An expat in Vancouver first impressions: housing

Vancouver is famous for its condo skyscrapers but I for one had not heard of its strata home ownership laws until I started spending time in the area. In a strata property, people own their piece of the building and common areas are commonly owned.  So if your family owns a large heritage house but you can’t afford the upkeep and taxes now that it’s worth millions, you break it up into four homes and sell off three.  It is common to see large craft houses with four mailboxes, a front door, a side door, a back door and a garden or second story door.

The strata approach is appealing as a solution to keeping homes affordable and increasing density versus sprawl. Now, I say this about Vancouver which has some of the highest housing prices in North America and only rising to stratospheric levels and occupies a large geographical area. But it’s all relative, right? Imagine how much worse it could be with this innovative solution. And imagine this approach in a city like Portland, where strata could have a huge impact on the ability of young people to qualify for mortgages.  There are other benefits of strata e.g. “community pricing” that can result in savings on utility bills. For the community, the benefits include maintaining the aesthetics and health of the neighborhood, as by law the houses have to remain maintained.

I say give it a try in the Hawthorne and Belmont districts, Portland.

About kmazz

I spend as much time as possible pursuing my interests in global culture, photography, arts and politics.
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