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Family Sized Condos

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#1

Eug

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#2
My downtown condo/townhouse complex had some (1400 sq. feet). One thing I noticed is nobody bought them to raise kids. They were mostly bought by empty nesters downsizing from big houses. All the new families moved elsewhere. The new families were those who bought as childless couples and then had a kid. Instead of getting a bigger condo/townhouse, they usually bought a semi-detached or something instead, or else another townhouse in a more family friendly area.

And there's the rub. Many of the downtown condo/townhouse units are in traditionally non-family friendly areas. A few swings and stuff doesn't make an area family friendly either.

Interestingly, from the time I bought to the time I sold, the 2-bedroom 1000 sq. ft. places went up by about 80% in price. The 3-bedroom 1400 sq. ft places went up by about 50ish% IIRC over the same time period.
 

prosperegal

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#3
Areas can always be MADE family-friendly. I'd love to be able to spend $1M+ on a 3+den bedroom condo downtown so I'd be close to theatres, museums, etc...without having to drive much, if I can.

I think this culture is too kid-focused. It's to a point that many people in my age group don't know how to be grown-ups, even though we're approaching 30 or are already over that. It's only worse for the younger ones. The only young people I know who're remotely close to being grown up are those who've lived abroad or have parents who're very "international."
 

Monaco

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#4
Areas can always be MADE family-friendly. I'd love to be able to spend $1M+ on a 3+den bedroom condo downtown so I'd be close to theatres, museums, etc...without having to drive much, if I can.

I think this culture is too kid-focused. It's to a point that many people in my age group don't know how to be grown-ups, even though we're approaching 30 or are already over that. It's only worse for the younger ones. The only young people I know who're remotely close to being grown up are those who've lived abroad or have parents who're very "international."
One million plus dollars is not exactly overwhelmingly "family-friendly" to a lot of people. However, I do know that a lot of very "international" families are also very "riche" :eek:)

Even though it is slowly changing, many people have always imagined a big house with a big yard for their family. Condos have a lot of rules that are not exactly family-friendly either, so that needs to change too. Hell, a lot of them are not even very pet-friendly! And I think kids are noisier, more unpredictable and require more tolerance from the condo community than pets.
 

Eug

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#5
Areas can always be MADE family-friendly.
Not quickly. The city isn't going to be building a school unless the kids are already there for example.

I think this culture is too kid-focused. It's to a point that many people in my age group don't know how to be grown-ups, even though we're approaching 30 or are already over that.
I don't even know what that means. Are you trying to say a culture that values children makes adults immature? If so, I would disagree with that.
 

greenleaf

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#6
This is good. Instead of only putting the 3 bedrooms at the penthouse level (which thus command a higher price) I would hope that they put some on the lower floors.

My wife and I are planning to buy a 3 bedroom down the line, and we're looking at older buildings because they actually have these kinds of units. We want to live in an area bound by Bloor, Church, Wellesley, and Queen's Park. Luckily this area does have older and (somewhat) affordable 2+1 or 3 bedrooms.
 

Eug

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#7
This is good. Instead of only putting the 3 bedrooms at the penthouse level (which thus command a higher price) I would hope that they put some on the lower floors.
What I was getting at is some already do, but they've been a tougher sell. It's much easier to move units that are 2 bedrooms or smaller. Despite the continued claims that 3-bedroom condos are the next market, it's just never taken off. If they were doing better, the market would respond in kind.

3-bedroom condo/townhouses downtown in my (limited) experience move a lot slower, and tend to appreciate more slowly as well.

To put it another way, the appreciation on a 3-bedroom unit in terms of actual dollars may not be that much higher than a 2-bedroom unit, even though the 3-bedroom unit is considerably more expensive to buy. It seems people would much rather take that half-million dollars plus and put that towards a house. I remember one condo analyst saying the same thing at the Globe in an interview. There seems to be a real price ceiling for the main condo market (excluding luxury units), and that ceiling is close to the price of decent entry level homes. Downtown 3-bedroom condos are at that price ceiling.
 
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prosperegal

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#8
Not quickly. The city isn't going to be building a school unless the kids are already there for example.
If one moves to a condo in the midtown or say, "Mel Lastman Land" (i.e. "downtown" North York) area, there are plenty of very good schools.


