“It’s all part of our larger vision,” says Lea Barbic, business development manager at apartments.ca, which facilitates finding, furnishing and moving in to first-floor rental apartments throughout Toronto.
“There’s been a lot of discussions in the city about addressing millennials and people on the whole lack of housing and what could help address this issue,” Barbic says. “We’re trying to provide more options to help meet young people’s needs.”
It seems to be working. Many recent graduates and millennials choose to live in more affordable multi-level apartment complexes, renting suites in apartments where they can grab groceries, cook and prepare their own meals, which, as we’ve seen in the last few years, can be a lot easier than, say, cooking a crock pot dinner with a head cold.
There’s also the hassle-free and all-in-one amenities to consider. Live near the U.S. border? There’s an Airbnb-like service available that will find you rentals at the foot of the Molson and Molson channels, so that you don’t have to traipse all the way back to your fancy digs to defrost on the way home.
It’s also a way to avoid the chore tax. As Barbic points out, such complexes feature plenty of kitchens, kitchens that allow good portion sizes, so that roommates can stuff together a whole table meal and sublet a kitchen while they take a run to McDonald’s — rather than having to trade off with the person who needs the kitchen more.
There’s not always a place for them to eat, though, so a realtor can recommend areas that cater to students in particular — likely more than the sometimes 40-plus square foot bedrooms in downtown complexes, where the bathrooms are often small and the bedrooms too small to even have a mattress to sleep on.
“Obviously, older folks would prefer to be in a single-family home, which is not uncommon,” Barbic says. “This is just a place where you can at least live in a apartment space with the basics — you can drive to work, you can cook, you can have nice quality food; you can cook your own food, and perhaps that helps avoid some of those commutes.”
Wherever people prefer to be, if they’re in an apartment, the benefits should be there, from an investment perspective.
“If you see that apartment or that space a lot and how it’s transformed over the years and how it’s been renovated, then obviously when you renovate — and this is really important when you’re buying — you’re making an investment,” Barbic says. “You’re making an investment in yourself in terms of space and in terms of being able to look back at it 10 years from now and be like, ‘wow, this is just amazing.’”