A coloured rendered image of a row of multiplexes

Housing options in lower density areas

Adding housing choice in neighbourhoods across Vancouver

Shifting towards the right supply of housing to meet the needs of people who live and work in Vancouver is a key objective of the Housing Vancouver Strategy.

Part of delivering the right supply is to provide more housing that falls between single-family homes and higher density apartments, often referred to as “missing middle” housing.

Adding housing choice across the city in our lower-density neighbourhoods is part of the effort to create more complete neighbourhoods; a goal emerging from work on the Vancouver Plan.

What's happeningAdding missing middle housing and simplifying regulations in low-density neighbourhoods

We're exploring opportunities to add more missing middle housing, specifically multiplexes with up to six units per lot, in low-density neighbourhoods across the city. This work also involves looking at changes to simplify rules for existing housing options including houses, duplexes, and laneway houses.

Key objectives include:

  • Providing more housing choices in low-density neighbourhoods
  • Allowing more design flexibility for new buildings
  • Simplifying rules to create a more efficient permitting system

We will share initial concepts and launch a first round of public engagement in early February, and staff will present an update to Council on January 18.

Review previous Council memos:

Check back for updates on the upcoming engagement opportunities.

No policy or zoning changes have been approved yet, and applications to build new multiplexes in low-density areas cannot be accepted at this time. The earliest a council decision on changes following a public hearing is expected is fall 2023.

What can be built in most single-family (RS) zones today

In most lower density areas, the following housing options currently exist.

Single detached house

With or without optional secondary rental suite.

Laneway house

Additional rental option in conjunction with a single detached house.

Character retention

Character house retention with infill (an additional building): 0.85 FSR total.

Duplex

Two ownership units at 0.7 FSR plus a secondary suite or lock-off unit with each half duplex. (Note: Duplexes are not an option in RS-3 or RS-3A)

*Floor space ratio (FSR) is a measurement of the floor area of a building relative to the area of the site it is built on. FSR is used to describe the size of a building.

For permit enquiries, contact the Development and Building Services Centre online.

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Other work underway

Other work related to creating more housing choice includes exploring low-carbon housing options as part of the Climate Emergency Response (609 KB)