The size of households vs the number of bedrooms
|Canada - comparison of number of bedrooms vs number of people per household|
|Canada - demand vs supply of bedrooms per dwelling unit|
|Montréal - comparison of number of bedrooms vs number of people per household|
|Montréal - demand vs supply of bedrooms per dwelling unit|
So we have more bedrooms than people, what's the problem?
- Is bigger than they need
- Is more expensive than they would prefer
- Occupies more land than they would otherwise
A special case, the older suburbs
- Keep living in your parents' basement to stay in your community
- Strike out on your own... which means living far away from your parents and old social network because there are few if any small apartments for young bachelors anywhere near them
|Boucherville - comparison of number of bedrooms vs number of people per household|
|Boucherville - demand vs supply of bedrooms per dwelling unit|
Not just size, but prices too
|Example of zoning and the prices of the housing they allow|
Meanwhile, in Japan...
Japan is always interesting has a country that allows a lot of variations in residential supply through very lax zoning regulations. I found a website with a lot of real estate listings in Japan, suumo.jp and I've been exploring this. It is extremely interesting.
First, we often hear about how Tokyo is expensive, and it is. But at the same time, the number of small, affordable studio apartments for young people who are students or are still pretty poor is insane. Just in Tokyo, as in downtown and the 23 wards, there are 2 400 studios (one-room as they say) or 1-bedroom apartments vacant, all for less than 40 000 yen per month, so 400$ a month. Some as low as 150$. This is in the city itself, not even the suburbs. If I increase the criteria to 600$ a month, then I find 35 000 apartments.
If I look at Sapporo, which has the advantage of being the size of Montréal, there are 27 000 studios and 1-bedroom apartments for rent in a city of around 1,9 million people, 6 000 of which are available for less than 300$ a month (Japanese renting is a bit weird with non-refundable bonuses and "key money" for many apartments that increases the rent by 15-20% overall, but it doesn't change things much). These are just the vacant apartments on this one site. Meanwhile, Montréal has 47 000 studio apartments overall, meaning vacant and occupied units altogether.
Still, it shows that the relaxed laws of Japan has led residential developers to provide housing for everyone, all the way down to poor students. Meanwhile, in North America and Europe, students frequently stubbornly stay with their parents while they study (guilty as charged), often resulting in huge commutes, or having to live with roommates to be able to afford the apartments too big for their means.
So if you care about affordability, it is important to make sure that small housing units can be built, whether as new housing or through subdividing existing housing (single-family to duplex for example) and that the housing stock is varied, appealing to all income levels. If you don't, you push people into buying bigger housing than they actually need, paying more than they would prefer to and taking more land than they would do otherwise, which makes all housing more expensive as you aggravate land shortages.