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The Growth of Laneway Homes in Vancouver

Posted on January 10, 2014

Every year it seems that Vancouver is becoming more and more unaffordable for the average person. So much so, that Vancouver’s City Councilors have introduced new regulations to bring down prices and reinvigorate the rental market. Laneway houses (LWH) have become a big piece of this project, and it’s no wonder that recently there has been a dramatic increase of Laneway Housing Construction Permits being issued in the City of Vancouver. The LWHs are an effective way to help subsidize the mortgage of your home, while increasing the number of available rental properties. In 2013 alone, the City of Vancouver issued 348 permits. This influx of permits shows no signs of slowing down and can offer you valuable returns on your investment for many years.

How can you benefit from a Laneway House?

The biggest benefit to building a Laneway House on your property is the rental income. This will help to pay down the mortgage on your property faster, while adding value to your real estate. A Laneway House is a solid investment that pays dividends now and for the long term.

Benefits for Renters

With nearly 1,100 new rental units in Vancouver having been made available in 2013, affordable rentals are attracting many families back to urban centres. To add to this, because these LWHs cannot be managed by a Strata Council rents remain competitive. Laneway Homes are drawing in many young families who want to live in great neighbourhoods with lots of amenities close by. These young families tend to also be longer-term renters as moving can be disruptive for young children.

Who Qualifies For Laneway Housing?

In the City of Vancouver, and most municipalities in the Lower Mainland any home zoned RS-1 or RS-5 can apply for a Laneway Home Permit. Your property must be at least 32.15’ wide, and there must be at least 16 feet available between the Laneway house and the Main house.

Ready To Get Started?

Here’s what you need to do in order to build your new Laneway Home. Curious to know if your house falls into the proper zoning? You can view the detailed map of all the zoning areas in Vancouver or call the City at 3-1-1. For those looking to be close to downtown, the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in East Van is the best option for having a Laneway home.

There are many pros and cons to building a Laneway Home on your property. Make sure that you do your research before you start. Talk with city officials, house builders, neighbours, and anyone that can help you make an informed decision. Laneway housing appears to be just one part of a series of consumer-driven housing trends that will make living in Vancouver more affordable.