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Micro units are smaller than average suites, more affordable and offering a number of luxuries within a small space. Coming complete with a kitchen, bed, and washroom, these smaller apartments are more common overseas but have begun to pop up in various cities throughout the United States and Canada. The City of Vancouver and other parts of the country where housing is becoming less affordable for families, these micro units are becoming quite popular.

Micro units can be defined as any apartment smaller than 314 square feet. They have not typically been popular in the past as the traditional view has always been that the more space, the better. Not so. The real estate market in Canada is changing and the City of Toronto is even beginning to see some early versions of micro units being developed. Meanwhile in Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna, and other parts of British Columbia, the demand is growing. The future of real estate in Canada may be these micro units.

More and more, the real estate industry is moving towards a place where traditional housing is no longer affordable to the average family. These are becoming luxury properties for the upper middle class. The rise of condos and micro units has answered this crisis, being able to offer far more affordable properties than anywhere. The pressurized housing market has an opportunity to adapt to these micro units, which offer families a reduced space but at a far more affordable cost, requiring less maintenance and the opportunity to save on rent or mortgage.

Admittedly the idea of a micro unit may not be exciting to some but one has to see a micro unit before passing judgment. There are some exquisitely built micro units available in the condo market in Canada, providing built-in necessities one would expect – i.e. bath, shower, microwave, desk, bed, etc. – alongside a luxurious design making the most of the space available. Though micro units are slow to be accepted in Canada, they are gaining in popularity in high density cities abroad such as in Hong Kong, have long been popular in the UK, and are beginning to be widely built in places across Europe and the world. How the Canada real estate market will change to the building of micro units comes with its own challenges but this may in fact raise the value of existing condo units. Those who choose to buy a condo in Toronto now may be able to see quite the benefits in the future, as values continues to rise and the city and country continue to grow into the next few decades.

when it's closed....
when it’s closed….

There is something to be said about tradition in the Canadian real estate market. Micro units are not essentially Canadian based and because of that, property buyers may be slow to take to it. Micro units does present challenges however these challenges can be easily overcome. Many Canadians, not used to it, might think of micro units as being confining or inappropriate for a family. The truth about micro units however is that they prove to be particularly favorable to those families or home buyers looking to downsize. Micro units can be customized according to the wishes of the property owner and additionally, could give a resident access to some of Toronto’s most exciting inner city, urban areas without having to pay exorbitant mortgages or rents. This allows a family to save on space and money, maximizing the resources available to them, living a minimalist life, and enjoying the city for themselves.

when it's open...
when it’s open…

A recent study on micro units in Canada revealed that the average micro unit in a major Canadian city is priced approximately 31% less expensive than the average condo unit. Right now presently there are not very many micro units available in Toronto, little to none actually. As the idea develops in western Canada, there’s no reason to believe that it won’t be adapted to Toronto when the time is right. Micro units have the opportunity to contribute luxury units, affordable to working professionals, students, and even some families, giving them the chance to save money for future real estate investments and to grant them access to the city. As the condo real estate market in Toronto, Canada continues to change, with micro units on their way, families are going to feel more welcome in the city and in units that are more in tune with a family’s unique, individual needs.

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Jason LeBlanc

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