Raising a family in 500 sq.ft.

Toronto’s real estate market heated up in February, but with new build levels on the decline nation-wide, it doesn’t look like we’ll address our housing supply shortage anytime soon. It’s reasonable to assume prices will continue to rise. 

We’ve talked about how challenging it is for younger buyers to get into the market. For those that do, it likely means a small one-bedroom or studio, perhaps with a closet-sized den, if you’re lucky. Tight living-quarters like these aren’t exactly affordable. It’s not unusual for a 500 sq.ft. condo in downtown Toronto to sell for something north of $600,000. 

Traditionally, people in their late 20s and early 30s have embarked on starting a family. While many people start families later than they would have, say, 50 years ago, it can only be delayed for so long. So, the question become, how do you fit a family in a one bedroom condo?

A recent trend in the new builds that are under construction is kid zones. Spaces for kids to play and grow. There are at least 9 developers selling condos in Toronto right now with drawings that include dedicated kid zones. Some, like the Artworks Tower in Regent Park, have an arcade for older kids (and adults). Nearby, Du East Boutique Condos are incorporating both an outdoor playground and a kids play area – complete with padded reading areas and climbing walls. 

By offering spaces like these, parents can keep their living rooms free of the mess caused by child play, and ensure their kids have an easy way to interact with other children – outside of the school system. An extension of these spaces could see extracurricular activities and classes moving into the building, saving parents time and money. 

Extra play space is great, but it doesn’t solve the problem of where to put kids at night. No matter how plush your living room carpet is, it’s never going to make a suitable bed. That’s where multi-purpose furniture comes in. I love the idea of couch-to-murphy-bed pieces like this one. 

There are plenty of other tiny-home hacks that make it possible to fit more than two people in a small apartment, you just need to get creative. 

As home prices rise, what concessions are you making to afford you the lifestyle you want while living in a smaller footprint?

Leave a Reply