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Home Buying, Real Estate News, Your Next Home | January 21, 2022

There’s a shift happening in and around Vancouver. Younger urbanites are increasingly leaving the core for suburban communities and homes — and a new, different lifestyle.

These aren’t your parent’s suburbs anymore.

About a year ago, we learned that a record number of Canadians have been leaving major urban centres led by younger people who have been able to keep their big-city jobs while leaving the big-city behind, thanks to our work-from-home revolution. We expect this post-urban migration trend to continue through 2022 and beyond.

This transition is good news for new home developers in suburban Vancouver, who will likely continue to see more interest from young homebuyers seeking a less hectic lifestyle and more affordable condos and townhomes in communities like Coquitlam, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford and Langley.

But it’s also crucial for multi-family developers to monitor the winds of change and go back to the drawing board when it comes to planning, designing and building the homes that young post-urbanites are going to want.

New work from home lifestyle requires different amenities

Functional home design is always top of mind for consumers. Space to work from home has become a big consideration when designing homes since the start of the pandemic. Many people are working from home, and that trend isn’t expected to change anytime soon.

That means more flexible den spaces that can provide a professional and functional home office could see rising demand. Developments that include co-working space, outfitted with Zoom booths, digital compatibility and comfortable workstations will begin to earn more attention from buyers.

We also are finding the younger buyer doesn’t necessarily care about having a spacious dining room. They would rather have a larger, more functional kitchen and living area with dining space focused around a kitchen island instead.

Another trend we saw coming out of this summer was an increased number of new home offerings, including air conditioning or providing air conditioning as an optional upgrade. Those who remember what it felt like at the end of June during the deadly heat dome will not be surprised by that.

It’s essential to continue designing suburban homes efficiently to keep prices and strata fees down, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that flexible, multifunctional living spaces with space for home offices, home gyms and even homeschooling spaces are going to be more important than in the past.

Aldergrove, Mission, Langley drawing post-urban buyers

With the pandemic prompting so many people to change their lifestyle over the past year, many young professional Vancouverites have been departing the urban core for communities in the suburbs like Aldergrove, Mission, Langley City and Abbotsford.

There is plenty of opportunities for these areas to see market growth for the future, making them an attractive option for long-term investors, first-time buyers and families looking for more space without breaking the bank.

In these communities, there has been a rise in buying pre-sale condos and townhomes, allowing buyers to avoid bidding wars and frustration in the urban re-sale market. This rise in pre-sale products has empowered young new home buyers to commit to purchasing homes that will allow them flexibility, comfort and more space to truly get the most out of their homes and communities.

We recently ran a selection process for a new project in Aldergrove Town Centre. During the process, we received over 1,200 selection forms from people wanting to purchase one of the 71 homes released in the first building, resulting in a dramatic sellout. The release of the second building followed suit — unsurprisingly selling out as well, with buyers now eagerly anticipating the 2022 release of the third building. Many of the buyers are relocating from the urban core to the suburbs.

This unprecedented demand for Langley and Aldergrove shows us that there is a demand for homeownership in well-planned, walkable communities, and that’s likely going to accelerate.

Suburban communities poised to flourish

The pandemic continues to unfold as younger generations come into their key purchasing years. Many of these people are looking to put down roots in homes and neighbourhoods that meet their shifting needs and wants.

One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that it has sparked meaningful changes to where and how people live and has opened the door to suburban communities that would have otherwise gone unconsidered.

It’s time for multi-family home designers and developers to get ready to welcome a renewed suburban appetite with the right kind of homes in the right kind of communities.

Written for Daily Hive Urbanized by Jamie Squires and Michelle Des Rosiers, who are senior vice presidents at Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing, based in Surrey.

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