Business class goes coach…

October 18, 2012 | By

The number of individuals applying to build laneway housing in the Lower Mainland, is a bustling business. This mini-house frenzy has become a trend in offsetting record high real estate prices.

Coach houses – also referred to as laneway homes – are structures ranging in size from 340 to more than 750 square feet at the back of existing homes. They offer young families, and new-to-the-market investors, an affordable way to get into the housing market.

Since the 2009 launch of Vancouver’s EcoDensity laneway housing initiative, the City of Vancouver has received 500 permit applications to build new laneway homes. As such, hundreds of these back yard bungalows have been built or are nearing completion, and apparently this trend isn’t slowing down, as the permit department handles up to 50 new applications each month.

With a shocking price tag of anywhere between $260,000 to $330,000, these mini mansions are still below the average price of detached homes in the Fraser Valley. The price includes a $15,000-$30,000 price tag for development permits, utilities installation, and landscaping.

Head into the village Clayton Heights, in the Surrey district on the Langley border, and you will witness a sea of these homes. In fact, most of the homes in this area come with both a coach home as well as a basement suite, which is a great income relief to these half million dollar homes.

Apart from this district, however, 80 per cent of people building laneway housing are parents who own property, and are building the new structure for their children. These 20-30 something children are ones who can’t currently afford the housing market, so this creates an affordable alternative, and a mini investment with their parents.

It also allows these budding families to stay in the neighbourhoods they perhaps grew up in, and allow their children to attend the same schools and familiar sports teams etc.

The homes take about 16 weeks to build and by law must have a one-car garage. These laneway home cannot be sold independently of the main house and the property will always be owned by one entity.

With any alternative idea – comes differing opinions. Many say that these mini-homes disrupt their view, or create parking concerns – especially where homes have the aforementioned 3 rental properties to each home. But head out to the country a little further, and these wide-open spaces create the perfect place for your own personal village!

Filed in: Buying and Selling Real Estate

About the Author (Author Profile)

Andrew is a West Coast enthusiast through and through. He is a native of the area that you will often find adventuring on one of the many sea to sky activities that abound in the Fraser Valley. Along with being in love with the place he calls home, Andrew is a well known and respected Realtor focusing on helping others to find their own perfect home in Langley, Surrey, White Rock and beyond! Visit to find your perfect home.

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