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New approach looks at building the right housing supply

Targets based on income will help increase affordability

"In this affordability crisis, all options are on the table to keep Vancouver liveable now and into the future," says Mayor Gregor Robertson

March 24 2017 –

Our work to address housing affordability over the last six months has shown that enough supply is being produced to serve our overall population, but it is not the right kind of supply to meet the incomes and housing needs of our residents.

To address this, we are pursuing several new priorities to deliver greater volumes and more varied housing supply across the city.

Next steps

On Tuesday, March 28, City staff will present the immediate steps and longer-term actions to improve the speed of delivery for affordable homes in both new and existing housing to City Council.

Next steps will include a public engagement process to seek input into the Housing Vancouver priorities and report back in July 2017 with the final strategy for Council consideration.

View the full council report

Too few affordable rentals if trend continues

Over the last three years new housing supply has been created at a record rate in Vancouver. 

The volume of permits issued for new construction has continued to increase over the last five years.

However, we project a vast undersupply of affordable rental in the next 10 years if development continues in this trend.

Pilot program to speed up planning and development processes

As an immediate step, the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency will take forward an additional eight City-owned sites for developing 1,000 units of affordable housing.

We are also exploring a one-year pilot program to speed up the production of affordable housing by prioritizing the affordable housing planning and development processes.

Our projections

We project 47,800 new homes will be built across Vancouver over the next 10 years – almost half, 26,800 units, will be rental housing.

Single rentals

Of those rentals, only 2,600 will be affordable for single people earning less than $50,000 a year.

Demand shows 9,000 units will be needed.

Vancouver needs three times the supply currently projected for these residents, many of whom are young workers and students.

Family rentals

Families who rent and earn under $80,000 are also facing a severe gap in rental housing.

Currently 4,250 homes are projected to be created in the next 10 years, while demand shows the need for 8,400 homes.

Double the amount of family rental housing will be needed.

Ownership opportunities

We will continue to seek opportunities to provide homeownership for families and young people.

However, our estimates show a gap of 9,700 family units, meaning more than double the amount of family housing currently projected is needed by 2026 to ensure families have the room to grow and thrive in the city.

How we will increase supply

To better match anticipated supply to existing incomes, we will work to expand and secure more rental housing options, and deepen the level of affordability being provided in new rental housing supply.

We will seek creative partnerships to make this happen.

Our priorities

To create more of the right housing supply for Vancouver residents, we will pursue the following priorities:

  • Expand rental housing supply at transit-oriented hubs, corridors and near arterials.
  • Create new development opportunities through increased density at rapid transit stations and other transit-rich hubs. Two new rapid transit station area plans will be launched in 2017.
  • Expand the existing Rental 100 program, considering new intensified housing forms along and adjacent to arterials to create a transition to lower density neighbourhoods. This could include reviewing location criteria and type of supply secured.
  • Change the Interim Rezoning Policy to improve affordability outcomes and effectiveness.
  • Review regulatory options to deliver new rental housing supply, including density bonuses and other zoning tools.


Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver

“I’ve been hearing loud and clear that in Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis, the City needs to make big moves and we need to make them now,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We don't just need more supply, we need the right supply – a housing mix that includes more townhomes, rowhomes, and duplexes in low and moderate density neighbourhoods to meet the needs of local residents and incomes. In this affordability crisis, all options are on the table to keep Vancouver liveable now and into the future.”