Backyard suites, garage suites, laneway houses, carriage homes, nanny suites, mother-in-law suites – there are many different names for this type of build, which has the potential to help alleviate tight residential housing market conditions in Calgary for several reasons.

Laneway houses are detached secondary suites built into an existing lot, usually in the backyard. Most city lots with garage suites back out onto a rear alleyway; however, some front-end driveway lots are also capable of such builds.

These projects are handy in several ways for homeowners who choose to build one, including (but not limited to):

  • As a landlord, earning a secondary income with a new rental property or Air BnB
  • As a senior, ageing in place while renting out the main house or selling it to family
  • As an empty nester, renting out the main house while travelling abroad
  • As a homeowner, adding to your overall property asset value while generating additional income
  • As a host, having an additional bedroom to accommodate friends and family

But one purpose usually left out of the picture for garage suite buyers is that in many instances, they help alleviate the housing crisis in Calgary. But how so, might you ask?

They Increase Housing Availability

Backyard suites provide relatively affordable rental units in the inner city and other high-demand areas in Calgary. We have seen laneway houses of various sizes in various communities across the city rented for anywhere from $1,300 to $1,800 or more depending on the location and size of interior living space.

If you’re in an inner city location near walkable areas such as Kensington, Marda Loop or Bridgeland, this offers tenants the opportunity to live, work and play near the city’s most vibrant districts.

Additionally, in many scenarios, these suites are bought by ageing parents. Then, the main house is sold or rented to family, providing them with a living space and easing demand on the local housing market versus if these loved ones were to move elsewhere.

Canada let one million new immigrants into the country last year, ramping up pressure on housing markets from coast to coast. Ontario and Alberta are the two most sought-after places to live for both newcomers and interprovincial migrants, according to the Alberta Government.

Overall, Calgary could use more backyard suites to alleviate tight housing market conditions in a marketplace where new product just is not getting built fast enough relative to the influx of new residents.

High Interest Rates

With the highest interest rates in over two decades, many potential real estate buyers cannot afford what they used to. As a result, backyard suites have become front-and-centre in the minds of many homeowners in Calgary looking to maximize their assets while also being able to afford a lower priced product.

For example, we currently offer maximum-sized suites (two-bedroom floorplan, ~850 square feet of interior living space) for approximately $255,000 to $270,000 + GST. Compared to a similar-sized new condo in the Beltline, for example, this price can be significantly lower by anywhere from five to six figures!

High interest rates mean many buyers are putting their real estate transactions on hold. However, when the Bank of Canada eventually does lower interest rates, there will be a flood of new potential buyers which will cause even more strain on the residential real estate market.

Questions about Backyard Suites?

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Overall, garage suites can be an excellent solution to help increase density, reduce urban sprawl and alleviate tight housing market and rental conditions in Calgary, without a doubt.

If you are thinking about building a backyard suite on your lot and have questions about how to go about it, pricing and other specifics, contact us anytime at 403-797-4918 and we will be more than happy to assist you!

As Calgary’s premier laneway house builder, we look forward to discussing your backyard suite building goals!