Laneway Suites & Affordable Housing: Friend & Foe?

While we all have sat and watched the Toronto Real Estate market reach historical highs and the rental market heat up. Many Torontonians are wondering how to survive while others are asking how can they take advantage of the current market. Are Laneway suites a win, win situation?

According to an article by the The Star, David Hulchanski, Professor of housing and community development at the University of Toronto, said, “in a city facing a lack of affordable housing, anything built should ideally be for rent…. However, he says, those monthly costs will likely match whatever the market dictates and won’t put a dent in the lack of affordable rental housing” They go on to say “The vacancy rate for purpose-built rentals in central Toronto is about 1.3 per cent, with a one-bedroom unit going for $1,561, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Those figures come largely from occupied units subject to rent control”.

As a Laneway lot owner, should you choose to rent your suite, the new Laneway suite will be rented out for whatever the market can bear. From a renters perspective, a brand new 800 to 1500 sf Laneway suite provides an attractive alternative to living in a cramped condo or dark basement apartment. It’s an opportunity that some might pay a premium for, especially to be in one of Toronto’s established neighborhoods.

While it may predictively seem to not do anything for the affordable rental housing market, there are strategies that can make this very affordable.

Consider the gap in generational housing. Boomerangs (the children of boomers) return home to take their old bedrooms back in their parents house as house prices and qualifying incomes don’t meet. What would be possible when parents and children pool resources and build. This makes Laneways suites a very affordable strategy for millenials trying to get their first home. Co-ownership, where two or more parties share ownership of a house as a means to have access to affordable housing, is not a new concept in Toronto according to co-ownership expert Leslie Gaynor. A Laneway lot is likely the new ideal - two houses for two or more families on one lot.

For more of what’s possible, Call 647.236.007 or contact us at to start the conversation!