Nearly 4,900 homes approved by City of Vancouver as of fall this year

Dec 18 2020, 4:07 am

This could be the City of Vancouver’s best year on record for coming close to achieving its overall annual Housing Vancouver targets.

Based on the municipal government’s newly released summary of projects approved over the course of 2020 as of the end of September, city officials have approved 4,873 (68%) of the total annual target of 7,200 homes.

These are the number of approved units for each home type as of the third quarter of the year against the annual goal:

  • Social housing: 771/1,200 units (64% achieved)
  • Purpose-built rental housing: 1,323/2,000 units (66% achieved)
  • Condominiums: 2,118/3,000 units (71% achieved)
  • Laneway houses: 297/400 units (74% achieved)
  • Coach houses: 26/100 units (26% achieved)
  • Townhouses: 338/500 units (67% achieved)

It should be noted that 70% of the approved purpose-built rental homes were under the city’s Moderate Income Rental Pilot Program creating 708 market rental homes and 178 below-market rental homes.

These overall numbers, of course, do not include the approvals over the fourth quarter, which will likely result in the municipal government nearly meeting, fully achieving or exceeding targets in certain key housing types. This applies specifically to social housing, purpose-built rental homes, and condominium homes.

Just last week, for instance, the current city council approved its largest rezoning application to date — the 14-acre redevelopment of the Oakridge Transit Centre into 1,630 homes including 1,120 condominium homes, 180 market rental homes, and 330 social housing units.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we continue to approve much needed new housing, especially the purpose-built rental and social and supportive housing we need to drive rents down,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a statement.

“These homes will not only help keep more of our friends and loved ones here in Vancouver, it will also help to jumpstart our economy as we head into 2021.”

2020 is the third year of the 10-year Housing Vancouver Strategy, which was approved by the previous city council in 2017, establishing annual and decade-long approval targets between 2018 and 2027.

The 10-year strategy calls for the approval of a total of 72,000 homes across all types. Between 2018 and September 2020, the city has green lit:

  • Social housing: 5,229/12,000 units (44% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Purpose-built rental housing: 4,415/20,000 units (22% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Condominiums: 12,386/30,000 units (41% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Laneway houses: 2,053/4,000 units (51% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Coach houses: 93/1,000 units (9% of 10-year goal achieved)
  • Townhouses: 1,522/5,000 units (30% of 10-year goal achieved)

Overall, the city has approved 25,698 homes between 2018 and September 2020. It is currently on pace to reach its 10-year targets for social housing, condominiums, laneway houses, and townhouses, but it is falling behind on purpose-built rental housing and coach houses.

One-third (34%) of the homes approved over the last three years are affordable to incomes under $80,000 annually. This is under the 10-year goal of 48%.

The 50-50 housing tenure split goal comes close, with 45% of approved homes to date being rental and the remaining 55% as ownership.

So far, the approvals have exceeded the 42% target of the creation of family-sized units, defined as homes with two or more bedrooms; 52% of the approvals to date are family-sized units, while 48% are single units.

Permitting the increase in housing supply is one of the municipal government’s few powerful mechanisms to help improve housing affordability.

The full figures for 2020’s housing approvals will be released in early 2021.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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