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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Poll: British Columbians say government, municipalities failing to deliver housing affordability

Despite softening prices and increased housing supply across Metro Vancouver, a new poll finds over 70 per cent of British Columbians are unhappy with government action on housing.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos for the Urban Development Institute (UDI), found that B.C. residents are frustrated with a lack of housing options, lengthy municipal approval processes and stubbornly high prices.

Seventy-one per cent of British Columbians say they haven’t seen an increase in affordable housing options over the past two years, and 70 per cent don’t think the government’s actions are improving affordability.

Long municipal approval times, fees and taxes were singled out as a major factor behind Metro Vancouver’s high housing prices, with 71 per cent saying approval processes are too long, and 74 per cent saying “red tape” has made housing less affordable.

“Municipalities can take as long as five years to approve a new rental proposal; and, it can take another two to three years to get permits and build,” said Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute, which commissioned the poll.

“We have a rental crisis today, but in some communities new homes for people won’t be move-in ready until 2027. The approval process is broken.”

Key findings

  • 75 per cent want municipalities to approve more housing options within single-family neighbourhoods
  • 74 per cent of British Columbians believe home prices and rents remain high because there are too few housing options
  • 71 per cent believe municipal housing approval processes are too long and need to be fixed
  • 74 per cent believe all additional taxes, fees and regulatory red tape have made housing less affordable
  • 71 per cent saw no increase in affordable housing choices (to rent or buy) over the past two years
  • 72 per cent don’t believe there has been an increase in affordable housing options over the past two years
  • 70 per cent believe the actions of governments (provincial & municipal) have not improved housing affordability
  • 68 per cent said governments aren’t doing enough to encourage new rental home construction
  • 80 per cent want more housing options close to transit hubs
  • 58 per cent don’t believe municipalities are doing enough to encourage more diverse housing options

The City of Vancouver says it’s making progress in reducing municipal approval wait times, by hiring new staff and launching several pilot programs to cut wait times.

Rezoning applications have increased 97.5 per cent since 2010, according to statistics released by the city.

In 2018, the city received 7,742 development and building applications.

It says development permit approvals for affordable housing have been reduced to 12 weeks through the SHORT pilot, and single family and laneway home permit processing times have been reduced from 28-38 weeks to six weeks through the ASAP pilot.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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