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Has COVID Affected How We Choose To Live?
Dated: November 9 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live our lives. Whether you call it a lockdown, shelter-in-place, or quarantining, the new practice of avoiding close, sustained physical contact with people outside of our immediate households has been one of the most important ways to stop the spread of the virus.
Such lifestyle changes have also impacted where we live and with whom. Bosley Agent Rob Sansone has seen a trend in families who are nesting: they’re staying home more and doing things at home like growing their own vegetables. They are also consolidating their families. Some of Sansone’s clients have sold mom and dad’s house or even their kids’ houses and purchased larger houses that can fit several families in one home. These multi-generational residences serve several purposes in a world transformed by COVID-19.
First, a multi-generational home can keep the family bubble intact. Rather than taking trips back and forth to visit or check in on those members of the family who are part of your bubble - but not part of your household - these families can now take care of everyone under one roof.
Another reason people are considering consolidating the family home is the increase in buying power. By pooling resources, families can get the dream home for which they’ve been yearning. They could even get a larger house that will allow them to live with Grandma and Grandpa, instead of traveling to visit them on an infrequent basis and having to stay physically distanced.
Bosley Agent Steven Fudge has also witnessed this trend among his own clients. Multi-generational households can avoid the tragedies that many Canadians grappled with as COVID-19 decimated the residents of long-term care facilities. Fudge understands why anyone who worried about losing their extended family due to COVID-19 may now be reassessing their personal needs and the needs of their family. He notes that families may be changing their minds about long-term care homes and starting to reconsider their housing situation.
It’s not an exaggeration to state that long-term care facilities were the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Statistics from a study conducted by the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicate that long-term care homes have accounted for more than 80% of the COVID-related deaths in Canada so far.
Sansone has also been keeping a close eye on the downtown condo market. He’s noticed how it’s been impacted by a lack of immigration from international students as well as the severe reduction in international travel. The changes in policies governing Air BnBs have also transformed the condo market considerably.
To better understand where the market is going, Sansone mentions the pied-à-terre. A French term that loosely translates to “foot on the ground,” the pied-à-terre has traditionally been characterized as a secondary dwelling used for a more temporary stay. However, these are different from the typical vacation cottage.
People who have pieds-à-terre utilize them for various reasons. They may travel frequently for business and want to save on renting a hotel. They may regularly visit family members in another city, like college-aged children. They also may want to cut down on lengthy commutes between their home and workplace. A pied-à-terre is often smaller than one’s primary residence and might be a one-bedroom or studio apartment. This allows owners to have a stable secondary home at a reduced price.
Sansone predicts that many of the condos that were previously purchased for international students or used for Air BnBs will eventually become pieds-à-terre. He predicts that people who live outside of the city will want to use these secondary residences when they come downtown for the weekend to go see a play (whenever those do return). Instead of buying cottages as a second home, many people will purchase a condo as a pied-à-terre so they can come back to the city for the essential services that they will want.
Whether it’s the tendency for people to buy larger, multi-generational housing or smaller pieds-à-terre, the Bosley Agents are tracking the nuances of the ever-changing market very closely.
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