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Cost of Building A Lane House

November 9, 2016
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Hardly a day goes by without a story in the news or a conversation over coffee about the Vancouver housing market. Prices are soaring for both mortgages and rentals, and everyone is wondering what the future holds for the city’s housing market.

Because of the uncertainty of the future of the housing market, soaring costs and low vacancy rates, people are coming up with new ways to make money off their properties. One of the more common solutions is to build a laneway house on the lot. Laneway houses are detached houses, usually in the backyard where a garage or carport would go, and that typically open onto the back lane.

This kind of housing solution is taking off in Metro Vancouver, and it can be a great solution for both the supply of housing in the city, and as extra income for those already in the housing market who are looking to offset the cost of mortgage.

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If you are thinking about building a laneway house on your lot, you might be wondering how much it costs. Look no further, we’ve done some research to answer some questions you might have about laneway houses and their cost.

First, a little background. Laneway houses became legal in Vancouver in 2009 when the city passed a plan to densify housing to deal with an increasing population. They were meant to increase urban density in pre-existing neighbourhoods while keeping the feel of single-family homes. Vancouver’s average laneway house is 550 square feet, one and a half stories, with one or two bedrooms. You can build a laneway house on any lot 32 feet or wider in any RS single family zone.

That’s all fine, but how much do they cost? Assuming you already have the land, the cost of a laneway house typically ranges from $180,000 at the lowest to $400,00 or higher. The range in cost reflects the size, finish, quality of materials and work.

Laneway houses are restricted by the size of the land available and, as mentioned, are often built on the spot where a garage would have gone. The smaller the house, generally means the less the cost will be. However depending on the finishes you choose to install, the cost will fluctuate further.

If you are going to build a laneway house, you should know what you are planning to do with it. Will it be for ageing parents or your children when they are ready to move out, or will you be renting it indefinitely to tenants? Once you’ve decided what kind of house you want and what kind of quality you will need, you can then begin your search for the right construction company that will suit your needs. Make sure to do thorough research and read online reviews to ensure you are dealing with a quality company.

Because laneway houses have taken off with such popularity since they became legal in 2009, there are now more than 2,500 in Vancouver. The city offers a step by step online guide, complete with how to apply for permits, illustrations of regulations and guidelines, sketches of laneway house floor plans and exteriors, resources for designing and building and photos of completed laneway houses.

At Mercia Construction, we are experts in building quality, beautiful and affordable laneway houses in a range that you will be satisfied with. Our experienced contractors work with integrity and build quality homes that are custom made suit your needs. We are also happy to answer any questions you might have so feel free to give us a call to see if we can help with your laneway housing needs.