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Coquitlam's first coach homes now for sale
It may be snug living for a family of four but Coquitlam's first coach homes are ideal for the "sandwich generation" looking for a place to accommodate their elderly parents or grown children.
So says Deborah Calahan, vice-president of sales and marketing for Morningstar Homes, a Coquitlam builder that last week unveiled a 521-sq. ft., one-bedroom showhome on one of its Burke Mountain single-family lots.
The coach homes — also called laneway or carriage homes — are part of Morningstar's Somerton subdivision, located north of Leigh elementary school on Roxton Avenue, that, when finished, will have 34 three-storey detached houses with 21 above-the-garage living spaces for singles or couples.
Costing about $100,000 on top of the purchase price, the compact homes could also be used as a mortgage helper for the property owner — renting out as much as $1,200 a month, Calahan suggested — or they could be used as an artist's studio.
"There's so much potential with coach homes," Calahan said during a sneak peek last Thursday for media and realtors. "And we really went all out with the design to make sure they are very liveable and attractive for the tenant."
Coach homes may be gaining popularity in bigger cities such as Vancouver, where affordable living is at a premium, but they're a relatively new concept for the Tri-Cities, which has some room to grow.
In Coquitlam, coach homes are permitted in designated Neighbourhood Attached Residential zones such as southwest Coquitlam; as well, they form part of the city's Housing Choices program, an initiative adopted last year by council to densify larger lots in southwest Coquitlam and Burquitlam with innovative building styles such as row homes, triplexes and fourplexes.
Still, Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam's general manager of planning and development, said coach homes can be expensive to build and there hasn't been much uptake due to hefty construction and servicing costs.
"People look at how much it is to run a water and sewer line through their backyard to hook up to a coach home — as well as building it — and realize sometimes it's probably cheaper to add a basement suite to their house," he said.
Meanwhile, this month, two Housing Choices bids are expected to go to public hearing: Architype Design was granted first reading in October to rezone 910 Delestre Ave. for a split fourplex; it also got a preliminary nod from council for another fourplex proposal at 279 Tenby St., at the end of a cul-de-sac near the Trans Canada Highway.