VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver has seen a boom in new rentals in the past year, with more than a thousand units approved in 2012 alone.

It turns out much of that has to do with a spike in laneway housing starts.

The City issued a record 350 laneway housing permits in 2012, a big increase from the yearly average of 146 recorded between 2009 and 2011.

Jake Fry owns Smallworks Studios, a leading laneway housing contractor, and says rentals are a big part of his business, but so are families.

“The laneway housing, with respect to the family use, is a way for families to release the equity that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get out of their home and provide a home for their kids, or adult children, to have a starter home basically.”

Fry says a laneway home is an affordable alternative and he feels the quality of life a laneway home provides is much better, as well.

“You have a backyard, you have a patio, you have this great ability to have that single-family residence and it’s done at comparable or even in some cases less expensive than buying a typical condominium.”

Besides laneway housing permits, the city issued 442 permits for new secondary suites, after an annual average of 394 between 2009 and 2011.