Proposed Vancouver pilot program aims to address housing for 'missing middle'
A condo building is seen under construction surrounded by houses in Vancouver, B.C., on March 30, 2018. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
VANCOUVER -- A proposed pilot program aimed at creating more housing for the "missing middle" will be debated at Vancouver's next council meeting.
The program was designed to create more affordable housing stock in the city by allowing owners of single-detached houses to sub-divide their homes to create more individual units, provided up to two units are made available for middle-income earners.
"Right now, owning a home in Vancouver in residential neighbourhoods is a faraway dream for middle income households," Stewart said.
According to data from the city, the average price of a detached home in East Vancouver is $1.4 million, meaning just 2.5 per cent of income owners would be able to afford one.
Additionally, 57 per cent of land in Vancouver is zoned for single detached homes, translating into 68,000 such lots across the city.
The new pilot program would allow for up to four market units, two mandatory middle-income units, plus the option of having rental units on a standard lot. It's hoped this new program will help open up the prospect of home ownership to 50 per cent of the city's population.
Stewart says the program will help make home ownership in Vancouver a reality for more people and help build a stock of housing that won't be subject to rising property values and speculation.
The goal is to have 100 homes participate in the pilot project, which would be spread across all neighbourhoods that are currently zoned for single-detached homes.
This would give owners the ability to stratify the property, provided up to two middle-income units are built.
Homeowners who choose to participate in the program would need to pay out of pocket to build the additional units themselves, Stewart said.
The middle-income homes would be guaranteed permanently to affordable households, Stewart says. Those who purchase the so-called affordable unit would need to qualify through showing their previous year's income tax returns and would have a combined income of approximately $80,000.
Any new builds would need to be the same height as they exist today, and would exclude homes that currently have renters. It would also exclude heritage homes.