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City quadruples housing targets for purpose-built rental homes

July 25 2017 Interim targets will see the right supply of housing across all of Vancouver

Housing Vancouver 2026

To address Vancouver's ongoing housing crisis, at today's City Council meeting we announced our intention to enable 72,000 new homes in Vancouver over the next ten years, which will exceed our previous ten-year housing strategy by approximately 85%.

This increase in supply is to enable a significant delivery of new social, supportive, and rental housing for people who live and work in Vancouver. Council will vote on the final approval of new housing targets in November.

Enabling 72,000 new homes

In March, we shared that although housing supply has been created at record rates in Vancouver, there is still a significant need for new housing to meet the needs and incomes of Vancouver residents. To address this, we set interim targets to help enable 72,000 new homes across the city to provide residents with the housing they need, and can afford – now and into the future.

  • Just under 48,000 of these new homes will be rentals.
  • Nearly 29,000 of these new homes will be for families.
  • Over 12,000 of these homes will provide social and supportive housing for lower income residents, a 50% increase in previous targets (see correction note below)

"The City has a plan to deliver 72,000 homes – the biggest affordable housing boom in Vancouver history," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "These 72,000 homes are for people who live and work in Vancouver. We're going above and beyond what's ever been done in Vancouver to enable new affordable housing for local residents matched to realistic, local incomes – housing that people want: rentals, laneway homes, coach houses, duplexes, and townhomes in neighbourhoods across the city. Nothing is off the table as the City aggressively pushes forward in delivering as much affordable housing as possible to keep Vancouver liveable now and into the future."

Setting the interim target

To establish these interim targets, we assessed population growth, incomes, and housing requirements to determine the housing that Vancouver residents need right now, and ten years from now to maintain Vancouver's diverse population.

This unique way of setting targets connects housing supply targets directly to incomes to ensure that new homes are affordable and adequate for our residents. The targets aim to create the homes that we know are needed in order to maintain Vancouver's diverse population.

"From our public consultation with Vancouver residents, it's clear that housing affordability remains a top concern, and we want to help residents be secure with the right housing they need," says Gil Kelley, general manager of our Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability group. "As over 50% of Vancouver's population is comprised of renters, we are focussed on enabling more rental housing for families, young workers, seniors, and the city's most vulnerable residents. Our new interim targets will see nearly 48,000 rental units over the next decade."

Actions we're taking to reach the target

To create more of the right housing that is affordable to residents in Vancouver, we will increase our target for purpose-built rental housing to four times the current target – up to 20,000 additional homes over the next ten years. Nearly three-quarters of these homes will serve households earning less than $80,000 a year.

In addition, 6,800 new social and supportive homes will be targeted at residents with an annual income of less than $30,000.

To achieve these targets we have already taken action with new programs and policies. These actions include:

  • Cambie Corridor Phase 3 will enable 4,200 homes over the next ten years, comprised of rental housing, townhomes, and condominiums. 1,000 of these units will be slated for below-market rental or social housing.
  • Changes to Character Home (RS) zoning will provide opportunities for additional homes like duplexes, coach homes, laneway, and other infill options in residential neighbourhoods across the city. Approximately 12,000 single-family homes will be permitted to stratify multiple housing units on their property.
  • New RT zoning regulations in Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland will allow for more secondary suites and up to three homes on one property.
  • Approximately 1,600 additional housing units are anticipated for the False Creek Flats and Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhoods.
  • The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) released an RFP this week that will seek partners to build, fund, and operate nearly 900 units of new affordable rental housing on seven City-owned sites, worth approximately $79 million.

Ensuring security and stability for renters

We will focus on ensuring security and stability for renters by enabling affordable rental housing with the following actions:

  • Enabling and planning for new 100% rental buildings with a minimum of 20% of units priced below-market for renters earning $30,000 to $80,000 a year. This approach is being piloted in the Oakridge Municipal Town Centre as part of the Cambie Corridor Plan Phase 3 process, and we will be exploring developing a broader pilot city-wide in the fall.
  • Prioritizing approval process of affordable housing by reducing processing and approval times in half for buildings designated to provide affordable housing. Over 20 projects are anticipated to be approved in the next two years, which will provide 800 units in 2018 and 900 units in 2019.
  • Prioritizing retention and renewal of Vancouver's 90,000 existing rental homes (57,000 permanent rentals and 22,800 non-market rentals).
  • Proposing short-term rental regulations could bring 1,000 long-term rental units back to market in 2018.
  • Charging a 1% Empty Homes Tax on empty or underused housing to help provide more rental housing.
  • Reviewing current zoning and development bylaws that support shared living arrangements while ensuring safety and liveability standards.

Creating more opportunities to own

In addition, we anticipate 10,000 ground-oriented units, including townhomes, laneways, and stratified coach houses, as well as 30,000 new condos providing opportunities for ownership over the next ten years.

Changing development levies to help pay for affordable housing and childcare

Tomorrow, Council will consider changes to Vancouver's City-wide Development Cost Levy program. These changes align with Council priorities and ensure the delivery of important public amenities associated with growth. Over the next ten years, it is estimated that DCL contributions from the development could generate one billion dollars in revenue, with half going to new affordable housing and childcare projects in the City of Vancouver.

Building on today's housing update, staff will present an update to Council on our actions to address housing for the City's most vulnerable populations, including an update on homelessness response, and affordable housing for lower income residents.

Read the Council meeting agenda

Next steps

We will hold further consultation with the public this fall to review the targets and anticipated actions to meet those targets. This consultation will help form the final Housing Vancouver strategy which will be brought to Council in the late fall.

Learn more about Housing Vancouver


An earlier version of the release incorrectly stated that the 12,000 homes would double existing targets whereas targets will increase by 50%.