270 Sq. Ft. Condos

Dubbed "micro-lofts", these tiny units are going up in an historic building in Vancouver, B.C.

Developers say that the condo size is not unusual in Asia and Europe. Reporter Darah Hansen talks with John Stovell, general manager of Reliance Properties in Vancouver, who says that affordable rental units are desperately needed downtown.

""So many people contact us, not with a specific size they want, or specific amenities, but they tell us where they want to be in the neighbourhood and how much they can pay. So often that amount is just not achievable for anything but a very specialized product like this," he said."

Full Story: Big city, small condos: 'Micro-lofts' to come to Vancouver



Like a studio, only more expensive

These are like studio apartments in the states, only they are more expensive. I suppose tenants are paying for the newness of the "mini-lofts."

Excellent -- a great value

I live in 28 square meters in a studio apartment in the US, and I find that more than adequate. The problem in the US is that tax policies and backwards thinking discourages sensible-sized living spaces for single people. Note that small-sized living places are hardly "new"--the building I live in is about 80 years old. Architects and town planners early in the 20th century seemed to have had the ability to meet the needs of people for housing. I hope that current developers relearn those lessons from the past, and perhaps tax policies and building codes would stop encouraging over-sized living spaces.

Which tax policies and building codes


Can you elaborate on which tax policies and what parts of building codes you find encourage oversized living spaces?

A couple:

Not Johndecember, but the mortgage interest tax deduction encourages larger living spaces as the more home one buys (correlating to a higher price and therefore a larger loan) the larger the tax decution one receives. On the planning code's side, maximum density limits, SRO bans, minimum lot sizes all encourage larger living spaces than might otherwise be built. I am sure there are several ordinances in the actual building code as well that accomplish the same although I honestly don't know building code off the top of my head.

Resoloving the tax deduction issue

I know others are concerned about how federal finance policy is causing this phenomenon of people buying bigger, thus getting more money. I'd like to learn of proposed language to correct this.

I think this idea of building smaller loft type efficiencies is a good one for people on a tight budget. The higher ceilings probably do help it feel more open.

Federal Tax Code

I think it's buried somewhere in the 36,000 plus pages of the federal tax code. There's a very interesting chapter in Niall Ferguson's book "Ascent of Money" that focuses on the laws that the US has put in place that basically make it mandatory for our populace to speculate on real estate (or at least highly encourage it)... a very interesting read for sure:


Not exactly germane to the specific item we're chatting about, but I thought I'd mention it.

Michael Lewyn's picture

Me too (sort of)

I live in about 15 square meters in Toronto (including kitchen)- a little too small for me, but I'd be perfectly happy with a bit more storage/bathroom space.


I thought you taught in Florida? You're probably banging your elbows in the bathroom right?!

Michael Lewyn's picture

Toronto temporarily

Am taking the academic year off from Fla Coastal on sabbatical, returning in the summer.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.

Get the "Green Bible" of educational planning books

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.

City Map Posters are in!

Available in 9 different cities.