Townhomes, the missing middle?

Townhomes Themissingmiddle

By Brandon Harding, Vice President

The world is experiencing some remarkable shifts this year. One of these significant transformations is the development and implementation of technology to allow a large portion of the workforce to work from home. Every generation has adopted productivity and connectivity apps as the world adapts to a different lifestyle and new government policy. The concept of “office space” has not died; however, it has changed. As a result, more people seek alternative housing choices to provide a perfect balance of amenity-rich living with additional space for office or home activities.

Homeowners moving from condominiums generally want to live free of yard work and other chores that come with homeownership. They may desire onsite gyms, common areas, nearby shopping, underground parking, and the other amenities they enjoy with urban living. Affordability is an essential factor as the increase in the required down payment from a condominium to a detached home is a significant jump. Many households need a steppingstone to build up the equity required for purchasing a detached house. Creative townhome designs are improving affordability and profitability. The City of Vancouver and Coquitlam support lock-off suites in the basement. Lock-off suites allow owners to rent their homes out to multiple tenants or provide a mortgage helper. More ways to supplement the mortgage payments make this practical for all types of buyers.

The BC housing market was not ready for this trend. A recent report from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver indicates that for October 2020, 43.5% of listings that sold were townhomes. Yet townhomes only account for 15% of the total listings throughout the Greater Vancouver Region. With the primary focus of city planning historically on condominiums and single detached homes, the missing middle townhome, is more prevalent.

The trend and demand for townhomes will only increase as more metropolitan people migrate to the suburbs searching for larger living spaces, while our housing market runs the risk of being underprepared.

Current planning needs to be forward-thinking as the development process takes years to rezone and build a new project. Opportunities like the land assembly on Harrison is what our housing economy needs to satisfy homeowners now and in the future.

Diverse housing choices are the building blocks for creating functional, affordable, and exciting communities people want to be part of. Today is the time to ensure that we have a balanced set of housing options for everyone now and in the future.

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