Adding a secondary suite to a single-family home is a great way for property owners to increase their bottom line. It's a viable alternative that has been observed in many major Canadian markets.

Thanks to the passing of a new law, investors in Kingston, Ont. may soon be able to capitalize on this opportunity. And by doing so, they'll be adding to the city's inventory of affordable housing.

Earlier this month, the City of Kingston held a town hall meeting to inform local homeowners of this change. The fact that well over 130 people attended indicated that there was a lot of interest in this new development.

"We want more homeowners in key areas of the city to build secondary suites to add to the supply of affordable housing in Kingston,” Sheldon Laidman, Director of Housing said.

Although there is much initial optimism for this law, others have expresses some skepticism about it.

“I can see both sides of the argument,” says William Taylor, a sales representative with Century 21 in Kingston. “Many residents do not like the idea of living in a neighbourhood with a lot of rental units, not knowing their neighbours, perhaps having issue with parking and fear of untidy properties that may affect the value of their own home.”

Recent statistics show that Kingston's vacancy rate is low at 1.7 per cent, while its average home prices are steadily increasing. Taylor believes that this will prove very helpful to first-time homebuyers and mortgage seekers. In addition, it will also attract more new investors to the city.

“For investors, an additional unit is naturally very lucrative. We are getting a lot of interest from investors outside of the city and this should create more interest,” he says. “For the first-time buyer, if they can supplement their income through this addition, the banks may look more favourable on them now.”

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