When it comes time to buy a home, you’ve probably heard of townhouses, condos, duplexes, triplexes, semi-detached or detached homes. But chances are, you probably haven’t heard of a “skinny home” or a “thin home” before.
Recently, a skinny split-level home on West 15th Avenue in the Point Grey neighbourhood in Vancouver sold for $1.35 million. The house, which was built in 1987 on a half lot, runs 3.6 metres wide (12 feet) and has 945 square feet of floor space. While space in the house is limited, it still offers a master bedroom, kitchen, living room, den, one and a half bathrooms and a garage in four levels. There were about 60 skinny homes built in Vancouver on similar sized lots.
While Vancouver residents face affordability issues with the price of housing continually increasing, unfortunately skinny homes may not be the solution since they use more land than a triplex, duplex or a townhouse, a real estate agent told CBC News.
Meanwhile, Edmonton recently passed a motion to allow skinny homes to be built in the majority of the city’s neighbourhoods. Homeowners living on single family-oriented zones can divide their single property into two, as long as the property is at least 15 metres (50 feet).
The motion saw a great deal of debate on both sides with some residents worried that this change will encourage developers to flip houses to make a profit rather than being connected to the neighbourhood, but some residents said this change will improve housing affordability in the city since there will a greater supply of houses, according to the Edmonton Journal.
Edmonton’s first skinny houses were put on the market in January of 2014 after an older bungalow was torn down to accommodate two three-bedroom houses with two and a half baths, double detached garages, a front veranda and a rear deck. Back then, building these types of houses was only allowed in mature neighbourhoods.
Edmonton’s mayor strongly advocated for infill housing, which is when new housing is added to already established neighbourhoods.
â”They provide new housing, which many people are looking for, but in established areas, and it can be more affordable simply because the cost of the land is significantly less than on a full lot,” Mayor Don Iveson told the Edmonton Journal.
While residents’ concerns about traffic and parking congestion are legitimate, these types of houses allow more families looking for newly built homes to live closer to central Edmonton, said the mayor.
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