Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Will Canadian City’s Tax Plan Inspire U.S. or More Canadians to Follow With Affordable Housing Battle Tool?

February 22nd, 2019 Comments off



After hearing from more than 15,000 people and consulting with many experts, the City saw both support and need for a tax on empty homes in Vancouver. A 2016 City of Vancouver survey found that more than 90% of Vancouver residents surveyed agreed that empty homes were a problem; a separate poll by Angus Reid in 2015 found that 80% of Metro Vancouver residents were in support of a vacancy tax.” So said the the City of Vancouver created the Empty Homes Tax (EHT), also known as the Vacancy Tax report.


The report touts that “The EHT, the first of its kind in North America, is intended to help relieve pressure on Vancouver’s rental housing market.”

The Vancouver Sun produced this video, which outlines the concepts behind the issue, plus related data being collected.



Is This a Good Idea?

There will no doubt be voices both for and against this plan.  MHProNews merely notes at this point in time that this ‘solution’ avoids the question of supply.  Offering more affordable housing – including manufactured homes – ought to be an obvious part of the solution to the growing demand.

The full report from the City of Vancouver is linked here as a download.


Collage by MHProNews.


See the related reports, further below. That’s this morning’s “News through the lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)



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Tiny Homes Make Moves North of the Border

May 22nd, 2017 Comments off

A Mini Homes of Manitoba home. Credit: MetroNews.

In Manitoba, Canada, a company called Mini Homes of Manitoba has been working for nearly two years to make tiny home living legal in the province

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the goal for company co-founders Anita Munn and her husband, Darrell Manuliak, is to start a tiny home village by teaming up with a group to purchase land with enough interest.

A lot of municipalities are more welcoming to tiny homes, off the wheels and on a foundation,” said Munn, during a meeting at the company’s offices last week.

Then it’s just a matter of applying for a variance on their zoning requirements.”

Munn and Manuliak say they have sold seven tiny homes in the last two years, and have five more currently under construction.


Anita Munn and Darrell Manuliak. Credit: CBC.

This is not for everyone. There are still people who want a large home, but more and more people are finding they don’t need as much space,” said Munn.

Representatives from Tiny House Festival Foundation, a Vancouver non-profit, were also in attendance at the meeting, and shared additional details on why they believe tiny homes are a solution.

In Vancouver, we’re looking at a situation where the housing crisis is in full swing, and a lot of people are investigating this as an affordable option,” said foundation co-founder Lisa Chessari.

That’s not to say there isn’t a world of difference between a crowded city squeezed between the ocean and mountains on the Pacific coast and Canada’s endless heartland in big sky country. But affordability, sustainability are driving the concept forward.”

For local resident Deborah Lavallier, who owns several acres of land, she likes the concept of creating a community.

I like the idea of like-minded people living together. We could have a community. The land is right on the river — we could have docks, canoes, kayaks, a gazebo, a barbecue. And you’re 10 minutes from the city,” said Lavallier.


Anita Munn checks out one of the tiny homes. Credit: CBC.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, so called “tiny homes” face an uphill battle, as zoning laws vary widely. And, some potential customers also see challenges in making it work.

We’re looking at downsizing, and we’re looking at tiny homes, but not this tiny,” said Don Magnussen, who was looking at one of Mini Homes of Manitoba’s 342 square foot units.

Maybe 500 to 600 square feet, but we don’t have the land. The problem is finding a place to put these homes.”


Why Manufactured Housing Wins


While “tiny homes” may be all the rage, people like Don Magnussen are finding that the real value is in a tried and true model.

Unlike tiny homes, which are still struggling with state and local regulations, buyers of manufactured homes generally avoid building code and zoning issues. In Washington State, a law passed in 2005 prevents cities from discriminating against manufactured homes, which has helped to break stereotypes.

Manufactured homes are built to a national code that ensures homes meet basic structural, safety and energy standards,” said Craig Sedlacek, the program manager for the Factory Assembled Structures program at the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. The organization conducts building inspections for manufactured homes.

There’s no real definition for a tiny home. It might be built to a local code, a recreational vehicle (RV) code or no code at all. It’s important for buyers to understand what standards a home is built to before they buy it.”

