How to increase housing choice and affordable home ownership in Vancouver

Dec 19 2017, 8:06 pm

In part 2 of a series on affordability by the Urban Development Institute (read part 1), UDI discusses four zoning changes that could increase housing choice and diversity.

Cottage homes or pocket neighbourhoods feature several small homes on smaller lots, around a shared landscaped green. Their compact footprint conserves land and reduces building costs. While not currently supported by zoning, this type of development would allow residents to live in a detached home within a dense neighbourhood.

Hollyburn mews

Sellable laneway homes would increase the number of smaller homes. Laneway homes are costly to build (about $250,000) and currently they can only be rented, which limits their numbers. If property owners could sell them as fee-simple homes, Vancouver would see many more of these affordable residences built.

Smallworks laneway house

Photo via Smallworks Studios and Laneway Housing Inc.

Strata basement suites represent another potential opportunity for affordable home ownership. If the city were to allow for the purchase of basement suites, this type of gentle infill would allow younger generations access to the housing market and gain equity at a more affordable entry-level.

Photo getty 1

Photo via Getty images

Buried bedrooms technically have no windows, but can still receive lots of light via glass walls or sliding doors. Unfortunately, they are difficult to receive approval for, resulting in the reconfiguration of what becomes a usually much larger and more expensive unit. The conversation on buried bedrooms will become especially important, as we move into an era of infill development with more interior sites.             

modern style apartment concept.  illustration

Photo via Getty Images

“Creativity and small scale densification could increase supply and ease high prices,” said UDI’s Anne McMullin. “We would like to start a discussion on more ways to improve affordability and housing diversity in the region.”

As the voice of the BC real estate development industry, the Urban Development Institute is dedicated to fostering effective communication between the real estate industry, government and the public. UDI releases a quarterly State of the Market report providing up-to-date statistics and trends in the new home and re-sale housing market. 

The Urban Development Institute (UDI) encourages a conversation on zoning and a wider array of housing options — in order to ease high prices in Vancouver.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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