Density, condos and housing affordability

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How is it that we have seen a non-stop construction boom in Vancouver over the past decade-plus and yet we still have huge homelessness and affordable housing problems? This is a question posed and explored by writer Marc Lee in an article on Policy Note. Below is an excerpt from the piece.

It varies cyclically but over the past decade, BC has consistently spent more than 8% of its income (GDP) on residential construction, and in some years (like 2007) almost 10%. Between 1981 and 2012, the lowest that figure ever got was 5% of our GDP. To put that in dollar terms, BC spent $19.5 billion on new housing in 2012.

So it’s not like we are are failing to build new housing. The problem is that there’s a fundamental mis-match here between what we need in terms of new housing and what we are getting. Much of the conversation around housing affordability has been around the need for densification to accommodate new people coming to Vancouver, and this has set off pitched battles about what that density looks like. But the more important issue is what kind of housing we are building, and for whom.

Visit the Policy Note website for more.