Thoughts on the Vancouver Housing Crisis
“Vancouver needs more housing!” It’s shouted from rooftops throughout the Lower Mainland.
2017 became the first tax year the Empty Homes Tax was applied to properties in the Vancouver municipality. Around the same time the city implemented policies designed to discourage short-term rentals. Is it working?
This month the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released their 2019 Rental Market Report. The statistics that stood out, and provide evidence of an unprecedented shift in the market, comes from changes in the Vancouver condominium housing stock, referred to as the condo universe.
The number of condos as long-term rentals in 2019 increased by 11,118 units (18.9%) in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), of which the strongest gains was lead within the Vancouver city limits in the amount of 5,920 units. Data shows that the number of rental units added exceeds the net additions to the overall condo universe. Where this is most prevalent is the Downtown Vancouver zone, where 2,996 units were added to the long-term rental universe while only 318 of these were added to the condo universe by way of new construction. This implies 2,678 of the 2,996 units (89.3%) added to the new long-term rental housing in 2019, in Downtown Vancouver, were units that were converted from another purpose into long-term rental housing. In the Vancouver Westside zone, only 389 of the 1309 added units to the condo universe was by way of new construction, making 70.3% of the new long-term rental housing added in this area existing housing converted from a previous purpose.
While it is paramount the City of Vancouver, and CMA, continue to build rental purpose housing, we can agree the 2019 CMHC data suggests the housing policies from various governments is contributing to the number of condos available in the long-term rental market. This is a step in the right direction to address the housing crisis so many face today.