With rising real estate prices in major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver, some new parents are staying put in the starter condos they purchased before starting a family. Toronto Life recently published a detailed feature article exploring this new phenomenon in Toronto, where the average detached home costs just shy of a million dollars.
In the article, Philip Preville reports:
“Downtown Toronto is being reshaped by the latest baby boom. The total number of preschool-age kids is rising fastest where condo towers are going up … Toronto is bearing witness to the birth of a new generational phenomenon: the Condo Kid. And the city is welcoming its Condo Kids, in essence, by putting their cribs in the alcove nursery that condo marketers call a ‘den.'”
The city has a dearth of three-bedroom condos, so condos with two bedrooms plus a den may now stand in for the traditional detached home for some families. The average-sized condo in the Greater Toronto area is now under 800 feet, so these living arrangements may seem cramped by Baby Boomer’s standards. But Toronto’s new parents are making it work by using non-traditional play spaces like condo hallways or empty parkades, joining forces with other local parents to commandeer local coffee shops and building community rooms for playdates and choosing baby gears that folds easily for storage.
While so-called Condo Kids may not have their own swingset in the backyard or a playroom filled with toys as previous generations had (of course, a few generations ago, it was very common for children to share a room with several siblings and own only a few toys), they do have easy access to the city’s parks, libraries and community centres, and many dine out at the city’s restaurants with their parents. And their urban condo-dwelling parents have the benefit of a shorter commute, less time spent maintaining the yard and proximity to the city amenities they enjoyed before having kids. Still, Preville predicts that as Condo Kids grow, Toronto will need more facilities catering to families such as swimming pools, ice rinks and basketballs courts.
Living with less square footage, whether as a single person or a family, has also led to the micro unit trend that we blogged about previously. As home-owners embrace smaller spaces and proximity to downtown areas in place of the McMansion in the surburb, available inventory will likely evolve further to meet those needs.