Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How is our region doing with the creation of affordable housing?

Over the last week, I’ve been posting about Metro Vancouver’s annual progress report for our regional growth strategy. Today, I’ll be posting on goal 4 which is to develop complete communities.

Goal 4 is tied closely to goal 1 which is to create a compact urban area. Developing a complete community which includes a variety of housing types, and with access to jobs, shops, services, and recreation activities within a close walk, bike ride, or transit trip; inherently supports the creation of a compact urban area.

Affordable housing is one of the goals of our regional growth strategy. The focus of this goal is to build more row housing and apartments to provide housing at various price points. In 2011, 51% of housing in the region was ground-oriented, 40% was apartments, and 9% was row housing. In 2015, 50% of housing was ground-oriented with 10% now being row housing. 40% remained apartments.

For growing families, row housing likely provides the sweet spot of space, affordability, and support for ensuring accessible communities. Surrey is currently the row house building leader in the region.

Share of growth by housing type between 2011 and 2015 in Metro Vancouver. Select graph to enlarge.

Increasing the social housing and rental housing supply is also a key strategy for our region which is extremely important considering our low rental vacancy rate. Unfortunately, the number of social housing units is on the decline in our region, and the number of purpose-build rental units has been growing at a slow rate.

Change in rental stock between 2011 and 2015 in Metro Vancouver. Select table to enlarge.

Homeless supportive and transitional housing units have increased by 38% which is encouraging. In Langley, these units have increased from 45 in 2011 to 69 in 2016.

Change in the number of homeless supportive and transitional units by sub-region between 2011 and 2016 in Metro Vancouver. Select table to enlarge.

While the region’s goal is to create a healthy mix of housing types, it is really up to municipalities in the region to make it happen. 13 municipalities in the region now have housing action plans including all South of Fraser municipalities.

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