New investments from the British Columbia and federal governments indicate a modest revival of public non-market housing, but as this report explains these investments must be ramped up significantly to meet the affordable housing needs of Metro Vancouver.
To fully address Metro Vancouver’s housing crisis, an ambitious build-out program of 10,000 new units annually of non-market rental housing is needed and should include public housing and co-ops that are truly affordable for ordinary households.
The greatest need is rental housing stock for low- to moderate-income households, precisely the kind of housing that is unprofitable for private-sector developers who would rather build luxury units for sale to the highest bidders worldwide.
A high-ambition plan of 10,000 new units annually would cost about $2.5 billion, an investment that would represent less than one penny per dollar of income (or GDP) that British Columbia generates. This upfront capital cost would be recouped through rental income over the lifespan of the buildings and revenues from much-needed property tax reforms such as the progressive tiers on property and property transfer taxes, and speculation and vacancy taxes.