Vancouver closing in on goal of securing 5,000 new market rental housing units by 2021

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      The City of Vancouver looks on track with its goal of enabling 5,000 new purpose-built, market-rate rentals by 2021.

      The target was one of the objectives set when council endorsed in 2011 Vancouver’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2012-2021: A Home for Everyone.

      With about six more years to go, a total of 4,202 units are either approved for development, under construction, or already completed.

      The city’s progress was noted in a staff report recommending council approval of a proposed rezoning to build 48 rentals in South Vancouver.

      The application by Bhandal Homes Ltd. will be subject to a public hearing Tuesday (May 26).

      With the expected support by council for the mixed-use development containing 48 additional rentals, the city has 750 units to go before 2021.

      Bhandal Homes’ application was made under the Rental 100: Secured Market Rental Housing Policy, which provides developers various incentives.

      For this project at 5648-5678 Victoria Drive, city staff recommended additional height and density with the rezoning of the site east of 41st Avenue from its current status as a commercial development district to a comprehensive development district.

      Staff also suggested waiving the collection of $487,207 in development cost levies for the residential portion of the development. The developer is likewise seeking a reduction in the parking requirement, which is backed by staff.

      According to the staff report, the developer “estimates” that studio units would rent for $809 a month; one-bedroom units, $1,191; and two-bedroom units, $1,603 per month.

      “When compared to average rents in newer buildings in East Vancouver, the proposed rents are lower,” staff reported. “When compared to home ownership costs, the proposed rents in this application will provide an affordable alternative to home ownership, particularly for the larger units.”

      Regarding the policy of encouraging the development of “secured market rental”, staff noted that this type of housing “provides a more affordable housing option for nearly half of Vancouver’s population and contributes to a number of City initiatives intended to create diverse and sustainable communities”.

      Staff continued: “Rental 100 units are targeted to moderate income households and the program extends throughout all parts of the city, thereby providing options that are more affordable than home ownership.”