Revamped heritage homes a practical affordable housing option

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Heritage homes in Victoria initially slated for demolition have found new life as viable affordable housing options for U.S. buyers, courtesy of a project by a home trust group based in Washington state.
These aging structures are prime targets for knocking down, which is why the Victoria area has seen 350 demolitions last year alone, while Vancouver has permitted 940 demolitions per year on average since 2012. The frenzied pace of destruction has seen its share of public backlash, however.
“We’re dealing right now with a demolition crisis, which is continuing unabated and has been increasing in volume for the last 30 years. Anything that’s older, we perceive it to be garbage,” Jim Connelly of the moving company Nickel Bros told The Guardian.
In collaboration with the San Juan Community Home Trust, Nickel Bros ferries heritage homes from Oak Bay to Washington’s San Juan islands. Over the past 10 months, seven of these homes—which date from as far back as the 1930s and the 1910s—have been delivered for refurbishment.
San Juan Community Home Trust officials noted that the renovated homes would cost much less than a brand-new construction, as each is valued at $75,000 (inclusive of ferrying costs) plus $145,000 for the cost of revamping and installation of utilities.
“We’re very appreciative. We really like the fact that they have a lot of character and that we’re keeping the homes out of the landfill,” official Nancy DeVaux said.
Three of the newly-furnished houses would be ready for sale by June, and each is estimated to run between $158,000 and $210,000.  The home trust said that the homes would be offered strictly to low-income San Juan residents (those who earn less than $38,000, or less than $54,000 for families) only.

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