Secondary Suites and the Modern Family

Over the past few years, Calgary has witnessed an ongoing, and sometimes fierce, public debate on the topic of secondary suites in single-family homes.  The debate is fueled by a number of factors, including economic and lifestyle trends that are driving the increased demand for legal secondary suites in existing housing stock and new construction.

At first glance, secondary suites seem like a throwback to a bygone era when the extended family housing model was commonplace, but there is nothing old-fashioned about the secondary suites built into contemporary construction.  These apartments have everything needed for independent living and offer a great way to enjoy all the benefits of an extended family lifestyle, while preserving privacy at the same time.  Owning a home with a fashionable, legal secondary suite allows families to experience the luxury of accommodating young adults and elderly family members under the same roof.  Multiple generations can live together, learn from and support one another while retaining the ability to retreat to their own private space.

The 2016 Statistics Canada Census data shows that 1 in 3 Canadians between the ages of 20 and 34 live with their parents.  This number has been on the rise since 2001.  Housing affordability is a driving force behind the trend.  Another reason is that in an increasingly competitive job market, young adults are pursuing multiple advanced degrees before striking out on their own.   A secondary suite offers parents and children the best of all world and the ability to keep your loved ones close, but not too close.

On the other end of the spectrum, secondary suites are an attractive option for older adults looking to “age in place.”  Comfortable, private apartments in the homes of their children allow seniors to age comfortably and gracefully while lending a hand with child care and other family duties.  Children can rest comfortably knowing their beloved parents are right downstairs should they require assistance.  The economic benefits of reduced living expenses are shared by all.

Even the closest of families manage to irritate one another at times.  People can become particularly sensitive when they feel they lack privacy and a sense of independence in their lives.  Secondary suites allow families to acknowledge these human longings while offering a solution.  Whether you are 21, 81 or somewhere in between, we all need privacy and quiet time in addition to the love, support and companionship of extended families.  Secondary suites offer a perfect solution for housing challenges confronting modern families.


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About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at