It’s hard not to notice that high-rise condos have taken over the urban scene across the country in recent years. The high-rises make sense: when you can’t build out, build up. And for young people and those who work in the heart of the city, a bustling downtown is attractive.
But in older, established downtown neighbourhoods, where housing tends to be fairly singular (detached and semi-detached homes on generously sized lots with large trees and lots of green space nearby), skyscrapers don’t fit.
That said, even these neighbourhoods have been changing. Many residents of older neighbourhoods are looking to downsize, but don’t want to move away from the area where they’ve raised their kids, walked their dogs and shopped. They don’t want to leave ‘home.’
There is a place like home.
Enter boutique condos. These buildings – unlike typical high-rise condo developments – tend to occupy a much smaller footprint, with larger units and traditional floorplans spread out over fewer storeys. And they’re located within footsteps of those leafy neighbourhoods.
A recent National Post article highlighted two Toronto developments, which have in common a mix of mid-rise condos and townhomes near established neighbourhoods with lots of outdoor space built in. They’re close to the amenities downsizers are looking for. In fact, they’re almost ‘home’: Downsizers – who typically can afford to spend more for housing than the young professionals seeking urban condos – can retain most aspects of their lifestyle in close proximity to the community they’re used to, but with less maintenance and more security.
They aren’t alone. Some boutique condo developers are also targeting younger families who need the kind of space boutique properties offer. But don’t expect boutique condos to come to a neighbourhood near you any time soon: not only is it harder to find land in older neighbourhoods, but those neighbourhoods tend to be more – sometimes prohibitively more – expensive for the average home seeker.