Historic shortage of new, multi-family housing: report

Rendering of phase one of Gilmore Place by Onni in Burnaby's Brentwood neighbourhood.

The availability of new, multi-family housing in the City of Vancouver has reached a historic low, according to the Urban Development Institute (UDI).

It says low inventory levels are the result of outdated, restrictive zoning in single-family neighbourhoods, especially within Vancouver city limits.

“We clearly need a regional housing strategy with more homes for more people,” said Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the UDI. “That means more high-rise apartments along rapid transit corridors and more townhomes, rowhomes, multi-family low-rises, duplexes and laneway homes in traditional single-family neighbourhoods.”

Low inventory levels are also playing a significant role in recent price increases for new homes throughout the region, according to the institute.

The report says Metro Vancouver’s new home market experienced a brief slowdown this quarter, which can be attributed to a lack of new project launches rather than a lack of demand.

There were only 2,546 new multi-family homes available to purchase at the end of Q1 2017, which is down 15 per cent from the same quarter last year and is once again nearing historic lows.

Report highlights

  • Zero townhome units available & unsold in Vancouver proper. Only 16 units in Metro Vancouver, which flat-lined for the past year
  • Four wood frame condos in Metro, none in Vancouver
  • Record low 11 concrete condos available in Metro, none in Vancouver, steady decline from Q2 2014
  • Metro Van. population up by 29,900 over the last year. Current pop. 2,183,600
  • Most municipalities averaging 0.6% vacancy rate, no improvement

VIDEO: Anne McMullin, President & CEO, UDI

The report was prepared by Urban Analytics for the UDI, which represents the real estate development industry.

Read the report, Q1 2017 State of the Market, in full here.