Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, has suggested that creating more low- and middle-income homes is going to be key to the city’s economic health. According to the mayor, affordable housing is going to be central to the future of Vancouver as a whole.
The mayor addressed the housing issue alongside a variety of other pressing concerns during a lunch at the Urban Land Institute on Tuesday. Rental housing in particular is seen as of major import if the city is going to move forward.
Robertson isn’t the only one to notice the huge increase in the price of housing over the past four decades. Prices now are simply ‘unthinkable’ said the mayor from what they were some 38 years ago.
For people moving to the city from the U.S. and elsewhere the sting of having to move into a small condo for the same price that got them a large single-family dwelling in their previous locale can really sting. For families in particular, this can certainly influence their decision to move to the city.
Vancouver real estate investments are eating up a large chunk of people’s incomes. While Canada’s Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines affordable housing as housing that consumes no more than a third of total household income, many people are having to spend a good deal more than that to afford their homes.
On average about 2 in 5 Vancouverites spend more than 30 per cent of household income on housing and for those under the age of 34 the statistics are worse. As many as half of younger renters and buyers are spending more than a third of their income simply to live in their dwellings.
The new proposals for the city include rezoning options in order to make higher-density housing available including for instance, townhomes, row houses and 3.5 storey buildings that are built within a block and half of major city streets.
Rapid transit options were also addressed in order to meet the city’s long term goal of having two thirds of trips in the city being made up of foot, public transit and bike by 2040. Thus both transit options and affordable housing reform need to be put back on the agenda if the city is going to see the kind of liveability it hopes to achieve.