I just read an article on CBC about micro-lofts in Vancouver, which will be 270 sq.ft. lofts that will rent for about $300 less than the average bachelor suite. I thought it was a fabulous idea, especially after watching this video a few weeks ago about a 344 sq.ft. flat in Hong Kong. These kinds of living spaces are everywhere around the world where space is at a premium.
Okay. Living in downtown Vancouver is expensive. That’s just the way it is. And if you insist on living downtown (or in Vancouver in general), you’re going to have to pay a premium. So it really makes me angry when renters complain about unfair living costs. It’s not unfair, it’s life. No one is forcing you to live in Vancouver. There are many more affordable options a little farther out – but still close to downtown, thanks to the SkyTrain.
Commentors on the article were complaining that the size of the micro-loft is too small and that it is too expensive. But that’s how much it costs to live in downtown Vancouver! Seriously. You can’t expect $600/month rent in the heart of the city. That’s just unrealistic and will never happen. So if you want more space for less money, move a little farther out.
These new Vancouver micro-lofts are expected to rent for about $675-750/month, which is still expensive IMO, but considerably less than the $979/month average rent of a bachelor suite downtown. But for about $700/month you can rent a 1-bed apartment in Burnaby, which will give you much more space than 270 sq.ft, and is only a short SkyTrain ride to downtown.
When I first moved to Vancouver, my 1-bed apartment on the outskirts of Vancouver was only $600/month, including utilities. My 2nd (bigger) apartment, a little farther out (but still on a SkyTrain line) was $725/month. Both of these options gave me the space I wanted at a fair price. The same space downtown would have cost me at least twice as much.
No, these Vancouver micro-lofts will not address low income residents. But it will address urban densification (which I am definitely in favour of), and alternative living space for those who really want to live in the downtown core, but don’t want to pay ridiculously high prices. It’s give and take. Do you want location, or do you want space? Because generally speaking, in the heart of most major urban centres, you cannot get both.