The Endless Real Estate Opportunities of Laneway Homes and How to Buy-In

Thanks to the new by-law, Toronto will see an increase in the building of laneway suites shortly. But what does this mean to property-owners and even those in desperate need of affordable housing?

In this article we take a closer look at the implications laneway housing has for residents of the greater Toronto area.

But first, we must understand what they are.

What is a Laneway Home?

A laneway home, or laneway suite as it is also called, is a residential structure that is constructed in the spot where a garage would be on an established property. It can also be built on top of a garage. The one requirement is that it has to have access to a laneway.

They are often modular designs which fit within the spectrum of 600-1000 square feet. They gently increase density while lifting the pressures of Toronto’s lack of residential space. A laneway home can be compared to a basement suite. All services will be linked to the main house on the property. For example, mail, water, electricity, and emergency services.

But How Would It Work?

There have been a lot of doubts about the feasibility of laneway homes as an answer to the housing crisis Toronto is facing. In essence, the main points to take into consideration are:

  1. Toronto has about 2,400 unutilised laneway spaces currently.
  2. There is not enough rental housing available in Toronto at the moment and the population continues to grow.
  3. The total area covered by 2,400 laneway spaces amounts to 300 km of unutilised space.
  4. The majority of laneways are situated in sought-after neighbourhoods that are accessible to necessary amenities, making them a prime location.
  5. By employing this housing solution, the City of Toronto will add valuable rental units to these sought-after neighbourhoods.

Vancouver did it Years Ago

Yes, that’s correct. Back in 2009, Vancouver adapted their by-laws and started using unutilised laneways. The city has never looked back. From the inception of the by-law to modern day, a total of 500 laneway homes have been built successfully.

Can Toronto Follow in Vancouver’s Footsteps?

Two of Toronto’s biggest urban developers are currently working relentlessly to ensure the feasibility of laneway homes in Toronto. There are currently numerous pilot projects underway as trials to see whether or not they could be the answer to the city’s housing problem.

One of these projects are run by the University of Toronto. They have built two laneway units across from Robarts Library. One of the developers and advocates of laneway housing, Lanescape, are working with the University of Toronto to study the findings and create a report for the City Council.

Everyone Wants a Piece of the Pie

That goes for property developers and homeowners alike. Everyone is excited about the possibilities that these little hubs can bring to the city. This includes everything from modularly designed living spaces, art hubs to new possibilities for commerce.

Another aspect pointed out by architects and urban planners is the fact that these laneway homes will utilise the same infrastructure and resources that already exist.

Green designs and materials are also top-priority, with the use of solar panels and roof gardens as a key factor to take into consideration with the design and construction of these units.

Laneway Suites, Yay or Nay

Even though the plans have faced some apprehension, it seems as if the consensus is that laneway suites are a great idea. Of course, this will be subject to each home-owner who has an unutilised laneway at their disposal.

There are loads of benefits that go with the building of laneway homes. Some of which include:

  • Solution to housing problem faced in Toronto
  • Introduction of sustainable design to existing neighbourhoods
  • Homeowners can earn an extra income to pay off their mortgages
  • Make neighbourhoods safer and create a sense of pride and belonging

Are you a home-owner looking at the possibility of building a laneway home on your property?

Quick Facts of General Requirements

As you can imagine, your property will have to adhere to certain specifications and requirements. Not to worry, it’s pretty easy to ascertain whether or not you will be able to become the proud owner of a new laneway suite.

1. Size and Type

Firstly, a standard laneway home can be anything between 700 to 1000 square feet plus exemptions. The size of your plot will, of course, be determined by the size and type of your suite.

2. General Requirements

Secondly, you have to be aware of the fact that requirements may differ from one municipality to the next. We’ve listed the main requirements for you below:

  1. Your property has to be 7 to 15 metres wide.
  2. The site has to be accessible via a flanking street or a lane.
  3. If the site is not accessible via any of the ways above, it has to be wide enough to access via the driveway or the street.
  4. One or two parking spaces are required

Are you as excited as we are about this new development? The possibilities of incorporating laneway houses are endless. Not only will it solve the housing crisis the city faces, but it will beautify our city, make it safer, and allow homeowners to increase their income. Contact us to receive more info.

Call Us Today

Give us a call and one of our dedicated team members will provide you with further information regarding your future laneway home.