Laneway housing

Patriotz posted a link to this article in the Globe and Mail about proposed Laneway housing for Vancouver.

The laneway house: A novel solution to Vancouver’s real-estate crunch

As he points out:

Note bogus headline. Is there a RE “crunch” in Vancouver? Of course not. Rents are falling.

Read the article and you will find that cash-strapped homeowners are planning to build laneway houses to recharge their finances. Running out of land? Nope. Pent-up supply? Yep.

Build baby build.

From the article:

Homeowners who can’t afford to pay their mortgages, parents who want to give their struggling children a place to live, and recession-strapped boomer retirees who want to lower their costs by moving into their own backyards showed up to make the argument that this is a great option for Vancouver.

Builder Jake Fry, whose company Smallworks has been gearing up to build the laneway houses, said he’s getting calls from families like the Woodmans “who are just finding it hard to get by, so they want to downsize and move in with the kids.”

Some residents, including Linda MacAdam, were adamantly opposed during last week’s public hearings. She complained bitterly that the “Vancouver we know and love now will no longer exist” once 65,000 homeowners potentially get the right to add another small house to their yards.

So what do you think about laneway housing?  Will this be a good or bad thing for the city and why?

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How pissed must that little kid that had his tree house (fort) torn down from his parents front yard on Oak or Granville be a few years back only to find out city now allowing crack shacks in lane ways! Man, the society we live in is fucked.


Hey Mr Mayor you tagnut,

If the gardens all turn to mini-houses, where are we going to keep all the chickens?


drugs “R” us: I think Soviet bureaucrats have nothing on their local counterparts. Here’s one example -A responsible, civilized adults are prohibited from enjoying a beer when having a picnic in any of this glorious city’s public parks while at the same time junkies are shooting up publicly all over the place, pissing themselves, defecating and throwing up while at it and that’s OK. Quit pointing the finger at "bureaucrats" (by whom I assume you mean public employees) and blame the people in power who make the actual decisions. It is the provincial government and city council which make laws governing consumption of alcohol generally and in city parks (respectively). If you don't like the laws, blame them. If you don't like the fact that illegal acts by junkies are tolerated, blame the Vancouver Police Board which is in charge… Read more »


Another reason why Van prices will inevitably collapse:

Just like in California, Vancouver home "owners" have been extracting non-existent "equity" from their homes, even those who bought years before the peak. There is no way out of this one, folks.


"Rent was also cheaper than buying at the start of this boom back in 2001."

I mean were all bears here but are you honestly claiming that you would rather have rented since 2001 then owned. Sorry but that is just dumb.



patience is so over rated!

i think i'm gonna go out and kill something…..


PATIENCE everyone…

Tom Vu


Rent was also cheaper than buying at the start of this boom back in 2001.


Two guys in my office are now getting into the market with 35 year almost nothing down financing. The first guy just sold his Metrotown highrise condo (took him around 3 months to sell) and the second guy is a first time buyer with a family and he is the sole wage earner. They are both looking in the $550K to $650K range. From what I understand, the first guy has almost no equity built up. I advised the second guy to wait until summer 2010 but he's hellbent on buying now for some reason. I don't know how secure their jobs are, either.

I can't believe this is the new 'normal'.


…er, these are for places to rent as of this August 1.


I know TWO people who are paying rent that is below cost for most wannabe "investors" for BRAND NEW condos in the Coquitlam/Port Moody areas.

#1…paying $1650.00/mo. for a 2 bedroom condo at Nahanni in the Newport area of PoMo.

(It would require a DP of $160K to equal the rent/fees/taxes)

#2…paying $1100./mo for a 1 bdrm + den overlooking Coquitlam Centre.

So, it is definitely CHEAPER to rent in the suburbs.

P Waiting

I feel that the next 6 months will be telling. If the market does not correct, or give an indication of a correction, we may be in it for a good 5 years. At that point we will have to ask ourselves if it is worth renting (as some may want a stable home to raise kids. Hold your renting is the same as owning comments), or we may have to bite the bullet and buy an overpriced asset.



I agree with you. I thought (hoping) the US housing crisis was supposed to trickle down here??…Still waiting for that to happen…

I still laugh at all the 'real estate' articles the province/sun spews out from the so called experts, but the Vancouver sheep take all that for word, and it continues to sustain this market as buyers rush to purchase.


