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Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services
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Rental Housing Trends in British Columbia

Rental Housing Trends in British Columbia
The supply of rental housing is a major issue in British Columbia as many parts of the province continue to have some of the lowest vacancy rates and least affordable rental housing in the country. The experience of renters in the province is affected by the ability of the rental market to respond to continued demand. Because new conventional rental supply has been largely unprofitable for developers and unaffordable to renters in recent years, many of the rental units that have been added to the stock have been secondary suites or investor-owned condominiums. The purpose of this paper is to examine rental housing supply, household demand trends, and rental housing financing, and to explore the relationship between these factors in British Columbia.

Part 1: Rental Housing Supply and Demand Trends

Part 2: Rental Housing Finance

High land and development costs and the higher returns available from condominium construction will continue to be the major factors discouraging investment in new formal rental supply, especially in the growing population centres of the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan, and southern Vancouver Island. Despite strong growth in the number of households, market rent levels and especially renter incomes are not high enough to support costly new construction in the formal rental sector.

Much of the demand, instead, is being met by the addition of non-conventional rental units. This trend is giving new housing options to many renters, creating a burgeoning class of small landlords, and pushing the bounds of conventional policies affecting rental housing. These market shifts confront all levels of government with challenges in the areas of building codes, zoning bylaws, enforcement strategies, housing program design, research and data collection needs, the regulation of rental market practices, and the demand for and financing of municipal services