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Vancouver families planning to leave city because they can't find housing: survey

Last Updated Jul 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm PDT

Couple buying a house with a real estate agent (Courtesy iStock)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There may be a mass exodus of Vancouver families leaving the city soon over a lack of affordable housing and rental units. A new staff survey, presented to City Council today, finds nearly 60 per cent of people say they’ll move over the next three years if they can’t find a place to live.

To fix that, staff are recommending council force local developers to put in two and three bedroom units in their buildings.

Councillor Kerry Jang is not surprised it’s come to this. “It’s taken a bit of time to get the development industry on side because they had concerns about it. Prior to that, everybody just wanted condos, condos, condos — everyone went condo crazy. Now, everyone wants rentals because we know over 50 per cent of Vancouverites rent and there’s just not enough places to rent, period.”

He admits it took a while to get to this point and he feels like we can learn a thing or two from other cities. “Whether it be Tokyo, Hong Kong or wherever — where families do live in apartments, they do have two, three, and four-bedroom units available. It’s normal over there. It should normal here too.”

Since 1991, only five per cent of housing units added in the city have had three bedrooms, despite the fact nearly 70 per cent of families asked say that’s the type of housing they’re looking for. They add that when they can find a large enough unit, it’s a luxury style property which doesn’t fit their budget.

Census data shows only 100 new families settled in Vancouver between 2006 and 2011.

The staff’s presentation and report to council comes as the city considers mandating the number of two and three bedroom units in new developments.