HOME + GARDEN, TRENDS | February 25, 2008

IDS 08 | Imprinting a new North American lifestyle

upsizing the condo market at ids 08 : shangri-laMy husband saw a homemade flyer in front of the Royal York that was offering a $15,000 reward, no questions asked for returning a dog.

The super luxury housing market emerged over the last six months in Toronto with condo units now listed at 12 million dollars. With money comes experimentation and market differentiation.

An overview of a super luxury market in Toronto

The topic of one design talk at IDS 08 was Upsizing of the condo market: a lifestyle trend. What is happening right now is not just higher priced condominiums. The builders are offering more choices than ever to the consumers.

Some projects offer the freedom to design your unit with architects and designers before it is even built. Many builders hire a team of star architects and designers to make sure their design is well thought.

The average price of those super luxury condos are well over $1000 square feet. They come with a wide range of exclusive boutique hotel kind of services. The monthly fees for the penthouse of the Four Seasons reach about $8000. Well-known architects and designers unite to create stunning projects.

Why it is important for most of us?

Eventually what happens at the top end of the luxury market finds a way to reach a broader market over time? Innovations start at the higher end segment. But now, you can find modern stylish accessories and furniture to fit any budget.

If you know about the latest trends, you can challenge the builders so they will create more design-oriented condominium buildings.

Individual taste

If you read my article on the Top 10 design trends, the general message is that people wish to live in a space that reflects their individual style. In the past, you could only accomplish it by building your own house. That is what my parents always did.

My brother, who lives in a small town, bought a land 6 years ago, got his own plan and managed the construction of his house. All the houses on his street are build the same way. He lives in a street where every house looks different. I think it is time that we stop the super normalization of our city landscape.

Downsizing in square feet but upsizing in style

As more and more of the boomer generation continue to leave their suburban house to live in the smaller urban condominium, the market start to adapt to their demand. To have served them as an event designer, they are more diverse in style than marketers want you to think.

It was also a time when families with young children often refrain to decorate their house to their liking because of they were living with children. And let’s be frank; there were no stylish options for infant gears. This was before the emergence of several modern design baby object company that occurred over the last 5 to 6 years.

Exploring a new lifestyle

A small number of families with children (infants to teenagers) opt for urban living. I do believe that the suburban model is far from perfect. People want a backyard and a pool but it takes them two hours to get home. So they cannot really enjoy it. They cannot go a buy a bottle of milk without taking the car and you hear your neighbors mowing their grass when you want to relax. I know because it happens when I visit my friends.

The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation published the revealing 2005 report card. It demonstrated that, on average, the urban residents are healthier and less stressed than the residents of the suburbs. With all the cool specialty stores that you find in the city and the proximity of the convenience, I prefer my urban living.

Sourcing:
Learn more: Upsizing of the condo market: a lifestyle trend at the IDS 08
Learn more: Shangri-La Toronto – Kitchen photo
Learn more: Heart and Stroke Foundation 2005 Report Card On Canadians Health Has The Suburban Dream Gone Sour?

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4 Responses to “IDS 08 | Imprinting a new North American lifestyle”

  1. The main reason why condos have borned was changing demographics. Later, they have become as less costly alternative to owning a detached house. They started to be much more popular and preferred by consumers, therefore the reaction of the market was and still is growing prices that is absolutely normal. However, it is not just the case of Toronto condos, but all real estate market.

  2. But sometimes people want to stay in “their house ” which is full of their souvenirs and memories.

    Morover gardening is very popular and it is difficult to garden a lot in a condo.

  3. True, suburban living is far from perfect, but urban living does have it’s downsides too.

    For us, urban living with 2 kids (especially in the area we’d like to one day live) would be difficult and would lead to way more stress than where we are now. Real estate prices are unaffordable and there aren’t as many day care and educational options available to us. Though, we’re in the ‘burbs, we’re quite lucky. We have a nice-sized house (maybe a bit too big), a large pool and a big yard. We’re within walking distance of schools, day cares, grocery stores and our urban friend’s favorite pet store and work is but a 20 minute drive away (or 45 minute bike ride). All this for a fraction of the price for a similar sized house in the city (and less taxes).

    Yes, the hum of lawn mowers is quite prevalent on the weekend, but we rarely hear sirens, car horns and since we don’t share building, yard or parking with any of our neighbours we don’t have to deal with all-nite parties, loud neighbours, wrestling for limited parking spaces or beer bottles in our swimming pool ;)

    So, like suburban living, many of the downsides of urban living can also contribute to elevated stress levels.

    Admittedly, I prefer the vibe of the city, but for this stage in our life we’re more than happy with our place in the ‘burbs (that is until the kids move out!).

  4. Yes – this man is serious about giving away $15,000 for his missing dog. Turned out that a bunch of high school kids stole him while the dog walker tied him up to a pole and went into a variety store for a second, which a lot of ppl do! – poor man. i don’t know what i would do if someone stole my dog. i’d probably want to kill them.