Reasons why you should move into a laneway house in Vancouver
In this two-part series, we will cover what laneway houses are, as well as some benefits to moving into one in Vancouver. In our second article, we will discuss some drawbacks related to moving into a laneway house in Vancouver and hopefully provide some insight on whether or not you should move into one.
1 Laneway Houses are gaining popularity in Metro Vancouver
When moving in Vancouver, some are considering a fairly specific category of housing: laneway houses. Although this is a fairly new concept, moving into laneway houses is quickly gaining popularity with Vancouverites because of the many benefits they provide. The Global News, Retail Estate Weekly, and the Huffington Post have all been covering this phenomenon in various cities in the Lower Mainland.
2 What are laneway houses?
Laneway houses, a type of housing, is also known as ‘granny flats,’ ‘coach houses,’ ‘carriage houses,’ or ‘Fonzie suites,’ these houses are relatively small, detached, individual housing units that are built on pre-existing lots. These houses are usually built in the backyard or the laneway (hence its name) of single-family lots. The idea behind this began as an EcoDensity initiative by our former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan in December 2009 to combat housing affordability as well as increase urban density in the city of Vancouver.
3 Benefits of moving into laneway houses in Vancouver
Laneways housing may be a solution to affordable housing in Vancouver
Whether you are a laneway house owner, looking to build a laneway house on an existing property, or looking to rent and move into a laneway house, the first and foremost benefit is its affordability. Home ownership isn’t easy for some young Vancouverites who are living and working in Vancouver. According to one source, building a laneway house can be somewhere between $250,000 to $270,000, which is much more affordable than houses of the same size in the current real estate market in Vancouver. For Vancouverites looking to rent, this is great news. The lower costs to build a laneway home should translate to lower monthly rent.
4 Moving into a laneway house in Vancouver to get your own private space
Some people looking to move in Vancouver are often first looking into renting suites in an apartment building or the upper or lower level of a landlord’s home. This is more affordable than renting a single detached house. The trade-off is that you lose some privacy and may not be free of noisy neighbours above or below you. With a laneway house, you are able to have your own private space without worrying about disturbing your neighbours or having your neighbours disturbing you!
5 Laneway houses may be the future of sustainable living
Vancouver has developed stricter building regulations with respect to living greener. Because laneway houses are a fairly recent development, most of these houses must adhere to these stricter guidelines. Moving into a laneway house in Vancouver is an investment into sustainable living for city development and the environment itself. Laneway houses allow for a smaller carbon footprint. From one source, residential buildings account for at least 16% of energy consumption in Canada. Within this percentage, a large portion – 50% – of energy usage is used in heating our living spaces. Much like our article on the tiny house movement, a laneway house will use less materials, energy, and appliances to sustain a family’s living because of its small size.
Moving into a laneway house increases living sustainability in the city because it brings the community physically closer. This allows for smaller expenditure in the city’s labour and services such as garbage pickup, police patrols, and public transport developments. In addition, because they are built more recently, the designs of these houses are all very modern, new, and trendy.