COVID-19 has Calgarians looking to buy houses that can accommodate multiple generations

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COVID-19 has Calgary home buyers seeking multi-generational houses
WATCH: More Calgary families are looking for homes that can accommodate parents and adult kids. It's a trend that the chair of the Calgary Real Estate Board is being driven in part by COVID-19. Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports – Oct 5, 2020

More Calgarians are looking for homes that can accommodate several generations according to the chair of the Calgary Real Estate Board, and COVID-19 may be one of the factors behind the trend.

Sarah Johnston said she has recently seen a trend of families wanting move closer to one another within in the city or even move in together.

“This is a trend we have seen in bigger cities across Canada and it hasn’t necessarily started in Calgary until now,” Johnston said. “There are definitely a lot more multi-generational families purchasing properties together — making sure there is room for everybody.

“I think that is what COVID has done. It has brought a lot of us closer together.”

Johnston said some people are buying properties with laneway housing or homes that already have suites while others are renovating.

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Read more: Building 2 homes on 1 property: A look inside an unusual Calgary backyard suite

For families who have the money, some homebuilders are now offering specific floor plans that make space for three or more generations.

“It’s all sorts. It really depends on what those families’ needs are. It depends on if they are bringing in one parent to live with them just for that added protection. So we are actually seeing quite a mix of these homes now. It’s really interesting,” Johnston said.

Reagan Wright just moved from Cranston to her new home in Calgary’s south west inner city. She was looking for a house that could accommodate a place for both she and her husband to work, the needs of their two kids who are in high school and university and space for her 70 year old mom.

“Once we got locked down with COVID, I wanted to be able to help support mom where I was,” Wright said. “And give space for all of us to be able to stay together.

“Being in that cohort, being with the family, I really needed to have everybody under my wing.”

Living with parents or adult children has potential benefits like saving money but for Wright the biggest plus is just spending more time together.

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“Financial is always a big part of it, and just having each other to lean on,” Wright said

The house Wright bought has more living space than their old house in the suburbs: room for the high school and university-aged kids and mom.

“She feels a little more sense of security,” said Wright about her mom. “We have always had her part of our lives so this is just a natural transition to being able to be able to do this.”

While living under the same roof with mom and dad isn’t everyone’s idea of home sweet home, for others it reduces isolation and brings a sense of certainty at a time where that seems to be in short supply.

“I have a grandmother who’s in a seniors’ home in Saskatoon, and I watched her get locked down how many times and not being able to socially interact with anybody,” Wright said.

“How do you how do you get away from that? Doing this as long as you possibly can — and there’s lots of great home care if ever needed, I think there are lots of other outlets out there where we can try to keep them home as long as we can.”


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