I don't even know what that means. Are you trying to say a culture that values children makes adults immature? If so, I would disagree with that.
Yes, I do. Like I said, too many adults (those under 40, anyway) don't really know how to BE adults. We don't know how to dress like grown ups, behave like grown ups, etc. Kids learn from watching. If you keep kids away by making them do kid things all the time, then they'll never learn. For example, as much as I hate DVDs and colouring books at the dining table (especially if it's at a nice restaurant(i.e. one that does NOT have a kids' menu)), it's sometimes BETTER to bring a 6 year old there than to keep him/her at home with the sitter. There, he/she would learn what the grown-ups eat by observation. They're going to learn more about foods at an earlier age. They'd probably be healthier, too, since kid-friendly food is basically processed cr@p.
 

Eug

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#9
If one moves to a condo in the midtown or say, "Mel Lastman Land" (i.e. "downtown" North York) area, there are plenty of very good schools.
I was talking about downtown Toronto specifically. Maybe it'd work better in North York in terms of accessibility to schools etc, but if you're gonna live in North York then you're missing out on a lot of the downtown attractions, which may make condo living less attractive for some (but not all of course).


Yes, I do. Like I said, too many adults (those under 40, anyway) don't really know how to BE adults. We don't know how to dress like grown ups, behave like grown ups, etc. Kids learn from watching. If you keep kids away by making them do kid things all the time, then they'll never learn. For example, as much as I hate DVDs and colouring books at the dining table (especially if it's at a nice restaurant(i.e. one that does NOT have a kids' menu)), it's sometimes BETTER to bring a 6 year old there than to keep him/her at home with the sitter. There, he/she would learn what the grown-ups eat by observation. They're going to learn more about foods at an earlier age. They'd probably be healthier, too, since kid-friendly food is basically processed cr@p.
Sorry, but that makes little sense. Downtown condo living is not going to solve the problem of less-than-ideal parenting.
 

prosperegal

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#10
I was talking about downtown Toronto specifically. Maybe it'd work better in North York in terms of accessibility to schools etc, but if you're gonna live in North York then you're missing out on a lot of the downtown attractions, which may make condo living less attractive for some (but not all of course).



Sorry, but that makes little sense. Downtown condo living is not going to solve the problem of less-than-ideal parenting.
Why? It's easier to go places if you live downtown. When I was growing up in the Bayview and Steeles area, we went once a week, and that was because I took piano at the Royal Conservatory on Bloor. It's an effort and we did that because the teacher at the Con was one of the best. Had I taken lessons in North York? My family would probably never set foot south of Eglinton.
 

cdr108

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#11
People living in countries outside of North American have been living in family sized condo apts for decades. Having said that, we're talking about ~1200 SF, about the size of an average 3 bed house.

There's nothing wrong with condo living; however, its the cost that gets ridiculous when you start comparing it to freehold. In the above article, they mention prices from $500,000 ... and from what I've seen you can still buy a house d/t for that price.
 

Eug

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#12
Why? It's easier to go places if you live downtown. When I was growing up in the Bayview and Steeles area, we went once a week, and that was because I took piano at the Royal Conservatory on Bloor. It's an effort and we did that because the teacher at the Con was one of the best. Had I taken lessons in North York? My family would probably never set foot south of Eglinton.
My point is that if you suffer from poor parenting, just going downtown isn't going to solve that problem.

Interesting that you mention Eglinton by the way. I'd consider parts north of Eglinton very cosmo. Are you suggesting those who live near Lawrence disadvantaged? ;)


People living in countries outside of North American have been living in family sized condo apts for decades. Having said that, we're talking about ~1200 SF, about the size of an average 3 bed house.

There's nothing wrong with condo living; however, its the cost that gets ridiculous when you start comparing it to freehold. In the above article, they mention prices from $500,000 ... and from what I've seen you can still buy a house d/t for that price.
Bingo. Well, not quite. A decent one usually is more, but nonetheless is somewhere in that ballpark. That's why 3-bedroom condos are not a big draw in Toronto.

I personally like the idea of family-sized condos actually. I just think it's odd to suggest it's going to solve the problem of juvenile adults.
 

Granny

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#13
I was recently had a fascinating chat with some young parents at a get together recently.
The subject of 'family sized' units in the city was a hot subject.
The veteran 'burb' couples actually agreed with the one 'city' couple that was there. They seemed almost in awe of that couple.
What exactly is a family unit or a family neighborhood?
Are the suburbs really family oriented or is it just a huge myth?
Think about it.
You are young and starting out in life. You have a child on the way, and hoping for another someday, so you want a house with 3 bedrooms (four would be better) and a family room. You want a backyard for the kids to play in. You want to be reasonably close to a school. You want a great nurturing and secure enviroment for your family. Yo want to live well.

