Urban planners push condos, but families want detached houses (Canada)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

In case you missed it, I published a page on IAC that documents the pros and cons of higher density, mixed use communities promoted by fans of New Urbanism.

It’s a must read for home buyers, business owners, and investors, before buying a home or condo, or signing a residential or commercial lease in a mixed-use or high density community.

But our Canadian neighbors to the North also feed the disadvantages of urban living, where it’s nearly impossible for many families to purchase single family detached homes.

A recent report entitled 2018 Modern Family Home Ownership Trends Report</em>, conducted by Mustel Group and Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, highlights the discrepancy between home buyer preferences and purchases.

From the Canadian study:

8 in 10 (83%) young, urban family homeowners would prefer living in a detached single family home if budget were not a consideration, and only 17% indicated a preference for higher density housing options.

In short, the overwhelming majority of Canadian families (more than 80%) would prefer to own a single family home. But many have purchased condos and attached houses, simply because it’s the only type of home they can afford to own.

One article sums up the situation as a ‘declining standard of living’ for Canada’s younger generation.



Nature of the Disappointment

It is important to understand the nature of this disappointment. It is not like the middle-income family in Los Angeles dishearted that their budget does not permit buying a house in pricey Beverly Hills, or a young family in a Newmarket apartment unable to afford buying in a multi-million dollar home in the Rosedale neighborhood in Toronto. Rather this applies to young, middle-income households that cannot afford the same kind of middle-income housing as their middle-income parents, or others of similar incomes less than two decades ago. It is a fundamental indicator of a declining standard of living. The survey found that “43% of young, urban families who already own real estate but do not currently own a single family home have given up the “dream” of single family home ownership due to high costs.” This would include owners of condominiums, and attached houses as well as duplexes and triplexes.

The poll results shatter the industry promoted myth that young adults, including families, want to live in vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.

As in many metropolitan areas of the U.S., people buy condos and townhouses not because that’s their first choice, but because it’s the only available housing in their price range.

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