The Rental Housing Supply Coalition issued today (April 11) the following open letter:
April 11, 2011
Dear Federal Party Leaders,
The shortage of affordable rental housing has reached a critical level in Metro Vancouver, and is a pressing issue for many other cities and regions in the country. The Rental Housing Supply Coalition is a mix of private sector, public and non-profit organizations which have recently come together in the Metro Vancouver region to seek the cooperation of all levels of government in addressing a key piece of the affordable housing solution – rental housing.
It is estimated that there will be a demand for 6500 rental units per year in Metro Vancouver, with most of this demand coming from households with incomes of less than $45,000. Construction levels of purpose built rental housing have averaged only 600 units per year.
While secondary suites are filling some of the gap for low to moderate income households, many people rely on crowded or otherwise inappropriate housing due to affordability constraints. Rented condo suites also provide some supply, but only at the mid to upper end of the rental market. Neither of these alternative rental sources provides a permanent solution to the lack of rental supply.
A healthy rental market is necessary to retain working young people and families in the region, and to provide appropriate affordable accommodation for ageing seniors. The construction of more rental buildings will generate significant economic activity and provide long term benefits through the creation of both direct and indirect employment.
Creating new rental supply requires commitment from all levels of government. Therefore, will you commit to the following:
”¢ Providing tax incentives and a taxation environment that stimulates the construction of, and investment in rental housing, such as reinstating the ability to defer capital gains tax upon reinvestment, accelerated depreciation, deducting losses against other income, and permitting GST/HST exemption
”¢ Implementing a National Housing Plan that will bring together stakeholders and develop a road-map for increasing affordable rental housing supply
”¢ Supporting the viability of non-profit and co-op housing construction through direct capital investment and long-term low-cost financing
Though based in BC, the Rental Housing Supply Coalition members have ties to national affiliates who recognize the importance of addressing rental housing. Housing is fundamental to the well-being of Canada and we look forward to hearing about your plans to address the need for affordable rental housing.
The Rental Housing Supply Coalition
Mayor Wayne Wright
Chair, Metro Vancouver Housing Committee
Maureen Enser, Executive Director
Urban Development Institute
Marg Gordon, Executive Director
BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association
Karen Stone, Executive Director
BC Non-Profit Housing Association
Executive Director, Thom Armstrong
Co-op Housing Federation of BC
Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC
Todd Senft, Chairman of the Board,
Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association
Robert K. Wallace, FCA, Chief Executive Officer
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Martha J. Lewis, Executive Director
TRAC Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre
David Berge, Senior Vice President