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Excessive red tape stifling new homebuilding: report

Last Updated Apr 27, 2017 at 7:38 am PST

(iStock photo)

Experts look at which cities are making it hard for homebuilders

Another complicated layer of Metro Vancouver's housing crisis highlighted in new report

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s no secret that the law of supply and demand is a big factor fanning the flames of the affordability crisis in Metro Vancouver and a new report identifies which local cities have the tightest bottlenecks for homebuilders.

“We looked at a variety of forms of obstruction, things that would hinder home construction in the Lower Mainland,” explains Kenneth Green, senior director of natural resource studies at the Fraser Institute. “That would be things like the compliance cost of getting permits, the length of time it takes to get a permit to build, how often rezoning is required, the length of time that takes and whether there is opposition to new building from community groups and local city councils in order to find out what’s preventing supply from not meeting demand and driving up prices.”

The report — entitled New Homes and Red Tape in British Columbia: Residential Land-Use Regulation in the Lower Mainland — highlights a broad disparity between jurisdictions.

“Compliance costs for a new home in Surrey are about $52,000. In Vancouver it’s about $72,000. The length of time it takes to get a permit approved in Richmond is six-and-a-half months. In Vancouver it is 21 months,” Green tells NEWS 1130.

But when the right wing policy group looked at overall trends, it found there were some clear winners and losers for home builders. “It’s hardest to build in Vancouver, with the second-hardest being West Vancouver. The best in grade — where it’s easiest to build — would be Langley City and Pitt Meadows, followed by New Westminster and Port Moody,” he explains.

Green has some recommendations for municipalities where builders face longer delays. “They need to look at the policies and procedures of the places where they are having an easier time — less red tape — and seek to emulate the regulations of their neighbours that are successfully attracting new home building.”

Fraser Institute’s red tape rankings (least regulated at the top):

1 City of Langley
2 Pitt Meadows
3 New Westminster
4 Port Moody
5 Port Coquitlam
6 Chilliwack
7 Delta
8 Mission
9 Abbotsford
10 Burnaby
11 Maple Ridge
12 District of North Vancouver
13 City of North Vancouver
14 Coquitlam
15 Richmond
16 Langley Township
17 Surrey
18 West Vancouver
19 Vancouver