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Micro condos & their tiny appeal
Mar 18, 2015
Adapted from Melissa Dunne – MetroNews
With the average price of detached homes in major Canadian cities exceeding one million the average person is having to consider other options. Micro condos which are between 225 – 400 square feet are becoming appealing. The spaces are attracting investors who will rent them out or to have a place in the city when neededm or for not so rich people to finally own property. With the average Toronto condo price at $369,655 you can buy in to a micro condo for less but you have to downsize.
Because this is an unproven trend, there are obstacles. The banks are wary of giving mortgages for anything under 500 square feet.
There will be nearly 3000 micro condo units in Toronto slated to be completed this year.
The appeal that they are modern and hip and fun with innovative and trendy space saving amenities.
Although new to Canada densely populated cities like Paris and Tokyo have had this way of life for generations.
Five people in the know were asked their opinion on micro condos.
Realtor : One realtor Sandra Rinomato acknowledges that the banks are not lending on these units so it is hard to know if this trend will take off or not. Micros offer living space in the very good locations. Once the banks gain confidence in micro condos first time buyers will see them as viable options. She reminds us that 50 years ago the banks were skeptical about lending on condos.
Planner : Linda Allen,community planner and managing partner of CitySpaces in Vancouver said the micro condos will be successful only in exceptionally strong markets – Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco, Boston, N.Y.C. or London. From a planner’s perspective, if designed thoughtfully and close to social life and shops these are an affordable, funky option for 20-something singles and couples. Not so for most households with children. Over time, the real estate market will decide whether these will hold their value.
Micro condo dweller : Samule Baron has been renting a 248 square foot micro suite in Vancouver for just over two years.He would absolutely buy a micro condo as it works for his lifestyle right now. He doesn’t have a car and he believes your neighbourhood becomes your living room. He has 4 coffee shops outside his door of which none are Starbucks. He believes that Canada will become more urbanized and this will have to be accommodated with people living smaller. He thinks there is definitely a future in micro condos.
Researcher :Shaun Hildebrand, senior vice president at condo research firm Urbanation adds that micro units certainly will be needed in the future to accommodate growth in Toronto and maintain affordability, but the next couple of years may see a case of too much too soon. Thousands of units under 500 square feet will be completed, while population growth for younger adults is starting slow. Adding to this is their difficulty in arranging financing.
Investment specialist : John Andrew , director of Queen’s University’s Executive seminars on Corporate ans Investment Real estate in Kingston doubts if this a passing fad. It is what people can afford. There is a huge market for tiny condos because many cannot afford anything larger. It’s not likely to get any better but it does have the effect of high turnover of those units because as people’s house-hold size increases)marriage, babies etc) they have a hard time staying there.