MHProNews and MHLivingNews have covered the “tiny home” movement extensively, including the potential for big legal trouble for owners and a detailed side-by-side comparison with manufactured homes, highlighting function and value versus fashion. ##


(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)



RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


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New Modular Housing Project Unveiled

February 17th, 2017 Comments off

220 Terminal Avenue. Credit: The Tyee.

In Vancouver, the city has unveiled its latest tool in the effort to end homelessness and increase affordable housing options: modular housing.

According to The Tyee, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, federal minister Jean-Yves Duclos, and Vancouver Affordable Housing Association’s interim CEO Luke Harrison officially opened 220 Terminal Avenue this week, which is a three-story, 40-unit temporary housing building renting for $375, which is the income assistance shelter rate for the city.

Residents were selected from city-owned, single room occupancy hotels, in an effort to open up hotel beds for others who are in shelters or on the street.

The development was made possible with a land donation from the city, and also received $1.5 million from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s $200 million Affordable Rental Innovation Fund.

Operational funding from Vancity Credit Union was also provided.

The temporary housing is set to remain at the Terminal Avenue location for at least three years, and then disassembled and utilized elsewhere. The plan is to eventually develop the location, and utilize the modular system as a “stop gap” aid in housing the homeless.

Kamloops based Horizon North, known for their industrial camp work-force housing, built and delivered the modular units in six months, and more units can be added as needed.


Federal Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, left, speaks at the official opening of 220 Terminal Ave. Credit: The Tyee.

This is an example of where a more creative partnership is working,” said Mayor Robertson.

We haven’t been able to achieve that on some other sites that are more permanent. They require more ongoing subsidy, and we certainly expect that from the B.C. government and BC Housing, who typically participate in the permanent projects.

The city is also on the hunt for more potential modular housing locations around Vancouver, which will allow it to continue to solicit federal and provincial governments for more housing funds.

The numbers work: it’s minimal cost to the city; it’s something that generates enough income to operate with a small subsidy,” said Robertson.

This is an example of the kind of creative and innovative ideas that we need more of.

The Daily Business News initially covered this project in October, when the city had a model modular unit from Horizon North on display at the Vancouver art gallery. This story is linked here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Top Prize for Residential Modular Visionary

January 30th, 2017 Comments off

A look at the award winning modular vision. Credit: Vancouver Sun.

A vision for modular housing has made a huge impact at the recent STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Spotlight Awards in Vancouver, Canada.

According to the Vancouver Sun, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) civil engineering student Stephen Cohos won the $20,000 grand prize during the inaugural edition of the awards event for his vision of sustainable modular housing.

My main interest is in modular building systems, but we can also make buildings that sequester carbon from the atmosphere rather than create it in the production of cement,” said Cohos.


Credit: STEM Spotlight Awards.

Cohos presented the Amoeba Building System to judges, which is a modular building system that can be used to create large multi-unit residential buildings composed almost entirely from wood, with the goal of solving the Vancouver area-housing crisis.

Cohos says that the individual living units are called “Unit Cells” which can be assembled on site from prefabricated wall and floor panels, and then stacked like Lego bricks to match the shape and topography of a building site.

It really speeds up the time needed for construction,” said Cohos.

Right now I am designing an eight-story building, but we are hoping to go up to 15 or 20 floors.

The STEM Spotlight Awards is a first-of-its-kind competition in Canada, challenging individuals aged 18 to 28 to present solutions to real-world problems in five major sectors of the British Columbia economy using STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).


The MH Industry and STEM


Credit: The Daily Times.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, Clayton Homes has established the Clayton-Bradley Academy, a STEM school located on the grounds of Clayton’s Maryville, Tennessee headquarters, with the goal of preparing students for college, as well as being a community resource and part of a bigger conversation about education.


Patricia Bradley and Kevin Clayton. Credit: Knox News.

With rapid expansion since its July 2013 opening, Executive Director Patricia Bradley believes that the school is uniquely positioned to help students and businesses alike.

Business partnerships are critical. The business community is telling us that students aren’t career-ready, and our goal is to produce students who are ready to go to college and universities and be prepared for the work force. We want to make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Bradley.


Clayton Homes is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A), and is the largest producer of manufactured homes (MH) in North America. Vertically integrated, the company has several hundred retail centers nationwide. Through its affiliates and family of brands, Clayton builds, sells, finances, leases and insures Clayton-built manufactured and modular homes.  The operation also buys products and uses services from other producers.

