Housing Minister Unveils Targets for Municipalities to Increase Housing Starts

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon has announced the housing targets for the first 10 municipalities selected by the province to increase housing starts. The targets include not only the number of units but also the type of housing, including townhomes, condos, and single-family homes.

If the targets are met, it will result in over 60,000 net new housing units in these municipalities over the next five years. However, some mayors have expressed concerns about meeting these targets without support from the provincial and federal governments for infrastructure development to support growing communities.

The municipalities on the list must fulfill these housing targets, or they risk the province enforcing higher density measures. The targets for net new housing over five years are as follows:

– Abbotsford: 7,240 units
– Delta: 3,607 units
– Kamloops: 4,236 units
– Port Moody: 1,694 units
– Saanich: 4,610 units
– Vancouver: 28,900 units
– Victoria: 4,902 units
– North Vancouver: 2,838 units
– West Vancouver: 1,432 units
– Oak Bay: 664 units

In addition, the province aims for municipalities to include a certain number of units of different sizes, including one, two, and three-bedroom units, as well as rental units, below-market rental units, and supportive housing units. If the targets are met, it would result in the creation of 16,800 below-market rental units over five years.

Housing Minister Kahlon stated that the housing targets represent a 38% increase in housing developments compared to historic trends. The province plans to add 16 to 20 more municipalities to the housing targets list each year.

Under the Housing Supply Act, municipalities that meet the targets will be eligible for funding for amenities such as parks, bike lanes, and recreation centers. Those that do not meet the targets risk being overruled by the province, which has the authority to rezone entire neighborhoods to create more density.

The mayor of Oak Bay, Kevin Murdoch, expressed concerns about meeting the target of 664 units without support from the provincial government. Oak Bay has a small planning department with limited resources and approved zero net new homes in 2022, according to data from housing advocacy group Homes for Living.

The housing targets aim to address the increasing demand for housing in fast-growing communities and overcome challenges faced by builders due to interest rates, building costs, and labor shortages in the industry.