Home elevators on the verge of becoming a commodity?

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Will the day come when every new multi-storey family home includes a home elevator? We may be closer than we think.

For centuries, primitive elevator systems have addressed the need of moving goods and people vertically within a home. Early examples were found in the palace buildings of England and France. Louis XV of France had a so-called ‘ ying chair’ built for one of his mistresses at the Chateau de Versailles in 1743.

Fast forward to 2016

Many still believe that elevators are reserved for palatial mansions for the ultra-rich, like Louis and his girlfriend(s). Those within the elevator industry are very aware that the popularity has extended to a much broader audience of late, the well-informed Baby Boomer, arguably the wealthiest generation in North America’s history. This group will continue to have a major impact on the way homes are designed, which extends to features in the design that keeps them out of retirement homes. Universal Design, a concept that’s been around since the 1970’s, is being embraced by the boomer generation.

They desire to “Age in Place” and are therefore demanding a design that allows function and aesthetics to coexist. Other contributors fueling the elevator growth trend are relative affordability and rising land values:

Relative affordability

Due to easier access to cost effective technology and competitive growth within the elevator industry, the cost to manufacture and install an elevator has remained largely the same for over 20 years. The price that homeowners pay for this luxury feature relative to the price of their home therefore has drastically decreased considering pricing of the average detached home over that period. A $25,000 elevator is very reasonable within today’s GTA real estate market.

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Rising land values

A bungalow is ideal to help achieve the aforementioned Universal Design however it’s just not practical in populated areas. An elevator allows Aging in Place to become a reality in all detached or semi-detached multi-storey homes.

With these socio-economic trends in play, some questions come to mind for those in the home construction industry:

Can an architect or designer afford not to allow for an elevator as a common feature in a spec or custom home?

Should any townhouse development that’s 3 storeys above grade come standard with elevators?

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 12.02.07 PMCan a builder afford not to offer elevators as an option in an ever competitive landscape with well-educated buyers?

At what relative price (2.5% of average house value) will it be where choosing between an elevator and nish of countertops are made in the same breath? Some would argue that we’re already there.

There’s never been a time where home buyers have had a broader choice of home styles, location options, ‘green’ features, design variety and convenience amenities. There’s also never been a time where buyers have had such a high level of expectation given these choices.

The elevator industry has kept pace with the trends, both functional and cosmetic – your clients will appreciate your forward-thinking approach as you offer home elevators in your future designs and builds.

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Western Elevator Ltd. (604) 777 – 3787

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