Multi-family Living In Canada

December 1, 2014

Multi-family living such as apartments, condos and townhouses are becoming attractive housing options for people in Canada. Many experts predict a rise in the demand of multifamily units in Canada in the future due to the high levels of one person households. The percentage of one person households rose dramatically in Canada between 2001 and 2011: from 25.7% to 27.6%.

The share of condominiums in total housing starts increased from 16% in 2000 to 31%  by 2013.Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal, the three largest condominium markets in Canada, condominiums starts accounted for more than half of total starts in 2013.

The changing housing needs of the Baby Boomer generation is set to drive this demand. In 2013, 60% of the baby boomer population lived within single family properties. By 2036, seniors from the baby boomer generation will represent 1/4 of the Canadian population. The latest data also shows that the single population of the country has risen to 28%.

Research conducted by CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) clearly demonstrates the increase in popularity of condominiums among the first-time home buyer age group (25 to 34  years) as well as with seniors (65 plus).

There is often a spike in multi-family-home sales coming out of a recession. This is attributed to the fact that buyers are more attuned to the realities of unemployment and want to protect themselves with another stream of income in case of another worst-case scenario and people are looking for more security.


Multi-family Living in Calgary

High wages, low tax rates, excellent quality of life and work opportunities is continuing to make Calgary a popular place to live. With increasing numbers of people moving to Calgary to find work the Calgary Housing market is struggling to keep up. House starts in Calgary are increasing, and multi-family living starts are leading the way to cope with the growing housing demands. In June 2013, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp reported that the multi-family segment in Calgary experienced a 397.2 per cent year-over-year increase to 1,780 units, up from 358.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), multi-family starts decreased by 10 percent in 2013 to approximately 6,200 units. However the expectation is there for it to rebound back up 29 percent to 8000 units in 2014. This amount of multi-family starts is the highest number in the CMA since 1981. Of the 7,000 apartments under construction, more than 4,000 were started this year, meaning those are anywhere from 12 months to two years away from being completed. With the low rental vacancy rate, demand will continue to be high.

Multi-family starts in Calgary

Condominium sales for 2014 are up 20 per cent over the same time last year according to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB). The CREB report also shows more apartment-style condos are being listed than sold and as a result condos are becoming more affordable.

In the first nine months of 2014, single-family housing starts are up by two per cent from the same period in 2013, while all types of multi-family starts show a gain of 110 per cent. The recent increase shows that the age distribution is quite young and likely looking for homes priced below the recent Calgary single-family average price, now well above $500,000, according to the latest figures from the Calgary Real Estate Board.

The rise in activity does not come as a surprise. The consistent job growth in Calgary over the last couple of years and migration reached a record in 2012 and in 2013. Building permits toward the end of 2013 also suggested that more projects were going to be started.

Types of Multi family Living

An apartment building is the most common type of multifamily housing. While Duplexes, quadruplexes, and townhomes also qualify as multifamily housing. The Entire Building or structure may be owned by an individual, an entity, or, as is the case with condominiums by individuals who have purchased units.

Advantages of Multi Family Living

First-time buyers see this type of housing as an entry point to homeownership because of the price and the convenient location of these buildings. Seniors prefer the care-free lifestyle offered by condominiums as they do not have to take care of home maintenance duties that come with single-detached homes.

The landlord or condominium association often pays for the upkeep of landscaping and amenities. Those who need to move can often do so easily, because they do not have any home to sell. These communities are often places for socialization where friendships can easily develop. In some cases, utilities and garbage service may be included in the rent or association fees.

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