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As demand for housing in Metro Vancouver remains strong, limited supply continues to be an obstacle, and as a result, home prices are on the rise. To create much needed inventory in the market, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s (REBGV) new president Phil Moore says stratifying laneway houses and coach homes could be the most effective solution.

In the first quarter of 2018, there were 12,469 homes listed for sale in Metro Vancouver — the region’s lowest first-quarter new listings total since 2013, according to REBGV’s latest data, published this month.

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Total inventory for all housing types is low across the region — particularly in the townhome and condo segments which remain well below historical norms.

“A lot of Vancouver is zoned for either high-rises in the downtown area or the rest of Vancouver has single-family dwellings. And there isn’t a middle housing section where we would have townhouses,” Moore tells BuzzBuzzNews.

Other types of housing that fall under “middle housing” include laneway houses or coach homes, which are typically smaller properties built into pre-existing lots, located in the backyard that open onto a back lane.

Moore says these housing types are increasingly popular, but cannot be sold under strata housing, which allows residents to own their individual strata lots and, together, own the common property and common assets as a strata corporation.

“Government hasn’t allowed people to stratify and sell those [laneway and coach homes] off separately. If they did that, then there would be more supply and it would create something more affordable,” says Moore.

Traditionally, spring is the busiest time of the year in for the housing market, and if supply remains at these historic low numbers, Moore says prices will likely remain the same or continue to climb.

In March, the benchmark price of a home in Metro Vancouver was $1,084,000, up 16 per cent from March 2017.

The good news is that the region is seeing a record 42,000 new housing starts this year, up from the annual average of 28,000 to 30,000 starts.

“We’re hoping with those new housing starts, that might take some pressure off the prices,” says Moore.

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