4. THE SHIFT TO APARTMENTS

In recent years there has been a very marked change in the nature of the new housing being constructed. Whereas ten years ago the single family dwelling was overwhelmingly the major component of the new housing starts, latterly the proportions have become reversed so that now the multiple family structure is the dominant form. In Eastern Canada this has been the prevailing situation for about fifteen years or more; in Winnipeg the trend has been developing for a shorter period and in 1965, for the first time, the number of multiple family dwellings exceeded the number of single family dwellings in the new housing starts, comprising 52.6% of all new housing units in that year, 45.2% being apartments, and 7.4% being row houses and other forms of multiple accommodation. In 1968 the difference became quite dramatic, 67.7% of all new housing units being in multiple family accommodation, with 61.3% in apartments, and 6.4% in other forms of multiple housing.

The reasons for this shift in preference need not be analyzed here it has to do primarily with the economics of housing but it is becoming clear that more and more people are finding it more and more difficult to own and live in a single family dwelling as compared to renting an apartment. It also has to do with the changing tastes and expectations of our population, reflecting very strongly the influence of the young (about 50% of our population is 25 years old or younger), and the greatly increased mobility, both social and physical of our society. As a matter of taste rather than economics, young people, even married couples, are coming to prefer the apartment to the detached dwelling. In general terms it is probably true to say that a very large number of adults without children between the ages of three and seventeen are coming to accept the apartment as their normal accommodation; in the main, this means the young single adults, the young couples with very young children, and the older people either without families, or whose children have left their parents' home.