Kelowna's micro-condo conundrum

Posted by on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 at 2:52pm.

Life in 300 square feet is compact, efficient and affordable for many Kelowna condo buyers.  Tiny condos, or micro-condos demand a minimalist lifestyle and the patience of a saint no matter how well-designed the unit is.

The thought of life in a small space and the accompanying price tag could be very attractive to some but how sustainable is conducting your entire life in an area the size of some people’s living room?

What You Need to Consider

Super-small condo units are very trendy, put on the market by builders and developers who advertise these homes as being affordable alternatives.  It’s hitting a mark in Kelowna as first-time buyers looking for entry-level condos, who can’t afford the exorbitant prices in Vancouver, are very attracted to the price points offered.  Part of the marketing strategy for developers is to offer public space in a project, such as roof-top patios or party rooms with full kitchens.  Even pointing to nearby coffee shops and fitness clubs as alternative living space. It’s offered as a benefit so that people in these very small spaces can expand their life outside of their four walls.   But, you have to be that kind of person in the first place.  If you like hanging out at the park down the street or the coffee shop downstairs, then this is for you.  Many young people can live this way, spending their free time away from their home, so micro-condo living is a suitable alternative.

But if you’re not the type to hang out in public, you’re not going to be happy trying to adapt and be that sort of person.

The Impact of Crowding

Some experts have studied people and discovered adverse behaviour when housing is crowded or inadequate.  Think of an animal suddenly forced to live in a cage. They say that maybe there should be some study done into the effects of multiple people living in a building of micro-condos.   What is billed as a more stress-free existence in a space with so few demands can sometimes go sideways when a life-altering and stressful event occurs, like a break up or job loss or severe illness.  Then a stress-free micro-condo can suddenly become confining or worse, depressing.

There’s No Escape

Often micro-condos are attractive to a young single person, and often people in love want their special someone to be close.  But how close is close when you’re sharing 300 square feet?  How do you handle the noise, the extra clothes, the subtle annoyances that often come with sharing your life with someone?   Do you need to weed out suitable partners based on whether or not they like to collect things?

Resale Value on Micro-Condos

Whether or not Kelowna buyers make money on a micro-condo or whether they simply break-even remains to be seen.  They’re a new product designed to address affordable housing issues and to fill the need of inner-city buyers who often just need a place to crash.  Unproven products don’t come without risk and basically, it’s all about choice.

No one is forcing you into buying a micro-condo and there are plenty of traditional units on the market.

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