens up countless options.
With travel fees cut by utilizing nearby transit roots, these families are able to save money on transit and their homes when opting for a condo instead of a house. Today 70% of the population living in condos in Toronto's downtown core are young professional, and you can be sure that in five years time they'll all be choosing to live in the same area but looking for bigger units to raise their growing family.
Mixed-Use Master-Planned Communities
The benefits of master-planned communities are endless, and their wide scope is just one of them. These communities bring together retail, office and residential space, making day-to-day errands all possible within walking distance from home.
While integrating kid-friendly aspects like parkettes, walkways and play areas, these residences often also incorporate townhome units or spacious multi-bedroom layouts that are ideal for young families. The demand is definitely there for this range and variety, considering that in 2011. 32% of households with kids were residing in condo buildings -- and that number has since increased.
An example of these expansive projects is Hazelton Development’s upcoming community Highlight of Mississauga that includes 16 townhomes alongside two-storey lofts and condo units. Bayside Toronto, another community, houses a wide variety of unit layouts including expansive three-bedroom suites spanning roughly 3,771 square feet.
More and more condo developments are introducing kid-friendly play rooms, ideal for socializing kids and integrating them into a community. This only makes sense considering that between the years of 1996 and 2011, a whopping 10,000 more families with kids opted to call high-rises home.
Multi-family residences make play dates that much easier. Closer quarters help kids make friends and young parents meet other parents with similar lifestyles. In fact, The Prestige Condos at Pinnacle One has an entire outdoor area dedicated to a kid's play space.
The addition of having a pool accessible to you -- without the fees and hassle of up-keeping it -- is also ideal for a family who wants to encourage their children to learn how to swim from a young age. It also helps to encourage physical fitness by having this option at your fingertips. These amenities are perfect for providing a leisure destination for the whole family, and also makes for a great excursion when not wanting to travel far from home to entertain your children.
Minimized Travel Time
A majority of the time, condo projects are developed surrounding major public transit routes -- the Eglinton Crosstown is the perfect example of this, with an influx of properties proposed around its stations. Professionals like to be removed from where they work, while also having seamless travel to their daily destinations.
The fact major subway stations or bus stops are commonly located at condo developments or even at the base of these buildings make them ideal for parents who want to get to and from work easily and quickly -- this makes getting home in time to cook and clean on a daily or weekly basis quick and painless.
Ability To Cut Expenses
Gas and car payments are only the beginning of expenses that can be cut while living in a condo -- and Canadians spend a lot on gas. According to Petro Canada, in 2015 every litre of gas was taxed with an additional 38.5 cents. That's an additional $20 for the average $50 dollars spent on a fill of gas.
Other major expenses homeowners deal with are the fees of home maintenance and repairs which are commonly dealt with by a condos property manager. Built in amenities are also a cost saver, as residents will have the luxury of things like a gym instead of having to pay an outlandish monthly membership fee.
All-in-all, families are flocking to condos for more reasons than just one.