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Horgan says improved housing is his top focus in BC's next budget

(iStock Photo)

The Legislative session will resume in February

The premier feels low vacancy could potentially hurt the local high-tech industry

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – It’s been one of the most talked about topics in the Lower Mainland for months. Now, Premier John Horgan says providing more affordable housing is his top priority and will be a prominent feature in next February’s budget.

Horgan says housing was the major issue in last spring’s provincial election and data released this week from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. indicates little has changed, with near zero rental vacancy rates across BC.

“Housing is the number one issue on my desk right now. We are going to have a comprehensive plan rolled out in our February budget with respect to increasing supply so there are more units.”

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He adds the lack of rental units and family homes hurts the economy because people will not move to a new city if there are no places to live, no matter how solid the job offer. “Zero vacancy rates in our major cities makes it increasingly difficult for industry and particularly high-tech industries to attract new workers if they can’t find a place to live.”

Horgan says the government’s budget will include initiatives to increase the supply of two- and three-bedroom units.

The BC NDP has promised to build 114,000 new rental, non-profit and co-op housing units over a 10-year period.

The CMHC says rental vacancy rates in cities in BC are among the lowest in Canada and the province has the highest monthly rents.