The City of Surrey will consider allowing developer Tien Sher to develop 'micro suites' in Whalley.

The City of Surrey will consider allowing developer Tien Sher to develop 'micro suites' in Whalley.

Photograph by: Submitted , for Surrey NOW

Surrey will be home to Canada's smallest condominium if city council gives the OK to a new housing project by property developer Tien Sher.

The 290-square-foot "micro suite" will be the smallest of 56 tiny condos inside Balance, a four-storey wood frame building yet to be built at the corner of Whalley Boulevard and Grosvenor Road in the city centre. Thirty-three of the suites will be 305 square feet or smaller and the largest will be a 653 square foot single bedroom condo priced under $180,000.

Tien Sher expects to begin selling the micro condominiums in January if council gives the green light this fall.

"It's all in the hands of the city," said Charan Sethi, president of Tien Sher. "It's a very niche market."

The price of these "functional homes" will start at $109,900 but "may come down," he added.

"If you can afford the $6,000 down payment, and you make a salary of $17 per hour, we have a home for you."

Sethi said the homes are aimed at people who earn annual salaries of $22,000 to $55,000 and haven't been able to break into the real estate market. Young professionals, retail employees and single parents are the anticipated buyers.

Sethi said the name Balance reflects the concept that people in their 20s generally "don't like to be bogged down" with doing a lot of work around the house. "They like to have all the facilities at their fingertips."

Each suite will contain five stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and a balcony. They won't come with a parking stall, Sethi said, "but they are available for purchase.

"A 2012 parking study we commissioned showed most purchasers will forego car ownership and its associated costs, in favour of an affordable home purchase," he said. There will also be a "car-share" vehicle on site, he noted.

Sethi said this project follows in the footsteps of similar ones in New York, Tokyo and Paris.

Peter Simpson, president of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association, said he expects to see more micro condos built in this area. "With mortgage amortization periods capped at 25 years, coupled with the high cost of developable land in the Lower Mainland, micro suites are a sensible and cost-effective option for single people looking to purchase their first home," Simpson said.