The Shifting Landscape
Let’s face it, the world has changed. We don’t yet know if it will be for the better or worse, but there are developing trends that indicate signposts to the future. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways in which our future selves will live, according to the realities of the present.
We have already been hearing about companies like Twitter and Shopify who have told their employees that after the pandemic is over, they can continue working from home. What many companies are discovering is that their employees can stay as productive at home as they would normally be at the office. And while many will want to continue a work-from-home lifestyle post-COVID, will they want to or be able to afford the additional square footage required for a home office? This will have an impact on buying trends and the development of condos in the near future.
“Everyone would like a bigger place, and everyone would like a den and a home office, but, at the end of the day, affordability and the fact that units are denominated and costed by size, will mean that not everyone can get that,”
Reliance CEO Jon Stovell told Business in Vancouver.
While adding square footage to the size of a condo property is an easy response to consider for those wishing to work from home (WFH), there are many novel ways in which developers can accommodate shifting living circumstances. For example, the use of sliding doors and walls to separate larger rooms into smaller units, allowing for greater flexibility and privacy. And there is an increase in space-saving design techniques such as Murphy beds to increase livable square-footage in imaginative and creative ways:
Some small-space design trends in recent years include using wall space for a variety of functions, like wall-mounted, drop-leaf dining tables, and fancy built-ins to maximize storage. Another clever way to utilize wall space in a small dwelling is the tried-and-true Murphy bed.
Some architects have taken things a step further and have designed condos where even the walls, shelves, and beds can be re-configured on a tracking system throughout the condo unit itself.
Murphy beds ideas. Image courtesy of dwell.com
With so many creative and clever options available, if you get bored with the look of your condo one day, you can re-configure it to your changing mood the next.
Smaller is Better: Tiny Houses and Micro Condos
In our Future of Condos Series, we highlighted a trend towards the purchasing of smaller condos and tiny houses worldwide. This trend continues today and shows little sign of slowing down or stopping. As people are becoming more environmentally conscious, they’re realizing that they no longer need huge homes or living spaces in order to be content. Instead, the trend is moving away from antiquated forms of affluence, and today, the desire for less is more.
“At the end of the day, when you have to get into a quarter million, half a million dollars to get into a property, for many people today in an uncertain time, with uncertain wages and uncertain jobs, it’s just not feasible,”
Edmonton-based expert Kenton Zerbin, who runs workshops about building tiny homes, told The Canadian Press. But the reduced cost isn’t the only benefit to owning a tiny home. For many, it’s also about leading a minimalist lifestyle, minimizing their ecological footprint, and putting their finances towards better use.
The same trend is occurring for some new condo buyers as well:
Minimal design aesthetics and maximal real estate prices continue to drive the micro-condo trend. Also known as micro-units or apartments, these ultra-small and intricately designed properties are mostly made for singles and young couples. While living small is not for everyone, adjusting your size requirements is a great way to afford a modern condo in a desirable inner-city location.
Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org
We cannot determine what exactly will happen to the housing market over the next few years. However, we do know that many people have decided to ‘go small and go home’.
Moving into a Minimalist Future
Architectural minimalism has been growing in popularity at a steady rate. This appears to be more than a mere fad but an actual statement about how we wish to live in the present and into the future. As we have seen with World Wars, the Great Depression, and 9/11, humans often reevaluate their priorities and values in the face of large societal shifts. Perhaps once we get to the other side of this pandemic, we will see a genuine adjustment of how we define the ‘good life’; and that life will be greener and more sustainable.
Be sure to stay tuned as we delve ever deeper into our Future of Condos series. Check out The Electric Blog