For the most recent closing numbers on all Berkshire Hathaway – and all MH industry-connected tracked stocks – please click here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Big Bet to Battle Homeless and Housing Crisis: Modular Homes

October 25th, 2016 Comments off

New modular housing display. Credit: CBC.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson believes that a shipping container prefabs parked on the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery holds the key to his city’s homeless and affordable housing crisis.

Inside of the shipping container housing unit is a display model of a single suite that will be in Vancouver’s first-ever temporary modular housing complex.


Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Credit: Wikipedia.

We want people in Vancouver to experience what it’s like on the inside and understand the quality and the efficiency and appropriateness of having modular housing to address the particular challenge we have,” said Robertson.

The modular housing complex is due to open in early 2017 at 1500 Main Street, according to the CBC.


Mukhtar Latif. Credit: LinkedIn.

Temporary modular housing allows us to leverage city owned land and creates innovative partnerships to provide a greater diversity of homes with greater affordability,” said Mukhtar Latif, Vancouver’s Chief Housing Officer. Latif also shared that more temporary modular complexes could be built on vacant lots waiting to be developed.

The display unit is 250 square feet with a small bedroom/sitting area, a closet, private bathroom and a kitchen.


Inside the shipping container modular suite. Credit: CBC.

The future Main Street complex will have 40 of these units, which will be available to the homeless and those on low or fixed incomes.


Credit: Horizon North.

Calgary based firm Horizon North, which specializes in modular camp and oil field accommodations, is building the complex. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


Millennials Need Affordable Housing, but “Trailer Park Boys” stigma slows Manufactured Home Acceptance

September 30th, 2016 Comments off

A Vancouver area manufactured home. Credit: Lighthouse Realty

Home prices in the Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.) metro are expensive. The average price for a detached home in the Fraser Valley, for example, is $900,000. A typical condominium can set you back $248,000.

Compare that to the typical manufactured home in B.C., which sells for around $80,000. According to Business Vancouver, even when the personal property (chattel) mortgage – which can be insured through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp – and pad rental are factored in, it remains by far the least expensive housing option in the province.

Not unlike the states south of the border, a historical stigma is causing younger buyers to ignore this option.

And though there is an affordability issue in many parts of Canada, municipalities actually discourage manufactured homes.


Abdul Safi. Credit: LinkedIn

Vancouver has developed a class society based on housing prices,” said Abdul Safi, mortgage manager of TD Canada Trust in Vancouver. Safi also said that less than 10% of his clients are buying a manufactured home. “People don’t want to say they live in a trailer park [sic].

As Lisa Tyler, Ph.D., associate academic dean at Bethel University told MHLivingNews, the stigma which is also present in the U.S., is dated.


Lisa Tyler, PhD. associate academic dean, Bethel University. Credit: MHLivingNews.

Manufactured housing presents a solution,said Tyler. “It’s inexpensive, energy efficient, and a great value. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth in the industry, but a lot of obstacles, too.

Tyler has the distinction of being the first Ph.D. in United States over a decade whose dissertation was focused on manufactured housing, so her research on manufactured housing related issues is current.

Canadian Professional Anger

The stigma angers one of the leaders in the Canadian manufactured housing industry.

Our industry provides an affordable home for about 60,000 households in 1,000 communities across B.C.,” said Al Kemp, executive director of the Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance of BC (MHPOA).

I hate the Trailer Park Boys,” Kemp said, claiming the hit Canadian comedy presented a disparaging view of what are safe, comfortable and affordable residential subdivisions. “Today’s manufactured homes are solid wood-frame construction; designed to remain in place; they are certainly not trailers.


Al Kemp. Credit: LinkedIn

Kemp believes that consumer hubris and tax-hungry politicians are slowing down acceptance of manufactured housing as a viable option. He believes that it will take a groundswell of demand from millennials to change the situation.

Bill Summer, a real estate agent with The Lighthouse Realty Ltd., said that there’s more to the issue.

Summer noted that municipal development fees and regulations, and rising land costs could mean no more manufactured home communities will be built in the Lower Mainland. He also noted that developers have bought up many of the existing manufactured home communities to redevelop the land for much more profitable strata projects.


