Ten or twenty years ago, most couples who were expecting or planning to have children often fled from the downtown core in favour of living in the suburbs. Their main reason: space.But with the awful commute to and from Toronto now easily zapping two or more hours from a suburban-dwelling, downtown-working employee’s day, the case to stay and live downtown is becoming more convincing. Not surprisingly, the number of families living in downtown condominiums is steadily increasing.
But with the awful commute to and from Toronto now easily zapping two or more hours from a suburban-dwelling, downtown-working employee’s day, the case to stay and live downtown is becoming more convincing. Not surprisingly, the number of families living in downtown condominiums is steadily increasing.
It’s All about the Savings
In 2011, the number of households in condominiums in Toronto was 23 percent—the highest in the country. While the majority of condo owners in Toronto are still primarily non-family households, with the non-family household group representing 45.5 percent of all condo owners, the number of couples and family households residing in a condo is nonetheless growing. According to Statistics Canada, 42.5 percent of all condos in Toronto are owned by couple or family households, a number which is far higher than it’s ever been in the past.
Time is one major reason why more people are choosing to live closer to their jobs downtown, but another important consideration is how families can be saving money in other ways. For instance, by living downtown and so close to the TTC, many families find that rather than needing to buy or lease a second car and pay for car insurance, gas, parking, and maintenance and repairs, they can simply hop on the train or on a bus at a fraction of the cost whenever they need to.
City Increasing the Number of Family-Friendly Amenities in the Downtown Core
Not surprisingly, the increase in families choosing to live in the downtown core has prompted action from both condo designers and the city. Condominium designers are now focusing more and more on creating functional family spaces rather than ultra luxe layouts and furnishings. And the city is reacting to the increase in families by setting aside public land for more schools, including looking into new and innovative ideas such as “vertical schools.” In the meantime, they have also recently rebuilt Toronto’s oldest school, the Nelson Mandela School, to accommodate the recent increase in young students.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
While living in a condo with young children may not always be easy, living in the suburbs is becoming even less feasible for many families. Simply looking at the length of commute, child care expenses, and not to mention the cost of single detached homes and town homes doubling from the recent past, it becomes increasingly clear that the old suburban model is fast becoming outdated. A city centre condo will significantly reduce travel time (more time with the kids), can eliminate other expenses (money which can be applied towards the condominium expenses and then some), and can offer greater security for your family than a detached home in the outskirts.
All-in-all, when the pros and cons are carefully weighed and considered, you may be surprised which type of accommodation often comes out on top.