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March to your Own Beat

Sharing spaces is something most of us are born into. Your childhood home was likely shared with some type of family unit, and many of us see growth and success as having a private space which signifies independence from that lifestyle. As the world grows in population, and with environmental considerations, this solo mindset is becoming less available to many and even antiquated to others. Sharing your living space can be an amazing way to split the workload, childcare responsibilities, chores, cooking, and celebrate our individual strengths in a home setting. Since there are many varied ways to co-live, it's possible that this could be an option for even the most independent personalities. A crowded world calls for creative thinking and the more we think outside the box of ‘single-family home’ living, the more accessible home ownership is! If you’re someone who sees owning a property as beyond their reach, we’d like to challenge you to do some research on new ways to live and grow your money, by investing in shared options. Read on in this newsletter to inspire your mind with shared spaces past, present and future!

-EXP Ossington Team


Market Snapshot - February 2022


History of Communal Living

Co-living has a history that dates back to the time of hunters and gatherers during the agricultural revolution around 10,000 BC. There has always been some version of this type of living, whether it be Utopian Phalanstère communities in the 19th century, central Kitchen buildings in Denmark in the early 20th century, boarding houses in 20th century America, the Kibbutz in Isreal since the early 1900s, or hippie communes.

However, the modern version of co-living that we see now and look towards for inspiration was developed in 1960s Denmark, where communities of families lived in homes with shared spaces. Denmark's visionary on co-living is Jan Gudmand-Høyer (1936–2017). He simply wanted to make life more practical and healthy while catering to different needs. He has been credited with starting the movement in 1964, which spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world. While the thought of cohousing seems like an unattainable utopia, it has proven to be historically very successful. Today, cohousing is disrupting the rental market and is a real option for people to move into ownership.


The Co-living Experience

Laura, our Social Media Manager, interviewed Katharine Barnes about her co-living experience as a co-owner with family. Katharine lives in the Wallace-Emerson neighbourhood with her husband and two young kids. They co-purchased their first home with her in-laws in December 2020. Q: Could you speak to how you came to the idea of co-ownership? A: My husband and I were renting and wanted the stability of home ownership. We both have good jobs and some savings but it was not enough to enter the Toronto housing market on our own. My in-laws proposed the idea of co-ownership. They wanted to downsize and access money from their home for retirement. Q: Who lives/owns your home? A: We all live here in our own units. My in-laws own 55% and we own 45% based on what we could afford at the time of purchase. Q: How is your physical space divided? A: When we purchased the home it was a large single family dwelling, with 3 kitchens! We have since divided the space into a legal duplex — my in-laws have the top floor and we have the main floor and basement. We’re slowly renovating our unit as we have budget, while my in-laws have completely renovated their unit. Q: Can you speak to the financial side of things a bit, we are curious about that dynamic? A: We split all shared household expenses 50/50 like property taxes, heating, new roof, plants for the garden, etc. We’re responsible for our own costs within our respected units such as any renovations and updates. Q: Do you have any advice for someone considering this option of ownership? A: Clearly outline what each person is looking for in a home including ‘deal breakers’. Prepare to walk away from a property you may love, but that doesn’t work for the other co-owners. It can be a difficult process to go through!


Communal Living


Generational Co-Living

A grid of thin cross-laminated timber columns frames communal spaces at the centre of this co-living project for senior citizens in Slagelse, Denmark, a collaboration between Danish developer Tetris and Copenhagen architecture practice Sangberg.

Architecture firm Productora has completed a small housing complex in Denver, Colorado, that provides eight units with shared amenities on a lot that would typically accommodate only two single-family homes.

Selencky Parsons, led by architects Sam Selencky and David Parsons, saw the project as an opportunity to bring new thinking to the shared house typology. Designed specifically to suit a group of cohabiting students, it combines large en-suite bedrooms with a range of communal spaces, so that residents can live and work alongside each other, but also find solitude when they need it.

Japanese architecture studio Swing has built a compact, shared house for eight people in the city of Osaka, Japan. The two-storey co-living home is arranged around a communal living and dining space on the ground floor, which is overlooked by a mezzanine space described by the architects as a library.

IKEA's research lab Space10 has teamed up with architecture studio EFFEKT on The Urban Village Project, a vision for subscription-based housing that brings together people of different generations and encourages them to share facilities. Both based in Copenhagen, Space10 and EFFEKT have developed a number of policies to move towards more communal living, or co-living. These include shared daycare and transport, local water harvesting, communal dining and urban farming initiatives.


Dr. Tina On Our Mind

As we make our way into Spring 2022, the theme of How to Live remains at the forefront of our minds. In many parts of the world, we have been starting to believe that the pandemic is coming to an end; and just as we can start to breathe – literally – there has been an eruption of war between Ukraine and Russia. We’ve all seen the graphic images on social media and news of people losing their homes, their security, and lives. Once again, like we did at the start of the pandemic, we deeply appreciate the sanctity of home. Our home provides shelter and comfort amongst a variety of other functions. Housing can be a huge social determinant of mental and physical health. Research shows that health outcomes are affected by factors such as housing affordability, stability, quality and the emotional link to housing, along with the physical and social characteristics of neighbourhoods, not to mention war and loss. For example, refugees will be seeking new homes in the homes of others, and this can represent a co-housing situation.

