the rennie landscape - Q3 2019


05. housing

After lagging its peers in per capita completions for much of the past two decades, Metro Vancouver has surged ahead.


A key feature of successful economic development is the existence of an adequate supply of housing. Without enough housing, or the right type of housing, it becomes that much more difficult to attract the workers (and their families) needed to fuel the evolution and growth of regional economies. This has long been a challenge in Metro Vancouver, with the overall lack of housing and accordingly high cost of homes serving to hinder the ability of firms big and small to add talent to their workforces, all the way from the C-suite to the front line. Good news, then, that in Metro Vancouver the number of monthly housing completions per capita has been increasing since 2011— slowly at first, and more rapidly since 2016, pushing the rate to 887 completions per 1,000 people most recently. This is 18%

above Calgary, 20% above Edmonton, and a whopping 73% higher than in Toronto. In fact, Metro Vancouver’s per capita completions have continuously exceeded its peers’ levels for the past year amd a half. For this region, the current rate of completions per capita is at its highest level in the past 20 years. With the sales of many new developments being delayed (and a few even being cancelled) over the past year, expect Vancouver’s per capita completions rate to slide. For a region with near-minimum levels of unemployment and rental vacancy, this will pose a challenge for continued economic growth. Needless to say, provincial and local governments should be focused on ensuring a continued flow of new housing supply.


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