Could you live in 400 square feet... or less?

Posted by Justin Havre. on Monday, October 26th, 2015 at 12:29pm.

Micro condos are huge.

Always popular in Europe, pint-sized apartments that hit the Toronto and Vancouver markets a few years back are starting to catch on in Calgary.   As house prices rise, square footage is falling to make downtown living an affordable option for a brand new generation of home owners.

There’s no standard measurement for micro-sized condos but it’s generally accepted that square footage of less than 400 fits the profile.  That’s not a lot of room for one person and assorted “stuff”, but for those who like a minimalist lifestyle, it’s just the right amount of space.

There are two floor plans that come in micro-size available in a new condo development in Calgary’s East Village.  Ink by Battistella Developments offers small living for a smaller downtown price.  Prices in the “Ink” tower start from around $179,000.  The square footage for these two floor plans are 378 and 368, which rumour has it just might be the smallest condo floor plans currently available in the city.  The 368 sq. ft. option is one of the display suites at the East Village tower project.   There are 26 suites available in this size in the Ink complex and they are selling fast.  They’re sleek, polished, modern and a great way for young urban professionals to get in on the market.

This type of space means limiting your possessions to basic needs, which suits some buyers very well.   Imagine living in a hotel room.

These micro-suites come with full sized appliances including in-suite washer and dryer. Ceilings are over 9 feet high and wonderful picture windows bring in natural light to help make small suites feel more spacious.  Battistella Developments believes that with the higher ceilings, small apartment condos should be measured by volume - like, by the cubic foot as opposed the square foot.

The trick is finding appropriately sized-furniture with creative storage options.  Wall beds, dishwashers in a drawer.  There’s no end to the innovation.

A small space is perfect for the condo buyer who just needs a place to sleep, eat and on occasion, cook.   Developers understand it’s hard to have family over for special occasions like Christmas dinner, so they have provided social amenities for home owners.  Many inner-city condos are providing these types of social amenities that are much more than party rooms.  Elegantly appointed lounges with fireplaces, landscaped roof tops with barbecues.  Some downtown condo buildings even offer two-bedroom guest suites which residents can book in advance for out-of-town guests.

Ink, located in the heart of the East Village, is the ideal location for micro suite living with so much activity going on in the neighbourhood. The density, the walkability, the public spaces planned in the community will be wonderful places to gather when you just need to get out of the house.  Your neighbourhood becomes your living room.

A word of caution before you rush to put in an offer.  Make sure your bank or mortgage company will lend you money for your small space.  While people in Asian countries have lived in small places for generations, this may be an unproven trend in housing in our neck of the woods.

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