Canada's Condominium Magazine
According to a recent report by the Canadian Center for Economic Analysis, approximately 70% of Ontario’s residents are unable to find housing that adequately meets the needs of their household.
While many residents are unable to find houses that are big enough, others are finding it difficult to locate houses that are small enough. This growing problem is creating issues in the housing market — especially the new homes market where supply is tighter. [See Condo.ca’s Market News story on the supply situation>>]
The Goldilocks dilemma — where home buyers can’t find the right-sized or right-located properties — is a destabilizing force in the market, and a call to action to planners for new communities.
Not big enough?
Finding a house that is large enough is not an uncommon problem. As families grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to make room for everyone. Siblings often share rooms and lose personal space that they once enjoyed. Whether the growth is the result of the birth of a new child or the joining of two families, the transition can be stressful. It is particularly troublesome if the family does not have enough space to accommodate everyone.
In cases where parents or other families move in, the homeowners will simply build what is referred to as “mother-in-law” quarters or suites. These can come in the form of an extra bedroom, an office or den converted into a room, or an entirely new space built on the land. However, such options are not always feasible, today. Tight layouts and small yards simply do not have the space available for such renovations. In these situations, the homeowners are forced to move into larger homes.
Not average enough?
Because there is a lack of options for average-sized households, home buyers are typically forced to purchase houses that are larger than desired. They are left with extra bedrooms, empty space, a lot more home to clean, and a drastic increase in cost of living. Additionally, purchasing homes that are more spacious than necessary results in a lack of adequate housing for people and families who need the extra rooms.
Though the price-to-income ratio is quite low in Toronto in comparison to many countries of the world, many are still finding it difficult to afford houses that meet their needs. Mortgages are not the only rising costs associated with upgrading your life. The electricity needed to power a larger home, greater amounts of water required for larger lawns, cost of commuting, and other bills also contribute to the inability for most home buyers to afford the housing they need.
Not small enough?
Increasingly, new home buyers are looking for smaller condos. Small condos near transit are an attractive option for singles and couples especially, who prefer the urban scene and short commutes. Unfortunately, supply of smaller condos is also tightening. [See this Condo.ca story on living in small spaces>>]
Ideally, Ontario could benefit from more residential properties in a variety of sizes, particularly those that are are neither too large nor too small — the Goldilocks zone. Some examples of these include condominiums, duplexes and multiplexes, courtyard apartments, town homes, tow homes, and semi-detached homes. Moving multiple people into smaller living spaces and building up rather than out will go a long way in improving the situation and helping more people to find homes that are just right for their families. The more options that are made available, the better balanced the housing market will become. Prices and overall cost of living will plummet, and residents will be happier.