Why are building lots so much smaller these days?

We all remember how the typical suburban or even urban homes looked when we grew up. Every house along the street had space for a fence, garage, driveway, and even a pool if they so chose – and still have a large enough lawn to mow.

Now, it seems like every new development is pushing homes closer and closer together. So what’s the deal? Why are building lots so much smaller these days?

Until recently, Canadians were crazed over having as much square footage as possible. Post-war homes expanded and newer builds were bigger than ever. In fact, Canada was listed as the top country in the world for having the most space in homes: more homes with at least five bedrooms than any other country.

Most Baby Boomers who grew up sharing a bathroom with their six siblings overtook the housing market and demanded as much space as possible even though families were smaller than ever. 

Cities are running out of space.

One major reason why lots have gotten smaller is obvious: cities just don’t have the space. Property sizes have gone down from an average of over 2,500 square feet per home during the early 2000’s to just over 1,500 sq feet in 2019.

As more people move to larger urban areas, and populations grow naturally, the space these cities had to offer larger lots to families have vanished. Instead, municipalities are looking at the future and strategizing so they don’t run off the city limits too soon and can provide home and shelter to as many people as possible. 

Millennials prefer a richer home over a richer lot.

Now that Millennials have taken over the largest portion of the working class and many have grown up with lots of space to run around, they’re choosing to purchase properties that provide more in the home than simply having a larger yard. Previous necessities like mudrooms, studies, and even TV rooms are no longer on their radar. Instead, one living room (if that) is sufficient and we can kick our shoes off at the door without the need for a separate room. And, frankly, with lower incomes and higher debt, these buyers often don’t have the means to spend as much on a home as their predecessors once did. Many would rather live a “richer” lifestyle through travel and experiences instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Naturally, as we no longer require or want all the extra space Boomer parents believed essential, homes and lots will become smaller.

Compared to other countries around the globe, Canada is still vast in home size. The UK, for example, is used to residing in homes that are 500 to 800 sq feet maximum and remain happy doing so. Even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lives in a townhome rather than the mansion we associate with the Trudeaus. 

Because the housing crisis makes it so.

In Kingston especially, it’s common knowledge that we don’t have enough housing for the number of families requiring a place to live. Housing availability has become exponentially competitive, and developers and the City continue to try and tackle this problem. Condominium buildings are being built at record speeds and new developments have even smaller lots than before – an attempt to help cure this shortage by fitting more homes into smaller spaces. 

Larger homes on large building lots are just, let’s face it, not as trendy as they used to be. They longer impress the working-class Millennials who would prefer to spend more on the actual home itself than to have a larger lawn to cut every other day. For many, a condo or townhome is just enough to make Canadians happy, especially when we’ve grown up now with the large homes of our Boomer parents and enjoy having extra money to spend than a larger mortgage.

What are your thoughts? Are you interested in finding a new property? We can help. Reach out for a conversation today!

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