Yalie: This fall/winter is going to be a real trainwreck. I've heard (and said) that so much over the last few years that I think I'm starting to not believe it any more. Maybe people in Vancouver can really be kept permanently in a state of delusion over the value of real estate. I realize that current rise in prices is due to the 10% drop in prices last year plus the lower interest rates improving affordability, right as the expected spring bounce arrived. I know about the double peak on the classic asset bubble graph. I know about Mohican's MOI-to-pricechange graph. But I also know that everyone I talk to about real estate in this city knows nothing more than what you read in a REB press release. The complete lack of critical thinking, or questioning of the information… Read more »


#49 right on! The Teranet index shows what a mockery the so-called "Benchmark" price really is. Among other things, including newly-built units makes the benchmark prices look higher, because like new cars, people pay extra for a new house/apartment. And with all the new product on the market it's no wonder the benchmark looks better than the repeat-sales method.

As for our friend Dave, while I do respect that his level of intelligence is about 100X greater than the average bull on this site, it's so obvious that he's working on behalf of the RE industry in some way. Too bad for them that the coming RE price crash is already baked in to the Van market. This fall/winter is going to be a real trainwreck.


I ignore the realtors numbers and trust the teranet. The realtors numbers are mello-dramatic at best. 4% decline last year for 2 months in a row? Didn't happen. Spring bounce of 10%? Didn't happen. Bottom of prices was December last year? Didn't happen. The constant rah rah rah of "the bottom is in", "you gotta buy now" is a little over the top for me. Realtors seem like the sheep in Hitchers Guide to the Galaxy. Every morning they are surprised by the sunrise. Every spring realtors are surprised by the start of a rally and assume that it will never end. And when it does end, in fall, they are equally surprised. Their benchmark reflects this surprise with absurdly large moves in the spring and the fall. It is very nice to have something published by a third party.… Read more »


drugs “R” us: Amen. It's one of the things that annoys me about this city.


"Stop being so Vancouver-centric and projecting this city to the rest of North America. It’s a big place. You really think Phoenix or Calgary are going to stop building SFH? Why? As another poster pointed out, there are lots of cities in Canada and the US which have static or declining populations and have no densification pressures in the first place. Even big ones like Montreal and St. Louis. Not to mention Detroit, Buffalo, etc., where SFH lots are essentially free. Due to declining resources and increased energy costs we are likely to move away from the McMansion and back toward the house of the 1950’s, but the SFH is not going away. There were lots of them a couple of generations ago when real household income was much lower than today." It's not lack of space or land that… Read more »

drugs "R"

Anonymous #30 – I think Soviet bureaucrats have nothing on their local counterparts. Here's one example -A responsible, civilized adults are prohibited from enjoying a beer when having a picnic in any of this glorious city's public parks while at the same time junkies are shooting up publicly all over the place, pissing themselves, defecating and throwing up while at it and that's OK.

Go figure.

And just so you know, this is coming from someone who spent plenty of time living under a Soviet-style regime.


hovering: anyone who seriously watches the market ignores the teranet. even hard core bears on other blogs have noted the market is up 5-10% the last few months accross the majority of product. for better analysis even unofficial numbers from chipman/gavin/agent will/maggie chandler reflections/etc is more useful than teranet.


Dave: Please stop downgrading posts that are reasonable. Dave's post is reasonable and, moreover, he's most likely correct. Tetranet will most likely show a bit of a spring bounce–the same spring bounce that we've seen in other cities during their price declines. It was to be expected. We will most likely have a spring bounce next year as well.


Dave: The final month of declines…. for now. I have a hunch the decline will begin again in the "Fall".



I have a hunch that will be the final month of the decline since Teranet has a little catching up to do with what the market has been doing this spring.


New Teranet data is out

also check out the "communiques" tab at the top of the web page for the July 2009 report. My favourite part being:

"The 11 straight monthly declines of the Vancouver index have left it down 12.0% from peak."

and the related cliff-like graph



(Vancouver) has one of the largest proportions of single-family lots of any North American city.

This statistic is of course bogus, because secondary suites are now legal in almost all "single-family" zoned areas. In other words the actual zoning is duplex.

Quite the opposite, I would think the CoV has a lower % of lots which are truly SFH zoned (i.e. only legal use is a SFH with no secondary suite) compared to peer cities like the City of Seattle (and no I don't consider the City of San Francisco or NYC to be peers). Never mind places like Calgary or Houston.