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This is yet another pandemic-driven housing trend

The pandemic has catalyzed a lot of real estate trends, one of the lesser known of which is multigenerational living in luxury abodes.

Multigenerational households usually consist of three generations and are most common in Sino- and Indo-Canadian communities. However, the COVID-19 crisis has taken it to a whole new level, says Matt Smith, broker of record and licenced partner of Engel & Völkers Parry Sound.

“This has been going on for quite some time, and it’s family members pooling their assets to buy something they couldn’t otherwise afford on their own,” Smith told CREW. “It’s also very pandemic-driven; people want to have all family members under the same roof for security purposes, for lack of confidence in the long-term care facilities.”

Smith added that the trend has grown in the GTA’s Persian community, too.

Because at least three generations live under one roof, the homes tend to be no smaller than 6,500 sq ft and typically come with larger bedrooms, amenities like home gyms, pools and tennis courts, and there’s even demand for home elevators to accommodate the elderly.

Most purchases are concentrated in the northern and western peripheries of the GTA, like Mississauga, Brampton, Kleinburg, Vaughan, Nobleton, and Uxbridge.

“The trend began last summer, and I’ve done at least a dozen sales of this kind,” said Smith. “I have one in Nobleton right now that’s a mini mansion with a backyard oasis, wine bar, pool, gym, you name it. Every inquiry I’ve gotten has been a three-generation household. This trend will definitely continue, even if it wanes a little bit coming out of the pandemic. These purchases are long-term strategic family decisions.”

luxury households are preponderantly a result of the pandemic, and not just because, as Smith alluded to, families sought to protect each other under one roof. With schools closed and parents tasked with their children’s care in addition to their careers, grandparents have assumed the role of caregivers. Moreover, with offices closed and the work-from-home experiment a resounding success, families are no longer bound to dense urban cores with equally compressed housing lots.

Realtor Norman Xu recounted how his kids could no longer attend primary school in the wake of the COVID-19-induced lockdown in March 2020, so his parents moved into his home to help look after his children.

“I work from home and my family has been giving me a lot of care and helped me with different things like taking care of our kids since they could not go to school,” said Xu. “Since more people have had to work from home, the working generation needs better space, meaning larger homes so that they have quieter work areas. At the same time, families are no longer as sensitive to location as they were before the pandemic, so it’s logical for them to move out of core areas.”

About the Author

Neil Sharma is the Editor-In-Chief of Canadian Real Estate Wealth and Real Estate Professional. As a journalist, he has covered Canada’s housing market for the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, National Post, and other publications, specializing in everything from market trends to mortgage and investment advice. He can be reached at neil@crewmedia.ca.

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