Nearly 8,000 homes approved by the City of Vancouver in 2020: statistics

May 7 2021, 12:01 pm

Despite the pandemic, 2020 recorded the highest number of new housing approvals ever in the City of Vancouver. It also marked the first time more purpose-built rental homes were approved than ownership housing.

The municipal government’s newly updated statistics on its progress towards its 10-year Housing Vancouver goals indicate a total of 7,899 homes were approved in 2020.

All three major housing types — condominiums, purpose-built market rental housing, and social housing — exceeded their annual targets for the year.

Much of these targets were achieved by the city council’s December approval of the rezoning application for the 14-acre redevelopment of TransLink’s former Oakridge Transit Centre into 1,630 homes, including 1,120 condominiums, 180 market rental homes, and 330 social housing units.

Over half (53%) of the new Vancouver housing approvals over the year were for purpose-built and social housing — doubling the number since 2019. As well, over 350 new below-market rental homes were approved, an increase of fivefold over the previous year.

Nearly half (48%) of the units were approved under the Moderate Income Rental Pilot Program, entailing 928 market rental homes and 233 below-market rental homes.

These are the number of approved units for each home type in 2020, and how the performance meets against annual approval targets:

  • Social housing: 1,326/1,200 units (111% achieved of one-year target)
  • Purpose-built rental housing: 2,473/2,000 units (124% achieved of one-year target)
  • Condominiums: 3,451/3,000 units (115% achieved of one-year target)
  • Laneway houses: 384/400 units (96% achieved of one-year target)
  • Coach houses: 18/100 units (18% achieved of one-year target)
  • Townhouses: 290/500 units (58% achieved of one-year target)

This brings the total number of homes approved in the Housing Vancouver plan to about 28,800 homes — about 40% of the goal of building 72,000 new homes between 2018 and 2027.

As of 2020, the third year of the Housing Vancouver strategy, the city is on target to reach its 10-year targets.

Between 2018 and 2020, the city has approved:

  • Social housing: 5,784/12,000 units (46% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Purpose-built rental housing: 5,565/20,000 units (28% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Condominiums: 13,719/30,000 units (46% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Laneway houses: 2,140/4,000 units (54% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Coach houses: 85/1,000 units (8% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Townhouses: 1,474/5,000 units (29% of 10-year goal achieved)

Half of the units approved to date have been family-oriented homes with two or more bedrooms.

The city states that it is looking to improve the affordability of future home approvals. It is also looking to refresh the Housing Vancouver targets based on existing and new data, collaboration with Metro Vancouver Regional District on population growth and dwelling estimates, and consultation with housing and population experts.

“Despite widespread challenges from the pandemic, we are highly encouraged by the progress in 2020 and remain motivated to meet Housing Vancouver’s goals to create a healthier housing system that works for everyone,” said Theresa O’Donnell, the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability for the city, in a statement.

“We’ve made a dedicated effort to shift our focus towards more rental and social and supportive housing to support individuals and families with a range of incomes.”

This comes as Vancouver City Council recently received a long list compiled by city staff of numerous proposals, totalling thousands of rental homes, that are stuck in the municipal government’s pre-application process.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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