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Tag Archives: Century 21 canada

Bye bye bungalow

Garry Marr – Financial Post

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] spent the first seven years of my life living in a bungalow, a one-storey structure where we all slept on the main floor with a playroom for the kids in the basement. I have good memories.

The house still exists but if you listen to the real estate community, bungalows in the city will soon be extinct, a victim of soaring land prices and demands from families for more indoor space at the expense of larger backyards.

The problem is it’s no longer economically feasible.

“Bungalow?” Don Lawby, the chief executive of Century 21 Canada can’t seem to stop laughing at the mere mention of the word. “I haven’t heard it in a long time.”

He says it has become a routine matter to buy bungalows for the purpose of tearing them down and building a much larger two-storey home.

“It’s a townhome, condo, rent or a rancher home [away from the city],” says Mr. Lawby, about the choices Baby Boomers will be facing in the coming years.

As they age — and depending on the definition I may be part of that group — their housing needs will dominate the market and the bungalow is an attractive option as your knees and the rest of your body goes.

[pullquote]The Conference Board of Canada predicts that by 2030 about 80% of new housing demand will come from consumers in their golden years.[/pullquote]

There’s little question bungalow buyers face an uphill battle in prime urban areas to secure property ahead of builders. The No. 1 concern for most buyers after location is how many square feet do you get for the money, but thinks that ignores an entire aging demographic.

“Maybe with all the Boomers retiring and heating costs rising, the days of the 4,000 square foot home are numbered?” he says, noting at 50 his knees are already gone but the last thing he wants to do is live in a condominium.

“Bungalow buyers are concerned primarily with style. It’s bungalow lifestyle first, other factors are secondary. Maybe they want/need everything on one floor,” notes Mr. Gibson, on the site.

David Batori, a Toronto agent, says he just sold a 33 by 120 foot lot with a bungalow on it for about $960,000.

He says a builder purchased it and plans a new home, which will sell for close to $2-million. Instead of housing a 900-square-foot home with a good-sized yard, the lot will instead have a tiny backyard and a 3,200-square-foot house.

“The numbers don’t work. You have to consider a condominium or moving out of the city,” he says.

Brian Johnston, president of Monarch Corp., says his company is building bungalows but had to go out to Caledon, about 60 kms northwest of Toronto.

“You like to build bungalows where the land is cheap and that doesn’t exist in the greater Toronto area.  It’s a bit of a conundrum,” Mr. Johnston says.

What he’s building are homes where just about everything is on the main floor with perhaps some type of office or loft on a tiny second floor.

“In essence it is the avoidance of stairs,” says Mr. Johnston. “What we are finding is empty nesters or move-down buyers who want that. They want something where somebody is not on the other side of the wall.”

But the bottom line is that today’s consumer is willing to pay a premium for indoor space. They don’t care about backyards.

“Sometimes we are trying to put as much indoor square footage on a lot as we can go. We’ll build to the building envelope as mandated by the municipality and as high as we can,” says Mr. Johnston. “That’s what the consumer wants.”

And that’s why it’s bye, bye bungalow and, one day, my childhood home.

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto Realtor with Century 21 Regal Realty. He did not
write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who are
interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.