2016 surpassed all previous years for new rental housing approved by Vancouver City Council. Preliminary year-end numbers show that more than 1,800 new units were approved this year, far exceeding past years.
“Vancouver is leading Metro Vancouver in housing supply, providing more than half of all new rentals in the region,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver’s economy is booming and as we grow, we want to make sure families have a diversity of housing options to put down roots in the city. As Vancouver grapples with a shortage of rental housing, City Hall is doing everything it can to get more rental housing built and to market as quickly as possible.”
The numbers show that City Hall’s rental incentive program Rental 100 continues to generate new rental buildings, providing housing options that are more affordable than condos. Some of the Rental 100 projects approved this year include:
· 117 rental units at 3595 Kingsway, near Boundary;
· 116 rental units at 1755 West 14th, at Burrard;
· 109 rental units at 445 Kingsway, near St George;
· 91 rental units at 2805 East Hastings, at Kaslo.
The previous record in Vancouver for new rental housing approved was in 2015, with 1,164 new rental units. Recent years have shown close to 1,000 new rental units a year since 2012; in 2008 and 2009 there were zero rental units approved.
According to the most recent CMHC numbers, Vancouver has a vacancy rate of just 0.7%. City Council has taken a number of steps to tackle Vancouver’s housing crisis, including:
· Investing $80 million in the 2017 Capital Plan for affordable housing – the most ever;
· Bringing in Canada’s first Empty Homes Tax;
· Regulating short-term rentals, like Airbnb;
· Pursuing modular housing on city-owned sites;
· Offering 20 sites of City-owned land worth $250 million to senior governments to use for affordable housing;
· Increasing family home requirements in new housing projects to 35%; and
· Providing four City-owned sites to enable Vancouver’s first Community Land Trust.