Introducing Housing Choices: A Step Towards Diverse Housing in Burnaby

Housing Choices is an innovative program initiated by the City of Burnaby with the aim of introducing a wider variety of housing options to single and two-family neighborhoods. The first phase of the program focuses on the implementation of laneway homes and secondary suites in semi-detached homes. In order to gather valuable input for this phase, a public survey was conducted in the spring of 2022. This blog post provides a summary of the survey results and highlights the key findings.

Here are the results of the survey.

Survey Purpose and Distribution:

The survey aimed to collect crucial information that would shape the regulations and design guidelines for laneway homes and secondary suites in semi-detached homes. Additionally, it sought to gauge the level of support from residents for the inclusion of additional housing choices in the program. The survey was made available for three weeks, from March 23 to April 12, 2022. Every household in Burnaby received postcards advertising the survey, and its availability was further publicized through social media, the City website, and newspaper advertisements.

Survey Design:

The survey was divided into three sections, allowing participants to choose which sections they wished to respond to. The sections covered various aspects, including laneway homes, suites in semi-detached homes, and additional housing choices. Demographic information such as age, current housing situation, and connection to Burnaby was also collected. A total of 2,550 responses were received, with the breakdown of responses for each section as follows: 2,338 responses for laneway homes, 1,520 responses for suites in semi-detached homes, and 1,733 responses for additional housing choices.

Survey Response:

The survey attracted a diverse group of respondents, with 93% living in Burnaby, 36% working in the city, and 6% expressing an interest in moving to Burnaby. The age distribution of respondents reflected the overall adult population of the city, with significant representation across all age groups. 71% of respondents lived in single-family homes, higher than the city-wide average of 68%. The majority of respondents (83%) were homeowners, with 14% being renters.

Laneway Homes:

The survey revealed a high level of interest in living in laneway homes, with 59% of respondents expressing their desire for this housing option. Renters and younger age groups showed a particularly strong interest, with 79% of renters and 92% of 18-24 year olds expressing interest. Additionally, 69% of respondents expressed interest in building a laneway home. When asked about the intended use of a laneway home, the most popular responses were for accommodating a family member (79%) or renting it out (66%).
Preferences for laneway home size were also captured in the survey, with 40% of respondents supporting two-storey homes and 33% supporting two and a half storeys. There was a correlation between age and support for different heights, with younger respondents showing higher support for higher laneway homes.

Suites in Semi-Detached Homes:

For suites in semi-detached homes, 51% of respondents expressed interest in living in this type of housing, with renters and younger age groups showing higher levels of interest. Similarly, 51% of respondents indicated their interest in building a secondary suite in a semi-detached home. The primary reason for building a suite was to rent it out (83%), followed by using it for a family member (79%).
Support for larger suites with multiple bedrooms was evident, with 45% of respondents supporting two-bedroom suites and 33% supporting suites with three or more bedrooms.
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