Over the course of the pandemic, we became increasingly familiar with communal living and in particular, cohousing has reemerged as a trend. Cohousing refers to a form of community living that includes a mix of communal and private spaces; the concept includes self-managed common facilities and activities aimed at everyday living. In North America we are familiar with retirement homes, a common type of cohousing. The reasons we’ve seen people choosing to live together intentionally range from financial to social, or just plain practical. Cohousing is a financially feasible way to live in a home that is relatively larger without bearing the entire expense of it. Living with others protects against loneliness as there are always others around for company and interaction, some people just prefer to have other people to eat with at mealtime! A group of total strangers who decided to live together became a news story recently, and we expect cohousing to continue growing as a trend, as people choose to live together for financial, social or political reasons, in many different ways all over the world.

-Dr. Tina Chadda, Realtor


Real Life Examples of Co-living

Seven adults and two children have created affordable housing in an east side Vancouver neighbourhood in a home that is, on paper, a single-family dwelling. The “roommates with kids” concept, as their architect calls it, is a blend of close friends and strangers who’ve come together to share housing costs in one of the world’s most expensive cities. They are a model of communal living and economic necessity: a merger of young condo owners with limited finances and an established house-owning couple who’d gotten into the market earlier.


Land Sharing with Multiple Residences

When it comes to co-living in separate homes on a shared property, setting up multiple homes on personally owned land, or land owned by another individual; there are different arrangements for sharing ownership of a property to take advantage of to reduce the overall cost of ownership:

  • When you own the land yourself you can build a primary dwelling, a secondary dwelling in your backyard, park a mobile vehicle, or live in a tiny home for up to two years on the construction site of your primary dwelling. You can build or move these other dwellings for family, parents, children or renters to live in

  • When two or more people own the same piece of land in undivided interests that is considered a tenancy-in-common. The benefits of this type of ownership is that each owner has the right to transfer their ownership at any point

  • On land owned by other parties; like unorganized townships, tiny house communities, campgrounds, or mobile parks, there are differing rules. These usually allow you to either move your tiny home onto the property, or build your tiny home on the premises. These locations are typically in rural areas since the building permits and regulations are less rigid. Some of these locations will even have shared services and amenities, as well as communal spaces.

When picking a location for co-sharing land it is important to choose if you want to be an owner, a partial owner, or a renter. Each option must be considered carefully to ensure prudence in your investment.


Carl's Corner Office

“Beware the Ides of March!” Or so the saying goes. It’s a reference to Julius Ceasar’s untimely death on the floor of the Roman Senate when quite a few Senators decided it was really time he retired.

So much upheaval in the World has made predictions even more wild-guess-like than normal. We can try to look at past times that have been similarly tumultuous and try to match them up with what’s happening now, take a look at graphs of various things from then to now, and use our pattern-loving brains to come up with some kind of hints at what the future holds.

But one thing that won’t change in all of this distressing tumble is how much we all love home.

Home matters more than ever. That’s where we can help you. Keep calm and call us.

Sincerely, Carl

-Carl Laudan, REALTOR®, EXP Ossington Office Manager


Life at Key: Shared Condo Ownership Living

In today’s prohibitive urban real estate market, if a home buyer wants to own in the downtown core, it’s next to impossible! On average it takes 27 years for the typical first-time Toronto home buyer just to save up for the recommended 20% down payment. It takes even longer in other major North American cities, and then owners will spend the next several decades being 'house poor' while paying off the mortgage.

Key is a *new* co-ownership model that helps people become homeowners faster, and for less. The initial home equity investment starts with a minimum of 2.5% of the suite value, which will be around $15k for many condo suites that Key manages. That’s all home buyers need to become an Owner-Resident! Home buyers can get the benefit of growing their home equity with the security of occupancy. Their home equity will grow as their condo suite appreciates, and they can purchase additional equity at any time. As you buy more of your home you reduce your monthly payment. All this happens without the need to qualify for a large traditional mortgage. Key’s mission is to create a world where real estate can be a source of prosperity and freedom for everyone!

-VP of Business Development, Mark McLean


Work with Us

Who are we? We're a tight-knit, high-producing, professional Real Estate team. Our mission is to help our clients achieve their real estate and future-planning goals by empowering them with team-oriented work, sharing of knowledge, and building on our collective successes. We work hard, we set high goals and standards, and we play hard!


Featured Listings


40 Argyle Place, Ossington Village, Toronto


2 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms

Excellent and rare live/work laneway house for creative professionals! Great location and potential for future development. 2bed, 2 bath, mixed zoning. Drenched In natural light, this detached 2-Storey Victorian carriage house from 1890 has been turned into a cozy creative live/work space in the most exciting and fun place in all of Toronto: Ossington Village! The radiant-heated floor keeps the ground level inviting as a gigantic living room for you to work, relax or play. 40 Argyle Place, Toronto, ON.

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