British Columbia

More Vancouver rentals for families on the way, says housing officer

Vancouver has worked hard for years to develop more rental housing for families and more is on the way, says the city’s chief housing officer.

Rental housing makes up about 20 per cent of new stock built in Vancouver last year

One third of Vancouver's current housing stock is rental, says Mukhtar Latif, Vancouver's Chief Housing Officer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck (The Canadian Press)

Vancouver has worked hard for years to develop more rental housing for families and more is on the way, says the city's chief housing officer.

This comes days after New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote spoke to CBC about policies that resulted in half of all units built in 2015 being rental apartments. New Westminster also mandates that 10 per cent of all new units built must be three bedrooms or more.

Meanwhile, across Metro Vancouver rental vacancy rates remain under one per cent, and a hot real estate market continues to push up both rents and property prices.

The City of Vancouver's chief housing officer Mukhtar Latif says the city has known for years the solution to high rents is to build more rental housing, including housing suitable for families.

"What we see is that without new rental supply coming in, we find pressure being put on the existing stock and that causes rents to rise," said Latif.

But the City of Vancouver is already responsible for much of the region's affordable rental stock, he notes.

"Over 50 per cent living in the city are renters and Vancouver actually has over 50 per cent of the secured rental supply in the Metro Vancouver area."

In addition, rental housing, including housing for families, makes up about one third of Vancouver's total housing stock, according to Latif.   

Meanwhile the city continues to promote the building of new rental stock he says. Already, 10,000 new rental units have been built in Vancouver over the past five years, making up about 20 per cent of Vancouver's new housing supply.

The city is continuing to encouraging developers to build larger units to accommodate families, including plans to incorporate "family-friendly" housing in the Cambie 3 project, which is the next phase of the Cambie Corridor plan.

Also, about 3,500 units of subsidized housing were built in the past five years, according to Latif.

To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: How Vancouver encourages rental options for families.


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