After a few drives out to several 905 locations on Sunday afternoons, you take the plunge and buy what you can afford in Milton, Bowmanville, or some outlying new area that has a brand new subdivision. Its a scenario thats been repeated thousands of times.

Now reality sets in.

That first Monday morning is the first big hit of many to come. You get up early, wake the the little one from his sleep, get him dressed and fed, and prepared for the babysitter. You rush through your morning routines, deliver the little one to the sitter and head for the highway. Wow! Where did all these cars come from? Certainly different than Sunday afternoon. The next two hours is spent in the car. You wonder how the drive home will be. You wonder what winter will be like. You wonder what traffic will be like in a few more years as more of these subdivisions around you get completed. You wonder if you need to gas up again. You wonder what that unfamiliar sound coming from under the hood could be. You wonder if you will get to work on time. You wonder what time you will be able to pick up the baby. You have lots of time to think about these things.

Weekend finally arrives, and you find yourselves totally exhausted. How do people do this year after year, you wonder. Oh, well. Time to get the houshold chores done and finally prepare a decent sit down family dinner after that first hellishly long week. Monday morning is just around the corner..waiting for you.

I could go on about just how much time the kids actually spend playing in that backyard, or how much time you actually will spend with your children playing in that backyard. Ahh, but when you do spend some time with them it will be 'quality time', won't it. Just buy them a couple of expensive video games. They will smile when they play the latest game. It will make you feel better while you take a break.

In a nutshell the suburbs really do not offer anything for your family that you can't get in the city and more. Family life in the suburbs is largely a an illusion. It actually robs you of the most valuable thing you have. Time.

The city couple with their little girl have learned the secret. Daycare is just around the corner. The school is 3 blocks away. The parks and Toronto island on the weekend are fantastic. So are the galleries, the museum, and the myriad of cultural events and activities. The office is a fifteen minute walk away. They pick up something fresh to prepare for the evening meal most days. The one late model car they own has not been filled up with gas for over six weeks. They are very content living in their two bedroom unit and they have something they will never trade away. They have time.
 

sbd

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#14
I also think it is somewhat of a fallacy that you have to either purchase the 1 million condo near the financial district or the house in the outer ring burbs to have a family house.

Nice semi-detached houses can be gotten on the out rings of downtown for $400-600k pretty easily. You can get three bedroom homes around Queen West, Riverdale, Roncy, The Danforth, Leslieville, etc, that are only 10 min transit ride outside of the downtown core and are surrounded by parks, stores and culture.

Families have lived in these places for 70-100 years
 

Eug

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#15
In my condo complex, almost every single family who had a 2-bedroom unit and a child moved out. The units were just too small.

The point though is they didn't move out to the boonies. They moved to places like Riverdale. Still very close to the "action", but they had a yard and other neighbourhood kids. [EDIT: sbd beat me to it.]

I don't have any kids. I also moved out of downtown, even further than Riverdale. However, I made the point of having less than a 30 minute commute to work (midtown) or downtown. I have no problems going to downtown for the restaurants or shows whenever I want, yet I still have the house and yard. This is in stark contrast to those who I know who moved out to Richmond Hill. They essentially never go downtown... but they are very content where they are, and their kids are just fine thank you very much.

ie. The downtown living isn't really about the kids. It's about the parents. THEY want to live downtown. That's fine, but don't confuse their desires with the well-being of the kids.


I also think it is somewhat of a fallacy that you have to either purchase the 1 million condo near the financial district or the house in the outer ring burbs to have a family house.

Nice semi-detached houses can be gotten on the out rings of downtown for $400-600k pretty easily. You can get three bedroom homes around Queen West, Riverdale, Roncy, The Danforth, Leslieville, etc, that are only 10 min transit ride outside of the downtown core and are surrounded by parks, stores and culture.

Families have lived in these places for 70-100 years
Yup, and it's interesting to know that price range is where the 3-bedroom condos are as well. I personally probably wouldn't consider a $400000 semi, but then again, I probably wouldn't be buying a $400000 3-bedroom condo either. OTOH, nice 2-bedroom condos are usually under $400000, which is why they are so much more popular.
 
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