‘Convergence’ Is Shaping Urban Canada

A swing toward urbanism is shaping “Big City, North America.”

It’s those darn demographics again. Only this time it’s not just a baby boomer thing; it’s what some experts are calling a “convergence” between boomers and millennials, also called “Generation Y” and born between 1981 and 2000.

In their home searches, empty-nester boomers are looking for smaller houses in centrally located neighbourhoods within walking distance of everything.

Meanwhile, Gen Yers simply prefer the urban lifestyle. The result is an influx of buyers to downtowns and away from suburbia.

The heightened demand for these urban neighbourhoods is exceeding supply. In Canada, Torontonians have watched inventory drop and prices skyrocket for scarce downtown detached homes. A rental boomlet is underway, as Gen Yers are finding the urban lifestyle they want in rental apartments and condos.

Size matters, too. Both boomers and Gen Yers are finding that small is beautiful, purchasing smaller urban properties with postage stamp-sized yards or tiny downtown condos with expansive views.

The urban lifestyle also has some new fans: In Canada, an estimated 20% of recent Toronto real estate purchases were made by single women. Most are buying urban.

The full impact of the new urbanism has yet to be felt.

But it’s a good bet it will change the shape of cities – and suburbs – for some time to come.