New report laments lack of development

Vancouver is experiencing a constrained supply in the multi-family housing market, according to a new report by the Urban Development Institute.

“Any home seeker knows we don’t have enough choices for them, in either new homes or resales.  Various independent and academic studies have proven supply is being throttled by restrictive single family zoning policy and delays in permitting,” UDI President & CEO Anne McMullin said. “Just this month, a developer had to cancel a building project due to permit delays that led to financing cancellation. If municipalities need more resources to process building applications faster, let’s make that happen. I can’t find any good news in this report.”

UDI released its quarterly State of the Market report Tuesday, which focuses on Vancouver’s housing market.

In it, the Institute found the percentage of new housing starts to new residents is falling.

“The current ratio of new Metro Vancouver residents to housing starts is 1.3, which is identical to last quarter as well as Q2-2016. However, the current ratio is down from the 2.2 housing starts per new residents in Q2-2015 and is below the five-year average of 2.1,” CDI said in the report. “The  number  of  housing  starts  have  trended  upwards  since  the  last  quarter of 2016 and while the ratio of 1.3 should be considered favourable to buyers/tenants it’s important to note the  overwhelming majority of multi-family housing starts have already been pre-sold. Strong demand for new multi -family homes is evidenced by the fact that over 87% of all new condominiums and townhomes released for sale since January 1st 2017 have been sold.”

In short, housing supply isn’t keeping pace with the number of new Vancouverites entering the city.

According to CDI, there were only 31 apartments ready for occupancy in Vancouver at the end of July.

The solution, according to McMullin, is: “Re-zoning of single family areas to allow multi-family homes, speeding up municipal approvals of housing projects and improving the lengthy, contentious public hearing process would create healthy competition and lower home prices.”

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