The new Vancouver Special could be the basement suite

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The basement suite may be as typically Vancouver as yoga and rain. A survey finds more than four in 10 home owners in Vancouver rent a part of their place out.

Insurance company Square One asked 4,000 home owners across Canada and found that 43 per cent of those in Vancouver have tenants. That’s the highest percentage in the country, at more than three times the national average.

BC has the highest provincial rate at 25 per cent. The prairie provinces have the lowest at five per cent.

The obvious reason for this is that owning a detached home here is extremely expensive.

Vancouver also has an extremely low rental vacancy rate, even with all these basements to rent. The rate slid to just 1.4 per cent this April.

Thomas Davidoff with UBC’s Sauder School of Business says the situation isn’t ideal for tenant or landlord.

“In addition to not dreaming of having neighbours in a basement suite, most people don’t dream of living in somebody’s basement when they’re growing up. But the absence of affordable apartments is reflected in the strong demand for living in basement suites.”

He says city council should pay attention.

“These are sloppy, whatever-versions of apartments. There’s way too much single family housing. People don’t want single family homes in Vancouver. The market wants smaller units.”

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