Record levels of new rental housing in Vancouver

The City's 2013 Housing Report Card, released today and presented to Council next Tuesday, shows that Vancouver is far exceeding its rental housing targets as part of a ten-year housing strategy.

In 2011, the City set the target of 1,500 new rental units by the end of 2014. As of today, the City is at 2,839 new rental units: achieving 189% of its current target, and more than halfway to Vancouver's target for 2021.

"The record levels of new rental housing being built in Vancouver are an example of how our City's housing plan is on the right track," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "We need new rental housing to give young families, students and seniors an opportunity to live in Vancouver. The majority of our rental housing is ageing and in need of repair. New rental housing is crucial to easing the pressures of Vancouver's rental market and giving people a quality home in our city."

Vancouver City Hall has enabled the creation of new rental housing by providing incentives to encourage builders to opt for rental apartments over condos. Through the Short-Term Incentives for Rental (STIR) and Rental 100 programs, projects that provide modest market rental housing can qualify for reduced parking and fees, and expedited processing.

"New rental housing is an important step to ensuring that people on middle incomes have opportunities to live and work in Vancouver," added the Mayor. "It's part of our comprehensive strategy that provides housing across the spectrum: shelters and social housing for the most vulnerable; co-ops, secondary suites, laneway homes and new rental apartments for those who cannot afford to buy. We can't just let the market decide - we need to actively encourage the types of affordable housing our residents need."

In 2013, almost 1,100 units of rental housing were approved in Vancouver, compared to zero in 2008 and 2009. The City has also approved over 1,600 laneway homes and secondary suites throughout the City in the past three years, adding even more rental housing. Last year, City Council expanded the laneway housing program to allow for them to be built in all single-family neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

The report also notes that according to CMHC, average rents for rental units in Vancouver built after the year 2000 have become more affordable, from $1,659 in 2012 down to $1,543 in 2013. Rental housing is also becoming safer in Vancouver, as the release of a two-year update on the launch of the Online Rental Standards Database shows a 75% reduction in rental building safety violations since the program went into effect.

To view the full 2013 Housing Report Card, please click here: