Condo living: A question for the ages

Baby boomers and their younger counterparts often find themselves in a huge generation gap. The two demographics have very little in common with each other, but one thing they do agree upon is condo living.

The results of the National Household Survey show that both baby boomers and the under-35 crowd are opting to live in or purchase condos rather than traditional houses. Twenty per cent of current condo owners are under 35, while 26.1 per cent were aged 65 and older.

This presents an interesting situation for investors and condo-focused real estate agents. Some investors gravitate towards certain demographics, while agents sometimes market their listings to different age groups or lifestyles.

“What ultimately matters is whether there is a fit between the condo buyer and the property that is being sold,” says Grant Goldfarb, broker of record and owner of Lifestyles Realty Source Inc.

“This includes not only the condo unit itself, but also how well the property is maintained and the various amenities, in addition to selling price and other costs.”

While many condo residents like to live amongst others that are in their age demographic, there are some who prefer to live amongst a more diverse group of people. Goldfarb chalks this up to subjectivity, but he adds that some people like a little diversity in where they live.

“It is important to keep in mind though that most urban experts agree the most successful communities are those that are diverse and include people with a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and experiences, as well as singles, couples and families,” he explains. “This provides a rich environment that helps sustain the lifeblood of the community.”

In the past, condos were generally more attractive to retirees. But since then, young professionals have jumped on the bandwagon, and have been actively pursuing the condo way of life.

This is especially evident in Toronto’s downtown core, where a number of new condo buildings are under construction. The location of these condos, says Goldfarb, are conducive to their lifestyle and other personal needs.

“In urban environments, affordability, and the ability to live, work and play in the same neighbourhood, without needing a car or having to make the long commute to the suburbs on a daily basis,” Goldfarb says.

Condos continue to be a favourite amongst boomers because unlike living in a house, there are fewer demands, and more freedom.

Says Goldfarb, “The idea of not having to worry about maintaining a house and just live one's life, whether it be to travel, or pursue other activities, is very appealing to many boomers.”

Investors looking to fill tenancies generally find the best match possible. They look at many different qualities in potential tenants, but age demographic is not necessarily one of them.

“Investors should consider income, employment stability, credit cheques, references from employers and previous landlords and the overall quality of the tenant,” says Goldfarb.

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