Eugen Klein. Credit: Mobile Home Parks CA

Eugen Klein, a manufactured home community specialist with Royal LePage Sussex Klein Group, sees hope.

He shared that there are ways for manufactured home communities to attract young buyers. Car-sharing programs, community games rooms and better home design could all be used to “amp” the cool factor, Klien said.

Summer is not so certain.

When you break down the costs, young buyers are more likely to opt for a condo,” said Summer. “First, the pad rentals in the Lower Mainland average about $600 a month compared with $250 in condo strata fees.

Modern manufactured homes, while well designed and finished, can cost up to $150,000,” he said, citing that the prices for manufactured homes mentioned in the Business Vancouver article under $50,000 are often “end of life” units that are in need of major repairs.

The kicker, though, is that the average condominium price across Metro Vancouver has increased 39% in the past year, while the price of manufactured home has barely budged.” Summer said.  ##

(Image Credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.






Modular Container Housing to House At Risk Women and Families in Vancouver

May 18th, 2016 Comments off

Vancouver__modular__atira_womens_resource_center_credit__imageMHProNews has learned the seven story modular housing complex made from old shipping containers rising in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia is headed up by the non-profit Atira Women’s Resource Center, which already has a 12 unit modular building providing housing for women in town. This 21-unit housing project is for women and their families, according to

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said, “We know the housing market is very difficult for people on low and fixed incomes and we urgently need creative projects built at low cost.”

The building will include seven micro units and 14 two-bedroom units with community space and retail on the ground floor, as requested by the Strathcona Residents Association. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation is contributing $600,000 to the project. Other community groups involved in the project include Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services, Sheway, and Watar.

MHProNews reported May 13, 2016 another project involving affordable modular housing in Vancouver is divided into two separate sites. One on High St. will have 40-80 micro units, each with its own kitchen and bath. The other modular complex will have 40 units but with a shared kitchen. ##

(Image credit: Atira Women’s Resource Center–modular housing complex)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Sunday Morning Recap-Manufactured Housing Industry News Feb. 21-Feb. 28, 2016

February 28th, 2016 Comments off

mhpronews_sunday_morningWhat’s New in public focused Manufactured

Discovering a 9 out of 10 “Mobile Home Park” Lifestyle

What’s New in Manufactured Housing Industry Professional News

MHC development on Pacific coast may wash out, while Hillcrest MHC in New Hampshire gets nod for expansion. UK modular plant to hire 400-500, modulars for homeless in Dublin delayed—again, and Vancouver may provide 300 modular units annually for homeless. House committee seeks to repeal Volcker and CFPB. Chinese buying U. S. businesses and real estate at record rate. Buffett defends Clayton. Newer manufactured homes do not fit older MHC sites. Doug Ryan: Strip monopoly from MH financing. Bad actors in off site produced home sales stopped. 1981 MH on market for $1.8M. Much, much more in news and views about the manufactured home industry for you to peruse.

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016

Oracle of Omaha Defends Clayton Homes

Friday, Feb 26

Dubai-based Company moving on West Coast Workforce Modulars

Money Taken for Modular Homes, Promises Broken

Affiliated Managers Group Gains over Five Percent; Dow Slips

New Delays in Dublin Modulars for Homeless

Modular Home Factory to Hire 400 to 500

Sam Zell Continues Smiling

Thursday, Feb. 25

Older MHC Requires New Ordinance to Accommodate Larger Homes

Housing Market Recovery: Making Haste Slowly

ELS Gains +2.91%, Advances to $71.54; MHCV Gains +1.35%

House Committee Seeks to Repeal Volcker Rule and CFPB

Insider Trading at Patrick Industries, Inc.

Vancouver may Provide 300 Modular Homes Annually for Homeless

Wednesday, Feb. 24

Demographics of New York not Reflected in Home Purchase Loans

Universal Forest Products Gains +6.55 Percent in Two Days

Stabilizing Home Prices could make Home-buying More Feasible for First-time Buyers

Chinese Buying U. S. Firms at Record Rate. Will housing Fall-ow?

