The heyday of the single-family home is likely drawing to a close in B.C.
The promised provincial legislation, expected this fall, is predicted to encourage more multi-family building provincewide.
To be clear, if you love the detached home, don’t panic. They are still a thing and will be seen in Squamish and beyond for decades to come.
According to the Statista Research Department, in 2018, there were 7.67 million detached single-family homes in Canada, and there is expected to be 7.89 million in 2023.
The District of Squamish’s Jonas Velaniskis told The Squamish Chief that these changes take time to trickle down to a community.
But we will continue to see more multi-family development.
There are things to love about the privacy, space and ability to customize and entertain that make single-family homes attractive, but one thing that should be part of the local discussion about these multi-family developments is the many advantages of this way of life, beyond comparable affordability.
It can be quite awesome, frankly.
As anyone who has raised kids in a townhouse complex can attest, there are many other pluses for families.
The most obvious is the socialization of children. There’s something about the closer proximity that makes little hands knocking on doors to see if Junior can play much more likely. These kids grow up together and are likely to spend time in each other’s homes. No need to arrange a playdate to visit a friend. Just knock.
There is also the multi-generational aspect. Many of us are far from our extended family, so having the empty nest senior couple in the townhouse on the corner, next to the unit with the young family, next to the middle-aged couple, creates an extended family of sorts.
With kids of all ages, there are often built-in babysitters, too.
There is also the security of living close together. Side-by-side, neighbours are far more likely to recognize a noise that isn’t right — like a bear or burglar — or a van that doesn’t belong, than in spread-out neighbourhoods.
(Want to attract severe side eye, be a stranger walking up to a playground at a local townhouse complex.)
Residents are also more likely to see a neighbour struggling to fix a tire, pitch in quickly to help find a missing dog, or share a freshly baked batch of cookies with each other than in single-family neighbourhoods.
Plus, there is less maintenance in stratas, and shared amenities, like clubhouses, gyms and communal gardens.
This isn’t news to many folks around the world.
While the detached one-family home is most prevalent in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, that is not the case everywhere. In the U.K., Asia and parts of South America, flats or apartments are very popular.
All this to say, seeing more multi-family developments in town is not something only to wring our hands about. It’s also something to celebrate and look forward to.