For many people, especially North Americans, home evokes an image of a single- family home with a backyard and white picket fence. It’s what we all dream about, right? Not anymore. That was the vision for our parents and grandparents, but it’s changing, by necessity, for younger generations.

In Vancouver and other urban cities worldwide, the reality of real estate prices, coupled with lifestyle choices and preferences, has meant our definition of home is shifting. For young couples and families, compact urban living in homes that are smaller, but closer to city conveniences, has been normal in New York, London and Hong Kong for many decades. But it’s new for Vancouver. As real estate prices for single-family homes continue their upward swing and supply remains limited by geography, being surrounded by water, mountains and parks, many people are looking at a different definition of how we define home.

In Vancouver, single-family homes make up just over 18% of all occupied dwellings. And a growing number – 31% – of families live in condos, a number that’s fast approaching the 50% in both London and New York.

“According to a recent poll in Vancitybuzz, the majority (72%) of families are willing to reduce living space for location and amenities. Single-family homes are no longer the only suitable option for families and they should no longer be the barometer for affordability. More and more young people are looking to condos as starter homes, and then moving up the property ladder to townhomes.

While you may not be able to afford a single-family home in the same neighborhood you grew up in, you can probably afford a condo or a townhome and be part of the new wave of compact urban living that is redefining how and where we live. A home is no longer defined by its size, but by what it means and offers to you, the homebuyer.

Our homes are the single largest expenditure most of us will ever make and it obviously comes with some deeply personal choices and tradeoffs. But Vancouver isn’t without housing choices. There are many options for compact urban living in condos and townhomes for under a million dollars.

For those who have chosen a more compact space as their homes, the park outside your door, the seawall, the playground – that’s your backyard. The cafes and restaurants are an extension of your kitchens and dining rooms. Building amenities, like fitness rooms, pools and rooftop decks, are a big draw and many find they don’t need a car with proximity to transit and car sharing programs.

There are many options for compact urban housing in Vancouver for under a million. Check out River District and Brewery District for many new home ideas. #dontneed1million “