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Families in Toronto

In Vancouver ...

A push is on to build larger condo units in Vancouver, as young families increasingly opt for a type of housing that is at once more affordable and cosmopolitan.

In recognition of the growing trend, developers are starting to build a greater number of three-bedroom units, once as rare as hen’s teeth.

Condos with three bedrooms “are relatively unheard of in multi-unit residential projects,†says Sasha Faris, marketing director at Intergulf Development Group in Vancouver. But no longer.

Faris points to a new condo and townhouse project called The Empire on Cambie St., overlooking Queen Elizabeth Park. Of 166 units, 22 are three-bedroom units.

The developer did not anticipate the demand for the big suites and so, The Empire’s floor plans had to be modified, with several one-bedroom units combined to create 12 of the larger units.

The larger units are being sought both by well-off boomers entering retirement and young families snubbing suburbia.

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association reports the number of families with children living in the city’s core has more than doubled between 2001 and 2011.

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We used to live in an apartment in the Annex. Eight years ago, when our second child was born, we moved out to the burbs and have been here ever since. Cost was the main factor for us. No way we could afford a home downtown, and the apartment was too small to hold a growing family. The idea of family-sized condos sound great. I would move back into the city in a heartbeat if there was something large enough and affordable.
The biggest issue with family-sized condos is cost; on a per square foot basis they are typically more expensive than most houses. It's fine if you don't mine cramming 4 people into <1000 square feet but most don't...