British Columbia

Premier John Horgan says improved housing options to be focus of B.C.'s next budget

As the fall session of the B.C. Legislature ends, Premier Horgan sets his sights on the province's next budget.

The fall sitting of the B.C. Legislature concluded Thursday

Premier John Horgan says housing will be a top priority in February's budget. (Mike Mcarthur/CBC)

As the fall sitting of the B.C. Legislature concluded Thursday, Premier John Horgan says providing more affordable housing is his top priority and will be a prominent feature in February's budget.

Horgan says housing was the major issue in last spring's provincial election and data released this week from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. indicates little has changed, with near zero rental vacancy rates across British Columbia.

He says the lack of rental units and family homes hurts the economy because people will not move to a new city if there are no places to live, no matter how solid the job offer.

"It makes it particularly difficult for our industries, especially our high tech industries, if our workers can't find a place to live," Horgan said.

Horgan says the government's budget will include initiatives to increase the supply of two- and three-bedroom units.

The NDP has promised to build 114,000 new rental, non-profit and co-op housing units over a 10-year period.

The CMHC says rental vacancy rates in cities in B.C. are among the lowest in Canada and the province has the highest monthly rents.