[URBAN NOTE] “The future of Vancouver’s rental market”
In The Globe and Mail, Kerry Gold describes a new push to make renting a practical possibility for Vancouverites.
Now that many young people are expecting to rent for life – if they want to live in Vancouver – developers have woken up to the formerly neglected rental market. Renting has for too long been seen as second to owning, but in Vancouver at least, that attitude will soon have to change in the face of unaffordability and a rental vacancy rate below 1 per cent.
In Vancouver, the push for rental housing is moving forward, with a few new significant developments under way.
Condo marketer Bob Rennie has taken the position that he’d like to see rental housing get yet more priority around transit hubs. He’s pushing for the creation of “rental zones.” That would require a legislative change, since the City of Vancouver can’t currently create zoning according to tenure. Mr. Rennie would like to see the creation of 10,000 rental units in the next five years, all close to transit, since renters use transit more often than homeowners.
“I believe we can create a zoning that is rental-only – we can create something scalable throughout Greater Vancouver,” he says. “Let’s create solutions that aren’t just a Band-Aid, like [building] 10 units somewhere.
“Freeing up vacant rental in 5,000-square-foot units in Coal Harbour isn’t a solution for anybody,” a reference to the city’s new vacant-property tax, which was introduced to bring potential rentals onto the market. “The solution is under $1,500 a month, and I think rental-only zoning will do that. If governance says we can’t do it, let’s figure the thing out. It’s 2016. This is where our civic governments have to work with our provincial government. Put partisan politics aside. It’s a problem. Let’s solve it.”
When asked if condo developers might have an issue with choice land around transit hubs going toward rental, he responded:
“Too bad. Then create more density so you can do both.”