Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Steady flow of immigrants has an effect on Ottawa's housing market
In case you hadn’t noticed, Ottawa is no longer the white, northern European-centric city it was a few short decades ago.
Swelling immigration numbers mean that we, like much of the country, have become a vibrant mix of colours, cultures and customs. More than 41,000 new Canadians, most from China, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, arrived in Ottawa-Gatineau between 2007 and 2011, according to Statistics Canada.
That’s having an impact on the local housing market.
“We are designing more and more based on feedback from specific markets,” says Greg Graham, Cardel Homes’ Ottawa president. Because of the popularity of multi-generational homes among some immigrants, for example, builders like Cardel are offering an optional master bedroom and bathroom on the main floor.
Another Cardel option: a small prayer room with a foot bath off the mudroom.
In other cases, real estate agents are having to learn about cross-cultural relationships and the specific likes and dislikes of people raised in countries very unlike their own.
New Canadians are also adapting.
Suthakar Pakianathan and his wife, Malini Panchadcharam, both Hindus from Sri Lanka, have lived in Canada half their lives.
They bought a generously proportioned Tartan single in Havencourt so her parents could live with them and their two young children, a decidedly non-North American tradition.
“For generation after generation, we have taken care of our parents … we don’t have a good (social) support network back home,” says Pakianathan.
To accommodate the family, Tartan made design changes, including the conversion of a first-floor powder room into a three-piece bath for Panchadcharam’s parents.
On the other hand, she says, she and her husband ignored the fact that the kitchen does not face east, a direction which, according to traditional beliefs, yields food that is tasty and nutritious.
“We are in the middle” as far as allowing traditions to dictate housing choices, she says. “We try to make our parents happy.”
To read the complete article from Ottawa Citizen, please click here