People are asking about the affordability of houses in Vancouver. There are articles in the media that tell us that with the price of houses in Vancouver, no one can afford to buy. Lets discuss creative ways that can change this outlook. There are lots of strategies out there, and here are some that you might find helpful. New buyers often ask parents for help, then add renters to help with the mortgage. Others co-buy to have a two-family or even three-family home.

With the increasing price of houses and land values in the past few years, there has also been some innovation in living spaces in Vancouver. The neighbourhoods with great schools that have seen some of the highest price appreciation also often allow owners to have multiple dwellings.  These places are coming available as downsizing baby boomers are retiring. When the kids move out, parents don t need as much space, so they can sell their homes (for astronomical numbers) retire early and change lifestyle. Some parents help their kids buy a home and transfer that wealth to them in a way that they can really use it.

In some scenarios, parents provide the down payment or they go into a joint venture with their kids and buy a property where two dwelling units can be built.  Vancouver s Laneway home option allows parents to move into the smaller new laneway house, while their grown kids and their young families live in the larger house.

Another standard option is the rental suite.  Basement or Garden suites ranging from one to three bedrooms are great mortgage helpers. Vacancy rates in Vancouver are low – less than 2%, and most rental properties offer $2.00 to $2.50 per square foot.
In some areas, Vancouver may in the future allow both a laneway house and a legal suite, which would really help affordability by offering the owner two rental incomes to offset the mortgage.

Home in Kitsilano
This large house on a corner lot in a beautiful area of Vancouver holds two homes (main floor and upper level) as well as two rental suites.   Here in Kitsilano on W. 1st  this is a great example of the kind of two-owner house that could work well for older parents and their grown up kids or, for owners to have some great mortgage help. The owners custom restored this home on the existing foundation and designed it to allow one owner to live on the main floor and one owner upstairs in large suites with plenty of living space. The house has two Garden Suites that are easily rented on an ongoing basis, each with its own patio space and garden. (see the website: )  Perhaps the detached garage could become a laneway home in the future?

As you see, there are many creative solutions for home ownership in Vancouver. A rise of innovative living arrangements will help owners make the most of their property in the midst of rising house prices and land values.