Future of Houses - Houses are Getting Smaller -2

by Cybernation
Last updated 7 years ago

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Future of Houses - Houses are Getting Smaller -2

Family Sizes DecreasingAccording to StatsCanada, family sizes will begin to shrink in the upcoming years (StatsCanada, 2013). Fertility rates have dropped compared to the Baby Boomer demographic, with many couples having fewer to no children or their children have reached adulthood and moved out. Divorce rates and separation rates are still high, says StatsCanada, leading a once larger family unit to separate by leaving a larger home to live apart into two smaller households. One graph, reinforcing the above theories, illustrates the growing trend of most inhabitants living in one-person or two-person homes rather than the five-person home of decades past:

Image source: (StatsCanada, 2013)

Hence, Canadians are more likely to share their home with fewer people, and thus, their homes would thus be much smaller in scale.Another factor is the demographics of the inhabitants in Canadian homes. In 2016, it is estimated that 5.9 million inhabitants will be aged 65+ (15.9% of total population) (uOttawa, 2013). Five years later, in 2021, it is predicted that number will rise significantly to 6.9 million (17.8% of total population), and most likely even more so by 2025. Again, the children of the Baby Boomer population are now leaving their family homes to live independently (StatsCanada, 2013). The Baby Boomers, having reached retirement age, will have less income and family support to accommodate larger homes. One can thus predict that this would lead to a trend of more people in this sizeable age group moving out of larger houses into either smaller homes or condos.

Home Designs: What is the Appeal of Smaller Homes?I have discussed above why the change of demographics and population would play an important factor in the growing demand for smaller homes. The industry in recent years has realized a trend of consumer appeal for smaller homes – different than the “McMansion” suburban dream homes of the 1990s – which will most likely continue in the future. Why is there an interest? Are houses treading down the same road as our digital devices over the years to become smaller, more compact, yet offer increased efficiency and features?• Addresses environmental concerns. A decline in the construction of current large, detached homes will lead to a reduction of waste: “Seen from a contemporary perspective, high-density homes are now regarded as an urban solution to some of the environmental consequences of sprawl” (Friedman, 2014).• "Homeowners cannot afford the large homes of the '80s-2000s era" (Friedman). “’I don’t think it’s a matter of personal preference, people just can’t afford to live in those big houses anymore.’” – Brian Johnston, COO of Mattamy Corp. (Canada’s largest builder of new homes) on growing mini-home trend (Hopper, 2012). Consider the price of property tax, electricity bills, gas bills, and general maintenance.• Less time spent on maintenance and more time spent on other projects, which will appeal to the average homeowner, not only the elderly. Most employed Canadians probably do not enough time to take care of the upkeep to maintain a presentable large home.• Existing technologies in the home (computers, televisions, etc.) will require less space. Compare the width of a television set from 2003 to popular models released today.• Overall concept of “Smaller space, bigger lifestyle,” as described by Akua Schatz. Ben Taddei, COO of ParkLane Homes in Vancouver claims: “People are doing with less space, but they want it to be a richer experience...Large landings, sweeping staircases, those have all gone the way of the dodo bird’” (Hopper, 2012).

Sagar Patel

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