Toronto condominiums are getting smaller – is this such a bad thing?
There has been ample discussion in the office these past couple of years regarding the shrinking of condominium floor plans by builders. We’ve seen a 785 square foot condo being offered for sale boasting 3 bedrooms. This was at the launch of 1000 Bay street, by all accounts a terrific sales success. This trend is not specific to this building, but part of a larger trend in the downtown Toronto new condominium offerings. Myself, being born a the end of the baby boomer generation and at the beginning of the Generation X demographic, I confess to being a little gob smacked at the lack of room to stretch out and relax. More and more though, I’m coming to see this trend of smaller living spaces as not such a bad thing, and in some ways very egalitarian as it makes home ownership an option for more people (as smaller places cost less), and home ownership is something ingrained in the Canadian psyche with such comparatively large numbers of home owners in this country when compared to the rest of the world.
Toronto continues to grow at a rather swift clip adding close to 100,000 new residents each and every year. Many of these new residents are young and active and come from places far more populated than our fair city. Many of these new residents are quite used to much smaller homes and much more crowded streets, where having access to even what we see as small spaces is something of a luxury. Many new immigrants have told me that Toronto is still very inexpensive compared to their home cities and the streets here are clean and quiet compared to the bustling crowded streets they’re used to . Sometimes we need the perspective of others to allow us to see clearly ourselves.
There is little talk of buying a house anymore in the downtown Toronto core by most 1st time buyers as prices for an average 3 bedroom home now straddle the $1 Million mark. Condominiums are the only option for the vast majority of buyers who choose to make their homes in the city. Downtown Toronto is a great place to live and space is increasingly at a premium.
Better communal amenities in newer condominiums combined with exiting new public spaces being created by the city mean our homes are closer to any number of alternative spaces we could be accessing from within our buildings and just outside of our buildings in our neighbourhoods. This in fact changes the way we see our living spaces, we are now expecting and receiving great amenities, either private ones within our condominiums or public spaces nearby, that augment our living spaces with additional communal spaces we can share. In some ways this is a healthier way to live as it gets us out of our homes and involved with other people in our buildings or in our communities either through physical activity or involved in a communal project, either way it gets us to be more involved and engaged with our environment.
I’m an eternal optimist willing to make the best lemonade out of the sourest of lemons, and smaller spaces mean there is less to clean.