Tiny homes hit the market at London Building Supplies

Tiny homes hit the market at London Building Supplies

Imagine buying a new two-bedroom house in London for $200,000. Now imagine it is in your backyard.

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Imagine buying a new two-bedroom house in London for $200,000.

Now imagine it is in your backyard.

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That's the dream of Copp's Buildall, the London building supply company, which has developed backyard homes and will build them on your property, pending city approval, said Mac Copp, manager of the store's downtown branch on York Street.

“We saw a gap in the affordable housing market,” Cobb said.

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“We see this as a way that people can harvest their own yards to create more housing for their parents or children or for the rental market where it can be very profitable for the homeowner. It can offset mortgage costs.”

The two-bedroom house measures 67 sq m (720 sq ft). CBYH (Copp's Backyard Homes, a division of Copp Building Materials Ltd.) also offers a one-bedroom unit for $140,000 of 37 square meters (400 square feet).

“We've met with the city and they support the idea, but we haven't put one out yet,” Cobb said. “The city will have to approve it after we do an initial site visit.”

Introducing the backyard of the house
The rendering shows one of two backyard home models being sold by Copp's Buidal. (Provided by CBYH)

He said there are two models on display at Copp's Hyde Park store and the designs can be seen on cbyh.ca.

“It's exciting. We're at this point with a housing supply crisis, trying every tool, every piece of the puzzle” to address it, said Jared Zaifman, chief executive of the London Home Builders Association.

“This could have a big impact. It could make a big difference.”

The city allows residential units in backyards or driveways, locations for which Cobb Homes would be ideal, Zaifman said.

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Copp staff will inspect the site to see if it can accommodate a house, and if so, they will apply for a building permit. The building supplier will partner with its tradesmen, such as contractors, to do the work, but Copp's will underwrite the work, McCop said.

“We will coordinate the entire project,” he added.

The home will be connected to existing services, such as electricity and sewerage, to the main house on the site. If those devices need to be upgraded, there will be an additional cost, Cobb said.

He said the selling price is for a house built on spiral piers, but a concrete foundation or even a basement can be added for an additional cost.

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Ironstone Building Co. London is also working on making homes more affordable. She recently won an Ontario Home Builders Award for her “flexible building” design that builds an apartment in the basement of a new home, which can be rented out to mitigate mortgage costs.

Ward 8 Coun said city staff is working with Copp's on its initiative and may report to a future Planning and Environment Commission meeting. Steve Lyman, chairman of that committee.

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“I support everything we can do to address the supply crisis, which is pushing up house prices,” he said.

“There is a lot of great land in the city. I look forward to seeing a report on this and hearing what the public has to say.”

At a meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee this week, politicians recommended removing the five-bedroom limit on homes for neighborhoods not close to Fanshawe College and Western University. The maximum number of bedroom units available for rent in schools is under review.

The committee also agreed to raise the number of units allowed in one address to four from three. The unit can be an independent rental space, such as an apartment.



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