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Media Release – State of the Market Q1-2017

May 29, 2017



VANCOUVER, BC —Availability of new multi-family housing has reached historic lows with zero new townhomes completed and move-in ready in Vancouver, and only 16 townhomes and 15 condos ready for occupancy in the entire Metro region (Lower Mainland) at the end of March 2017. These startling findings are in UDI’s first quarter State of the Market 2017 Research Report. The independent report tracks quarterly population growth with new home sales, prices and supply.
“We clearly need a regional housing strategy with more homes for more people,” says UDI President & CEO Anne McMullin.  “That means more high-rise apartments along rapid transit corridors and more townhomes, rowhomes, multi-family low-rises, duplexes and laneway homes in traditional single family neighborhoods.”

While pre-sales in various forms of construction were available for purchase as part of overall “inventory”, that doesn’t help someone who’s just moved here for a new job with a family, and needs a new home today, she added. “What’s causing the supply shortage is the restrictive single family home neighborhood zoning on 85% of our residential land base, available to a select few high income earners who can buy there. That keeps out young families, middle income earners and renters, who can’t afford single family homes.”


Report Highlights:

When interpreting this report, the best measurement on new housing that is move-in ready is called “standing inventory”.  Housing starts are not a good measurement of supply, because at least 80% of these are pre-sold before they’re even built, to meet bank financing requirements. While the housing starts to population ratio has improved in this quarter, a cumulative supply deficit over many years persists.

  • Zero townhome units available & unsold in Vancouver proper. Only 16 units in Metro Van., which
    flat-lined for the past year. See chart 8.4 p.14
  • Four wood frame condos in Metro, none in Vancouver. See chart 7.4 p13
  • Record low 11 concrete condos available in Metro, none in Vancouver, steady decline from Q2 2014. See chart 4 p.12
  • Metro Van. population up by 29,900 over the last year. Current pop. 2,183,600. See chart 1.1 on p. 7
  • Most municipalities averaging  0.6% vacancy rate, no improvement. See chart 5.6 on page 11.



Media contact for scheduling interviews: Cheryl Ziola   C: 604-719-2909   E: cziola@udi.org

The Urban Development Institute is an association of the real estate development industry which supports more than 220,000 BC jobs plus billions in economic activity.  Through municipal fees and contributions, the industry funds the construction of daycares, social housing, parks, public art, museums, schools and community centers throughout BC.

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