Filling the Missing Middle in GTA Housing
Housing experts have identified a housing gap in North America, and it’s directly related to the demographic of new homebuyers, primarily Millennials, born between 1980 and 1999.
This group wants a walkable lifestyle so much they are willing to give up interior space for it. They’re young, mobile and career minded. They’ve put off having families for a while, but when they do start, they’re less interested in the big yard and more interested in being close to work, and to local amenities such as retail, medical and dental services, transit and transportation.
Millennials are the first generation to experience a decline in car ownership, so transit is essential to them. They’re willing to move out of the major cities and into satellite cities, as long as transit options are good, and their neighbourhood is walkable. In other words, they don’t want to be part of suburban sprawl.
The challenge is finding housing that is nice enough, large enough, and affordable enough. Therein lies the missing middle.
What is the Missing Middle?
The Missing Middle is multi-unit or clustered housing types that are comparable in design and scale to single family low rise homes, which are built in or near existing communities and thus meeting the growing demand for walkable urban living that is easily served by transit. This is a housing gap of roughly 35million units say North American housing experts.
The changing need happened while cities evolved starting with the emptying out of downtown cores in the 1960s and 70s in favour of the suburbs. With the energy crisis of the late 70s, the shift from manufacturing to technology, and greater immigration levels seeking homes in the core, there was a shift from suburb back to city centre. It led to the revitalization of formerly stagnant downtown cores and left the suburbs with empty parking lots and strip lots, and soaring land costs particularly in the cities. This reality has made the case for multi-unit buildings – townhomes, row housing, condos, semis – especially since a whole generation (Millennials) grew up on smaller footprints. And so, the impetus to create infill housing is happening not only in city centres, but in satellite towns and cities as well.
This missing middle housing is smaller and therefore must be better designed in order to be comfortable, usable and beautiful. It is also simply constructed with common areas shared by all, and with its better design, the resulting homes feel spacious and less dense than they really are. They also create a visual transition in scale between commercial main streets with mid-rise condos, and the two-story residential areas.
Streetsville is a perfect location for this missing middle type of housing. It’s young, with an average age of 38, and a range between 25 and 44. It has a GO Train station, and easy access to major highways. It has a main street with shops, restaurants and services. For all intents and purposes, the town is ideal for young homebuyers. Until now, it hasn’t had much to offer in the missing middle housing option of townhomes.
This notion of middle housing resonates with John Zanini, president of Dunpar Homes, who has always purchased land with precisely this kind of housing in mind. Throughout Dunpar’s history, small parcels of infill land – in downtown Toronto and in existing smaller towns — have been turned into luxury housing with smaller footprints, and shared outdoor common areas. These projects have offered GTA home buyers more bang for the buck – beautifully designed homes that are more affordable because individual land costs are less, proximity to established communities and the amenities they offer, and less yard to maintain for homeowners busy with careers and kids.
Dunpar is bringing a community of luxury townhomes to Streetsville, which matches all the hallmarks that are missing from the current housing mix. These townhomes offer smart, spacious designs, are centrally located, a short walk from the main street’s amenities and walking distance to the Streetsville GO train station makes for an easy commute to Toronto. For more information on our new townhomes coming to Streetsville in Mississauga, visit our Streetsville Centre page.