What's Next for Housing Policy?
"Housing is the main priority for this government." The Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, certainly caught BCREA's attention with that statement!
Minister Robinson joined reps from BCREA and the regional real estate boards on January 31 for a discussion about challenges and opportunities with housing affordability and availability.
On the demand side, the BC Government is looking to address real estate speculation and ways to improve transparency around foreign capital. Ms. Robinson made the clear point that both demand and supply have to be considered, and the government has already committed to 114,000 new affordable rental, non-profit and co-op units over the next ten years, with several recent announcements about modular housing and affordable rental units around the province.
As well as hearing from the Minister, we had the chance to talk about what's happening on the ground. These common themes emerged:
- Recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Act seem to give more rights to tenants than landlords, and could result in fewer units available for rent.
- Incentives are needed for investors to build rental housing.
- Legalizing secondary suites with a focus on safety and minimal bureaucracy will create more supply and help owners with affordability.
- Transportation has a direct connection to Quality of Life and housing.
- Infrastructure investments are critical to increasing housing supply.
- Faster permit approvals in many local governments are needed.
- Increase density along transit corridors.
- Counter NIMBYism by focusing on fair housing and the benefits of diverse neighbourhoods.
We look forward to more conversations with Minister Robinson, and to the provincial housing strategy, which is expected to roll out with the BC Budget in February.
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