A housing type about to sweep the nation

by Justin da Rosa04 May 2016
This trend in housing will help your clients more easily afford a home – and gain you larger commissions.

Multi-generational homes are the way of the future, according to one architecture expert, and they provide a more affordable option for homebuyers.

“I think realtors should be keeping an eye out for homes that can be adapted for this possibility without huge modifications or land that can be easily redeveloped,” Toon Dreessen, president of the Ontario Assocation of Architects, told REP. “(Buyers) may not be able to afford this home on your own, but think of the possibilities of being able to redevelop or re-invest to have a basement rental unit and have (their) elderly parents move in; that flexibility allows home ownership to become more affordable.”

The trend in multi-generational homes, much like the trend in condos, was borne from an increased desire to densify in big cities.

However, trying to raise families in smaller apartments is more difficult – for obvious reasons – according to Dreessen. Which is pushing many buyers to consider multi-generational homes.

“Housing prices we see for larger apartments and units price families out of the market for entry-level homes,” he said. “So, these forces are combining to suggest that a smaller-scale density, the three storey, four storey home, that has both the rental income capacity or commercial use combined with multi-generational housing allows you to address a number of issues – affordability, long-term sustainability of the investment.”

And while multi-generational homes may cost buyers more in the short-term, they do allow buyers to take on more home, with the help of their parents.

“The challenge of Millenials (or baby boomers ) having elderly parents who aren’t ready or don’t need to be in a care facility but also you don’t want them to be living alone,” Dreessen said. “It allows you to bring these factors together.”


  • by LanceH 5/4/2016 12:39:03 PM

    I've always promoted homes with income (and practice what I preach!). Now that CMHC uses 100% of rental income to help buyers qualify,
    for sure this is a gooder idea! Whether it's parents, or adult children, or strangers to income qualify, or even if it sits empty, one can still use the space as a rec room and bedroom(s) as home offices, (or music room, or craft room, or . . . or . . . )

  • by Lorenzo 5/4/2016 2:10:23 PM

    I am opposed, for the most part, to apartment rentals anywhere... because most such places attract itinerant tenants who don't take such good care of their living spaces and that's simply because they don't own them. Further, density creep means more traffic, parked cars everywhere, pizza deliveries at all hours of the night, taxi cars coming and going at all hours... the quality of life for someone who owns his/her own house next to a rental dwelling is quickly gone and big-time annoyance creeps in.

  • by Tom 5/15/2016 6:04:14 PM

    If a new development of this housing type with proper planning to prepare services for no. of households to be brought in may not be a bad idea. However, if individual modification of single properties to house multi-families in an originally single family residential area is a bad idea, it would degenerate the living environment of the community and is not fair to those who do not need a rental basement to help paying for their mortgages. If a person could not afford to buy in one neighborhood, he can go any where else that he can afford, he should not border the existing residents who are enjoying their existing living environment in the community he could not afford.

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