Welcomed elsewhere as laneway housing, Canadian container home hits B.C. Home & Garden Show

By now, Vancouverites are used to seeing shipping containers repurposed as temporary housing for those in need, and as makeshift offices for construction projects around town. They might have also seen them perched in more remote settings like the Gulf Islands and Whistler. But what we haven’t embraced in this city yet is containers used as permanent laneway housing—though that certainly isn’t the case for other squeezed real-estate markets in North America.

At the home show, Vancouverites can have a firsthand, walk-through look at what living in a container home might feel like. Honomobo’s one-bedroom, one-bathroom 419-square-foot M1 style on view started as a steel container made in China and came here shipping goods. (“We know exactly what's been shipped in them and how they’re built,” Engelman says.) And while the exterior still has a modular industrial aesthetic, it no longer feels like a steel box. The ceiling is lined with warm wood, and a 31-foot floor-to-ceiling wall of glass along the front adds to the live-ability.


Why are Laneway homes so desirable?

Laneway Living

In the last few years throughout Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Realtors have seen a massive increase in homes with laneway homes. To date, The City of Vancouver has issued upwards of 3300 permits for laneway homes and plans to expand the rental housing option by way of laneway homes to an additional 4000 over the next 10 years. 

As an existing homeowner, looking into building a laneway home may soon become an even more desirable option for generating rental income as obtaining permits is becoming easier, height restrictions are lifting, and laneway homes can now be built with a half second story instead of a full second story, thus offering more design flexibility and time efficient options for the homeowner.

If you are thinking about purchasing a Vancouver Home with a laneway property, or are a current homeowner and are thinking about building a laneway, Matt Henry, a Remax Realtor in Vancouver who specializes in Homes with Laneway Homes says the desirability is endless. “From wanting housing options for elderly parents who need to be close but still want independence, or generating extra income by renting the laneway or by downsizing yourself while being able to rent out your main residence, or offering older kids a cheaper rental option while keeping them close to home.” 

So while we keep seeing previously lifeless, empty lanes come to life from homes with laneways homes, we might want to consider getting into the laneway game.

-Matt Henry Team

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