Market Rental Housing

Rental Housing: How to increase supply and decrease cost?

In 2008, the Vancouver City Planning Commission looked at the serious challenge of increasing the supply of purpose-built rental housing in Vancouver. To stimulate solution-oriented debate on ways to respond to this challenge, the Commission prepared a proposal based on pre-zoning land around transit centres and designated neighbourhood centres. Under the proposal, a modest increase in density for new multi-family housing would be allowed. In return, the developer would provide a specified number of rental units for a fixed time.

Core Assumptions

The Commission recognizes that there is a severe shortage of market rental housing in the city. As a result, there  is an urgent need to increase the supply and decrease the cost of rental housing. With this in mind, we reviewed the issue of sustaining and increasing the market rental housing in the city based on the following assumptions:

  1. We need more people to work and live in the city.
  2. All development must continue to be environmentally sustainable and encourage design innovations.
  3. Market rental housing supply should be considered a ‘public benefit.’
  4. We must reduce work trips by motor vehicles — and increase the work trips by public transport, bicycling and walking — by focusing on transit-oriented Development (TOD).
  5. Developing and implementing new policies and programs on market rental housing should not have to wait for EcoDensity to take full flight.
  6. These new policies should be developed without requiring more bureaucracy.
  7. These policies should not be exclusively dependent upon federal and provincial government programs or help.
  8. There is an urgent need to develop policies and programs which cut down on ‘processing time’ and ‘processing costs.’
  9. All neighbourhoods should share this growth neutrally. There should not be any ‘dumping’ in any particular parts of the city.

VCPC Market Rental Housing Proposal, October 2008

The Vancouver City Planning Commission are bringing our Market Rental Housing Report pdf icon forward to the public in our role as Council’s citizen advisory group on planning issues, to prompt an informed community dialogue about how to respond to the need in the city for rental housing. We hope this report will foster a thoughtful public debate on the value of rental housing and invite creative solutions for creating more supply.

The Commission has given much thought to this matter and explored various approaches in arriving at its recommendations. We believe that a productive dialogue on how to increase market rental housing needs to get underway without delay.

Download Report: Market Rental Housing: Strategy to Increase Supply pdf icon

VCPC Market Rental Housing Report (2008): Figure 1 - Potential Nodes for Early Implementation
Figure 1: Potential Nodes for Early Implementation (click picture for larger image)

A Made-in-Vancouver Solution for Vancouver’s Rental Housing Crisis

The Vancouver City Planning Commission published an editorial on our website, urging City Council to make an immediate response to the city’s evaporating Housing supply.

The Vancouver Sun pdf icon  published an editorial by Bob Ransford, a Commissioner about initiatives that could spur the construction of new market rental housing.