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Will Prefab Garden Suites Help Toronto’s Housing Affordability?

In theory, garden suites make sense for Toronto’s battered housing market, but low adoption rates and high rental prices might indicate otherwise.

Move over micro condo; it’s all about the micro house these days – and ones that can be assembled in as little as a few days. At this year’s Interior Design Show (IDS) Toronto, prefab garden suites and backyard escapes were among the star attractions, drawing lineups of visitors, curious photo-snappers, and even prospective buyers.

It makes sense; garden suites are still an anomaly in Toronto – let alone the stylish prefab variety that simplifies the whole concept. While it’s been two years since their legalization in the city, garden suites have been slow to catch on relative to the expectation widely touted by their advocates when they lobbied for them. Naturally, things like cost and navigating through the red tape surrounding building permits are cited as likely deterrents.

But could easy-to-assemble and relatively affordable prefab garden suites become a quick game-changer? And, if they do become staples in a healthy handful of Toronto backyards, will they really make any sort of impact on Toronto’s widespread housing affordability crisis?