We asked Jeffrey Kerr about accessibility in the housing market and trends in Universal Design. Here’s what he had to say.
What are the biggest challenges that you are seeing in terms of accessible housing?
Limited supply is the biggest challenge. Particularly in the rental sector. On average, I get one to two calls a week from people looking for an accessible rental property. There is very little accessible rental inventory, and even fewer with roll-in showers.
Has there been an increased uptake in recent years in universal design when it comes to homes?
I think people are talking more about universal design, which is very encouraging, but except for one GTA new home builder, I haven’t seen a meaningful increase in the number of universal homes (houses or condos) being built in Ontario.
“I’m most excited about helping people achieve freedom at home and to live independently.”
Jeffrey Kerr, Platinum award-winning REALTOR® with RE/MAX Prime Properties Unique Group in Toronto, Ontario
Are there benefits that homeowners can see from universal design, such as being able to sell to a broader population?
The biggest benefit of universal design for homeowners is creating a home where they can live safely, comfortably and independently through all stages of life. Demand for universally designed homes is only going to increase in the coming years. More than 85% of Canadians over the age of 55 want to age in place in their own home. And homeownership among people aged 75+ is on the rise. For this to happen, people need to either modify their own homes or find one that is already accessible. One of the first questions I often get asked is “Should I modify or move?” And my response is this: if you like where you live and your home is suitable to modify, then I encourage you to modify your home, using professional licensed contractors. And when it comes time to sell, market that home to buyers who are looking for an accessible home.
What are the top trends for accessibility in 2023?
Smart home technology and home automation are top trends. Everyone is familiar with power door openers, but now almost anything around the home can be automated and controlled by voice commands.
What are you most excited about when it comes to accessibility and homes?
I’m most excited about helping people achieve freedom at home and to live independently.