With the price of houses in Vancouver, how does one afford to buy one? Do you ask your parents to help? Do you get renters to help with the mortgage? How about both? The answer is... YES!

The price of houses has been climbing up over the past few years as well as the land values.  Neighbourhoods with great schools have seen some of the highest price appreciation as well as land that allows you to have multiple dwellings.  Baby boomers are retiring, selling their homes for astronomical numbers and are downsizing.  The kids have moved out, the parents don't need as much space anymore, they can sell their home and retire early.  This is causing a big transfer of wealth as some parents are helping their kids buy a home and are transferring the wealth to them.

I am seeing where the 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.  Laneway homes are being allowed and some parents are deciding to live in the laneway home while their kids and grand kids live in the main house.  This is allowing them to travel more, enjoy turnkey living and to have a place where it is easy for them to see their children and grandchildren.  It is starting to be a great option and is helping people own homes.

Another option is to have a rental suite.  Basement suites or Garden Suites can range from a one bedroom to three bedroom. The three bedrooms is rare and would command a higher rent than a two bedroom. Vacancy rates are low in Vancouver and are less than 2%.  Most rental properties will fetch $2.00 to $2.50 per square foot in Vancouver.

There may also come a time in the future when the City or District will allow you to have a Legal Suite plus a Laneway home.  This could then help with two rental incomes coming in.

A great example of a two family home that would work great for older parents and their grown up kids or, for owners to have some great mortgage help is this home at 2140 Pemberton Ave in the Pemberton Heights neighborhood of North Vancouver.

The owner custom built this home on the existing foundation and designed it in such away that would allow one family to live on the main floor and one family downstairs. The Garden Suite can easily be rented for $2,300 per month and each family would have their own yard space.

The detached garage could also become a laneway home and could be used as a rental suite as long as the garden suite was not being used.  There could also be a way to connect this home into a single family home which would then allow the laneway garage to be a rental.

As more time passes and as prices continue to rise, two family or three family living will become more common in Vancouver.  If you need assistance in finding a two family home or would like to share any of your thoughts or comments, please do so below.

Posted by Tony Cikes on


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