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Thus are among the rarest of Vancouver West Side housing types, so much so that city planners would like to see more built in order to gently densify existing single-family neighbourhoods. Census data indicates that townhouses represent between 16% and 20% of the area, except for Dunbar, where they’re virtually non-existent. While the projects that have been developed in recent years have met a warm reception, the lack of large sites suitable for construction have made townhouses the choice of builders filling gaps in a sea of detached homes.

But let’s forget about planners for a moment: from a practical point of view, townhouses are a mid-point between apartment living and a detached home, both in layout and price. Often multi-storey, they typically offer as much space as a detached home, but with less yard (and therefore lower land costs). There’s also the convenience factor: like most new apartments in the city, townhouses are often part of a strata corporation, and therefore a monthly fee covers maintenance and other mundane elements. But whether you’re an apartment dweller looking to trade up, or downsizing from a detached dwelling, the point is clear: townhouses offer an answer. Most commonly, townhouses on the West Side are occupied by families, because they have the room needed to accommodate kids. Retirees, when they downsize, often choose a whole other neighbourhood, often in less expensive locations.

The rarity of townhouse properties make location a matter of availability rather than choice. Dunbar, for example, has next to no townhouses, while those at UBC are typically in newer developments. Meanwhile, the options in Kitsilano and Point Grey are varied, and often nestled both within established neighbourhoods and just off key arterials. Transportation routes ensure proximity to transit, recreational amenities including beaches and bike trails, and the great backyard Pacific Spirit Regional Park offers the entire West Side. Transit also means local townhouse dwellers are connected with downtown and the rest of the region, rather than having to commute in from Burnaby or Surrey. Just as with transit-oriented apartments, townhouses frequently provide room for cars – but they’re nice rather than necessary. The essentials are within walking distance, even if family commitments require wheels.

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