BC Lacking Enough Housing to Solve Supply Problem

BC Lacking Enough Housing

B.C.’s housing inventory lacking ‘right supply’ to resolve affordable housing crisis


According to a newly-released Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) report, B.C.’s housing inventory is keeping up with population growth but lacking the “right supply” to resolve the affordable housing crisis.


The report shows that the province’s population grew 7.6 per cent while the number of dwellings grew 7.2 per cent between 2016 and 2021.


And in some cities like Kelowna, the number of dwellings exceeded local population growth.


“I certainly think it matches up with what we are seeing in our community and other communities elsewhere across the province,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.


“We know that particularly here in Kelowna, a record number of units are being processed and built but we are still seeing people without homes. We’re still seeing a very tight vacancy rate.”


Although there have been a number of new builds throughout the province, communities are still lacking affordable rental housing.


The City of Kelowna says that they are actively working to address this problem.


“The housing crisis didn’t appear overnight, and it isn’t going to disappear overnight,” said James Moore, City of Kelowna’s infill and housing policy manager.


“The right supply is a big part of the solution and in fact, our 2018 Healthy Housing strategy has building the right supply as one of its central pillars. It is something the city has acknowledged for a number of years now and we continue to work towards.”


“For the last three years, we have been stressing on this subject that we are not, or developers and the governments are not building the right type of accommodations for what is needed in each community,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki.


The housing supply crisis is not specific to Kelowna as many other communities, including Penticton, are also experiencing a lack of affordable housing.


“We need affordable housing for the working poor, for young families, for first-time people who are getting into the market, especially in the rental area. For young families to purchase their first home is almost impossible in this province.”


The report also shows that provincial approval processes have contributed towards B.C. housing construction delays.


“There’s often this misrepresentation that local governments are the reason why it takes so long for housing projects to be approved. I can tell you that the City of Kelowna when compared to other municipalities has a development timeline that is much quicker,” said Basran.


“But the provincial government, for example, has processes in place that can add anywhere from 18 to 24 months to an approval time. I think that it is time for not only other levels of government to get involved but for them to also look at the processes that they have that are causing delays in order for more projects to get built.”


The UBCM report recommended an all-government approach towards housing affordability where all levels of government work directly with communities to find appropriate solutions to the affordable housing crisis.

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Liz Penner is a top-selling licensed real estate salesperson with the Fraser

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