Toronto’s most educated and highest-earning professionals have spoken: they want to live, work and play in one area. The problem? Space. Toronto’s young professionals are finding that there aren’t enough options for affordable housing that offer space. A recent Toronto Region Board of Trade survey of adults under 40 found that 87% of respondents say the city needs to make room for and build denser housing like condos with more than one bedroom, townhouses, laneway homes and granny suites.

Among the respondents, 74% were in favour of measures that will increase residential density and that includes the controversial laneway homes. While one-bedroom and one-bedroom plus den condos serve a purpose for young singles in the city, 62% of respondents said that Toronto needs more three-bedroom units. The respondents went so far as stating that there are “too many” one-bedroom units.

There’s a reason for this change. Some condo buyers buy a unit knowing that the development time of their building is about four years, but in some cases, that is moving up to five years of waiting time to get into their property. A lot can happen in five years, including the addition of a family to a single person’s life.

Current housing policies favour less density in the city, but researchers have found that this is at odds with what millennials in the city really want. Smart Growth land use policies encourage denser housing, but for millennials with families, the existing housing that is available is just too small. Some feel that the policies are written in support of what the parents of millennials want, which is not realistic. The not in my backyard (NIMBY) mentality that pervaded many years past has switched to a YIMBY attitude, of yes, in my backyard, as millennials strive to find housing that suits them and is affordable in the City of Toronto.

Studies have found that most people prefer to live in single-family detached houses, but that they also want close proximity to shops and services and a short commute time. Unfortunately, in Toronto, there is a limited supply of these types of homes near transit lines that aren’t completely unaffordable or in a dire state of repair.

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