Canadian Contractor

What are ‘laneway homes’ and why are they becoming so popular?

'Laneway homes' are essentially granny suites or garden suites accessible from back alleys. Vancouver has issued over 1,000 permits for such structures since 2009.


September 30, 2015
By Alec Caldwell
Alec Caldwell

Vancouver LanewayLaneway homes are not new and have been around in Vancouver since at least 2009. The city has issued over 1,000 permits since then. Developers there were looking for new ways to squeeze housing into tighter spaces and this concept was one way to achieve it.

What are laneway homes?  They are small units, often built above garages and accessible from a back alley. They are also known as granny suites or garden suites, although they may also become single family residences. Basically, they become affordable living and fill a needed gap within big cities and surrounding areas.

It’s possible that we will see this concept spread across Canada. Calgary recently launched a pilot project for laneway homes along one of its city streets.

For homeowners in a position to afford such a concept, a laneway home can add significantly to their property values.

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Environmentalist might also consider this laneway homes as a good thing. They obviously require a minimum of energy and create a smaller carbon footprint. The concept might help reduce (slightly) the environmental damage from urban sprawl.

Yes, there are downsides to Laneway homes. They may require additional vehicle parking to be provided elsehwere. They may change neighbourhood dynamics in ways that some existing residents won’t like.  But it’s likely that you will be hearing more about this type of mini-housing in the months and years ahead.

Let us know your thoughts and ideas laneway housing.

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2 Comments » for What are ‘laneway homes’ and why are they becoming so popular?
  1. Rob Koci says:

    We know Vancouver has been supportive of lane way homes. What about the rest of the country?

  2. Marten says:

    Never heard of them. Seems like a great way to add more people and less parking to over crowded areas already, at least in the Ottawa area.

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