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Laneway housing represents 19% of all new single family and two family dwellings in Vancouver

One of the criticisms surrounding laneway housing is that – while great – there is no way for this housing typology to have a meaningful impact on the overall housing supply equation.

I’ve previously written about the impact of laneway housing in Vancouver. But I wanted to revisit some of the data following this tweet by GRIDS Vancouver, where they link to a spreadsheet they prepared using the City of Vancouver’s building permit data.

Laneway housing was first allowed in Vancouver in 2009. In that first year, only 18 building permits were issued. But since then the number has grown steadily. In 2014, they hit 377. And in 2015 (up to September), they hit 360. So for the full year, it is highly likely they will show yet another year-over-year increase.

Since laneway houses became permissible (and up to September 2015), a total of 1,885 building permits have been issued. During this same time period, 8,239 permits were issued for other low-rise housing, up to and including duplexes. This includes single family dwellings, single family dwellings with a secondary suite, and two family dwellings.

So for a period of almost 8 years, laneway houses have represented on average 19% of all new single family and two family dwellings in Vancouver. If you include low-rise multifamily product into this equation (more than 2 units, but 3 storeys or less ), the percentage is still slightly above 17%. This is something. It’s not everything, but it is certainly something. 

More conventional low-rise housing still represents a greater number and, of course, most of the new supply is coming in the form of condos, apartments and other higher density housing. But 17-19% are still meaningful numbers when part of the affordability problem is clearly a lack of supply.

It is for reasons such as these that I, along with many others, want to bring laneway housing Toronto. If you feel similarly, please consider supporting my prototype project by signing your name here.

Update: A previous version of this post stated that 19% of all new low-rise housing in Vancouver had become laneway housing. This number was calculated on all low-rise housing up to and including duplexes, but excluded low-rise multifamily product. The above post has been updated to lend more precision to my understanding of the data.

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