Tuesday, Feb. 23

35 Year-old Manufactured Home Lists for $1.8M

Sun Reports Q4 and Year-end Financials

Dow Rolls Back -1.14%; More MH-related Stocks Close Down than Up

Doug Ryan: Expand the Lending Opportunities for MH Buyers

Assetmark Increases Stake in Equity LifeStyle Properties

David Valenti Pleads Guilty to 19 Counts of Theft

Monday, Feb. 22

Fitch Ratings Predicts Homes for Sale Inventory to Change Little in 2016

Expansion for Hillcrest Estates MHC Approved by Planning Board

AMG Tops MH Gainers; Dow Begins Week Strongly

Real Estate Purchases by Foreign Nationals Rises

Modular Apartment Building Set within Two Days

California Coastal MHC Development Project may be in Jeopardy

Sunday Morning Recap-Manufactured Housing Industry News Feb. 14-Feb. 21, 2016 ##

(Photo credit: MHProNews)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Vancouver may Provide 300 Modular Homes Annually for Homeless

February 25th, 2016 Comments off

Canada__atira_women_resource_center_if_the_building_name__guidetavelbiz_credit_modular_units_in_vancouverThe first phase of a pilot project of 30 to 40 modular shipping container homes to house the homeless in Vancouver, British Columbia could result in 300 of the homes added each year.

While the plans are in the early stages, each 150 sq. ft. unit will have its own wash room and sleeping area but no kitchen. A connected 1,000 to 1,500 square foot shared area will have a kitchenette. And the units have to be portable so they can be moved as needed.

No sites for the homes have been selected, but Councillor Kerry Jang suggested they could go on city-owned land until a larger affordable housing project is developed there. Another option would site the homes on private land and give the owner a tax credit.

Getting people inside … has been very important because it really gets people ready to move into permanent housing when it is ready,” Jang said. ##

(Photo credit: guidetravelbiz–six unit housing complex made from recycled shipping containers– Atira Women’s Resource Society in Vancouver)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Developer Fumes over slow Approvals, Manufactured Housing Association jumps in

November 20th, 2014 Comments off

microsuite-vancourver-sun-glenn-baglo=credit-canada-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-I don’t know why Vancouver is so behind the 8-ball on this, despite our affordability challenge,” says Jon Stovell, President of Reliance Properties, a developer in Vancouver. Barbara Yaffe says in the Vancouver Sun  that “In 2011, Reliance refurbished the Burns Block on Hastings, transforming it from a vacant single-occupancy residence hotel into 30 microsuites. At monthly rates of $850 per suite, the building was rented out in a week.”

Stovell points out that the young and those earning $38,000-$50,000 a year need an affordable place to live. Microsuites like the one shown in the photo are popular in parts of Europe and Asia. The city relaxed its 320 square foot minimum standard to allow Reliance to build units of 226 to 291 square feet.

Vancouver’s planning director Brian Jackson admits that the city is not approving more such units in their downtown’s east side, over concerns about impact on city services, including community centers, libraries and land values. Stovell says talks are moving at a glacial pace.

British Columbia (B.C.) Housing, the Real Estate Institute of B.C., the Urban Development Institute and the Manufactured Housing Association of B.C. Is investing $30,000 in a survey through December focused on small housing options.

Yaffe state the study will “explore best practices and lessons learned in small-market unit design.” She also says it will explore views of developers, individuals or couples living in units of 500 square feet or less and families of three or more in 750 square feet or less.

The study group observes: “With land available for residential development becoming more scarce and home prices growing at a faster pace compared with incomes, small homes are becoming increasingly popular among builders and buyers.”

The groups work may reveal ways to break through the impasse between city planners and developers like Stovell who believe they offer a solution for high cost urban living.

Tien Sher Homes, which redeveloped another building with 290 and 653 square foot units from $130,900 and up has a brochure that touts they are for those “people who chose quality construction and intelligent design over sprawling square footage.” Units “maximize every square inch for the stylish comfort you require, and the vibrant lifestyle you crave.”

But isn’t it possible that some, like those getting into the Tiny House movement, are turning to such micro-units simply because of necessity and affordability?

The need for businesses, associations and government to work together to overcome barriers to affordability is clear. ##

Related stories

Let’s Talk Discussion around New York Affordable Housing

Broadway Stack modular construction video

(Photo credit: Vancouver Sun/Glenn Baglo)