What does the Sharing Economy mean for Real Estate?

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I’ve recently read a number of articles about the Sharing Economy and what that means for businesses looking to thrive in the years to come. A sharing economy to me is one where people share services or products. The most popular examples of this would be Uber, any auto share program and Airbnb. Millennials don’t mind sharing so that they can cut down on their costs. They aren’t as tied to owning their own car, vacation rental home or bike.

So how will this affect real estate? Well of course some of these millennials will forgo home ownership entirely and just rent however another segment will decide to share accommodations. This would mean purchasing a duplex or triplex with a few friends and sharing the costs of home ownership. As prices climb in Toronto, this certainly makes financial sense. It allows young people to get onto the property ladder while sharing household maintenance duties. This kind of home ownership has certainly been done in other more expensive cities like San Francisco.

As the Toronto market increases, young people will need to get creative with how they can become home owners. It’s no accident that in Vancouver, many of the homes have basement apartments to help make their homes more affordable. Municipalities will need to make it easier for consumers to legalize these multi-unit dwellings to facilitate this transition. Renovators/designers will have to become adept at creating multi-family dwellings from single family homes. As more and more people get on board, more services will need to develop to cater to this market. Sharing a house will be the perfect solution to make home ownership affordable.