A local historian says Vancouver's thin homes are a great value because they offer diversity in housing stock in an otherwise bland market. 

Last week, one of the city's rare thin homes sold for $1.35 million. The Point Grey home is one of only 60 to go up on half-sized lots during the 70s and 80s. Most are in the range of 12 feet wide and are typically less than 1,000 square feet.

Michael Kluckner, author of Vanishing Vancouver, says the origins of the city's thin homes comes from when original settlers subdivided land west of Trafalgar Street with their own surveys.

"Some of the surveys don't quite line up and some of the blocks aren't in a standard size ... so you have that anomaly of half lots," said Kluckner.  

"In cases of people who owned a lot and a half ... they'd sell it off to somebody and they'd build a thin house."

Kluckner wishes the city had allowed more thin homes at the time because they provide a somewhat affordable option for homebuyers.

"In the case of the thin house you get your own property. A lot of others you get strata title and that's a really big difference for a lot of people," said Kluckner.  

Kluckner says the city's reluctance to the subdivisions of lots has resulted in unimaginative housing.

"Part of the delight of living in a city ought to be that you go around the corner and you find something different from what you saw on the previous street," said Kluckner.

"I would argue from my point of view that houses built since the Second World War have become progressively uglier and bigger."


To hear to the full interview with Michael Kluckner, listen to the audio labelled History of Thin Homes.