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The Adlaw Report ® – Single Family or Strata?

The thought of buying a detached single family home in Greater Vancouver (does not include Surrey, Langley, White Rock, or North Delta) is a dream for many people, especially new home buyers. The values seem exorbitant and irrational. Strata living seems more practical, seeing how the entry prices are much more achievable…and plus, someone else mows the lawn….fantastic!

Strata – Upside

  • Low entry prices
  • Maintenance Fees are consistent and cover most short/long term maintenance items
  • Good/easy rent-ability
  • Usually close to transit and amenities

Strata Downside:

  • Values do not increase due to quick and easy ability to increase supply
  • Rents often does not cover the mortgage in many areas
  • Rent must be documented as INCOME / you will be responsible for capital gains tax)
  • Decisions must be made on a “quorum” basis (i.e.) requiring 75% approval

I have never met someone who has regretted purchasing a single family home, except Maybe if they purchase a home between March and June 2009. Detached homes are not cheap, they are sometimes more difficult to rent out as a full house (basement suits are easy and are not required to be documented as income which means no capital gains tax when you sell) and they do require you to maintain and update the home as necessary. However, from an investment standpoint, if you can make it happen, a detached single family home will provide you with an asset that will undoubtedly increase in value over the long term. Why? There are two reasons for this:

  1. They are not making any more land.
  2. Land appreciates, buildings depreciate

The graph below beautifully depicts the contrast in long term appreciation between Single Family Homes and Strata Properties.


As you can see, single family homes have the ability to increase in value over the long term. If you have any real estate valuation inquiries, please call our office at 604-809-8506 or email at




Adam Lawrenson


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