COVID-19 is changing a lot about our world, but could it change the way we view housing?
That theory was posited by a recent article in The Globe and Mail: “COVID-19 puts urban density to the test.”
The article cited a report from the New Policy Institute, which found that areas of England with higher population density suffered higher rates of COVID-19.
As housing supply has become limited in major Canadian cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, attention has turned to dwelling types that encourage saving space. Condos, row houses, and semi-detached homes have grown as space for single-detached homes has declined.
With COVID-19 leading to more people working from home and caring for children at home, could it lead to a change in land distribution?
The Globe quoted Andy Yan, Director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, and Scot Hein, an urban designer, among others.
Yan pointed to the possibility that with COVID-19 encouraging people to stay home, smaller, cramped spaces may soon feel too small and too cramped for comfortable living.
“Urban density shouldn’t be assumed as just, ‘rack ‘em, pack ‘em and stack ‘em,’” Yan said to The Globe. “It should be a thoughtful convergence of design, amenities and public investment. Future physical distancing requirements will challenge the idea that urban density is the simple trade-off between small private space and a big city life.”
Hein did not think that urban density will go away with the pandemic, especially as we rely on social connectivity to get through, although he did note that poor density choices could lead to backlash.
“He says “no infections in my backyard,” will be the new NIMBY acronym,” The Globe wrote.
There have also been reports of Toronto residents looking for real estate in cottage country, such as Muskoka and Peterborough.
Max Hahne, broker of record at Engel & Völkers Collingwood Muskoka, was quoted in a recent Toronto Storeys article, “Toronto Homebuyers Looking to Buy in Cottage Country During COVID-19.”
Hahne said that he had been receiving an increased number of calls from Toronto homeowners looking to purchase a home up north — either as a second residence or because they had realized they could work from home or decided to take early retirement.
CBC News also reported that some families living in small apartments or multi-generational homes are finding it “impossible” to self-isolate due to lack of space.
How to Tap Into This Mortgage Trend
Whether urban density is changing or not, clients may be searching for more space — and your property data tools can help find it for them. Purview solutions allow you to investigate properties of interest across Canada. You can verify property details in large cities, sprawling suburbs, and rural areas from the same place.
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What do you think — is urban density here to stay? Or will land distribution be another fallout of COVID-19? Let us know on social media. Purview is on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.