Public Cites Affordability as Key Priority in City Housing Survey

Poll of 10,000 people calls for “right supply” and greater diversity of housing choice
Joannah Connolly
July 19, 2017

Creating a supply of affordable housing emerged, unsurprisingly, as the key priority for respondents in a recent poll of 10,000 current or recent Vancouver residents.

Teasing the results of the survey in a media release July 19, the City of Vancouver said, “A majority of respondents agreed that focusing on creating the ‘right supply’ of housing, ensuring security and stability for renters, and supporting people who are homeless, would make a positive impact for themselves, their families, and people in the city of Vancouver.”

The City added that there was “broad support” for the Housing Vancouver plan that was approved by City council in spring this year.

Creating appropriate housing and a diversity of housing forms was cited as a major concern of respondents and was seen as key to the affordability issue. When asked what type of housing they would be looking for in their next move, the highest proportion of current home owners (46%) said that townhouses, rowhouses and duplexes were their top choice. Among current renters, low-rise apartments (58%), mid-rise apartments (43%) and townhouses/rowhouses/duplexes (40%) were the top three choices.

The City added that the poll found another major concern among respondents was “a growing inequity between those who can access housing and those who cannot.”

It added, “Many believe investment pressure is a primary contributor to escalating prices and are looking to all levels of government for action. A majority of renters are concerned about their future in Vancouver, with affordability being a key reason why they might choose to leave.”

Of the 10,000 people surveyed between May 26 and June 23, nearly 2,000 respondents said they were no longer living in Vancouver and had left in the past four years.

The City said, “City staff will report back to Council on Tuesday, July 25 with detailed results of the public consultation, preliminary interim targets for housing in the city across the next 10 years, and early actions to achieve those housing targets.”

Despite the extremely high demand for townhomes, there were no new, move-in-ready townhomes within Vancouver’s city limits available to purchase in the first quarter of 2017, according to a May 29 report from the Urban Development Institute (UDI).

As of July 19, there are 203 resale Vancouver townhomes available on the Multiple Listing Service® compared with 999 condos.

Anne McMullin, UDI president and CEO, said in May, “We clearly need a regional housing strategy with more homes for more people. 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.”

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.