New statistics on the creation of rental housing in Vancouver show that 2012 was a record year, after a decade of limited rental construction and very low vacancy rates.
“These new stats show that Vancouver is leading the way when it comes to producing new rental housing, in a city where over 52% of our households rent and much of our rental stock is aging and in need of repair,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We know from the low vacancy rates that there is huge demand for new rentals, which is why City Hall is focused on getting new rental housing built as a way to address our city’s affordable housing challenge.”
Year-end statistics for 2012 show that 1,021 new rental units were approved in 2012, after zero in 2008 and 2009, and an average of 328 in 2010 and 2011.
In 2012, new rental buildings included:
- 186 units at 1401 Comox, the first rental tower built in the West End in over a decade;
- 614 rental units at 800 Griffiths Way, the second largest rental housing development in Vancouver’s history.
A record 350 laneway housing permits were issued in Vancouver, after an average of 146 from 2009-2011. In addition, 442 permits for new secondary suites were issued, after an average of 394 from 2009-2011.
According to CMHC, the rent for a one-bedroom purpose-built rental unit in Vancouver is 37% cheaper than renting a one-bedroom condo. Vacancy rates remain extremely low in Vancouver, ranging from 0.7% inSouth Granville to a high of 1.6% in Marpole. A 3-4% vacancy rate is considered to be a healthy rental market that provides adequate choice for renters.
“Without continued construction of new rental housing, Vancouverites will be forced to live farther away from where they work, or leave the city altogether,” added the Mayor. “We can’t have that. A lack of affordable housing is bad for the livability of our neighbourhoods, increases commute times, and puts a strain on our local economy. That’s why we’re committed to getting new rental housing built.”
The City of Vancouver has taken a number of steps to increase rental housing in the City and provide support for renters. These include:
- Launching a Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability
- Approving the development of an arms-length Affordable Housing Authority
- Offering six sites of city-owned land for lease to non-profits for affordable rental housing
- The opening of Vancouver’s first Rent Bank, to support renters in crisis with short-term loans
- The creation of the Rental 100 Program, which provides incentives for the development of new, 100% rental buildings
- The development of an online Rental Standards Database, which will enable renters to search out buildings that have current safety issues
- Hosting the international ideas competition re:THINK Housing, to solicit ideas from around the world on how to create new affordable housing