Opinion: Thoughtful housing pipeline is crucial ahead of Metro Vancouver’s population increase
Written for Daily Hive Urbanized by Jacky Chan, President of Vancouver-based real estate sales and marketing agency BakerWest.
Metro Vancouver is expected to welcome more than one million additional residents by 2050, according to a recent detailed planning report to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board of Directors.
The report predicts that 3.8 million people will live in Metro Vancouver over the next 30 years. This means that approximately 35,000 newcomers will arrive in our region each year.
Part of this growth will undoubtedly come from Hong Kong, where approximately 300,000 Canadians reside. As the political and rights situation deteriorates for many, given China’s interventions in politics, law and human rights, many Canadians in Hong Kong will begin to return to Canada in the coming years, which will increase the already increasing population growth here.
These demographic shifts are a blessing and also a challenge, but a challenge that solution-oriented housing planning, development and marketing efforts can help address. It is crucial for our community to welcome newcomers, while maintaining a pipeline of new housing projects and community plans that contribute to a balanced housing ecosystem to keep up with the growing population and changing housing needs of our people. multicultural residents.
The Vancouver market, i.e. city planners, developers, builders, home buyers and sellers, should now prepare to successfully tap the growing demand for housing in Metro Vancouver over the course of the next few years.
To do this, developers and planners should organize various types of housing according to the needs and wants of future home buyers in Vancouver, assessing the type of housing required among the different income baskets.
Cascading density with optimal services and connectivity
It is time to step up efforts to develop neighborhoods that function well and offer a mix of housing types and amenities that create a balanced mix of housing, services, commerce and leisure.
Vancouver’s Norquay Village neighborhood center plan, approved by council 11 years ago, now shows the results of thoughtful planning and development efforts to increase various affordable housing options, density, commerce, spaces audiences and the fabric of the neighborhood.
The plan prevents rezoning and permits for mixed-use residential and commercial towers along the Kingsway corridor, while facilitating low-rise four-story condominiums one block away in the neighborhood, which then spill over into a mix of homes in row, triplex and duplex on interior residential streets.
This type of change is happening in the neighborhood with a mix of new stores, services and public amenities emerging on Kingsway. The area is well served by daycares, a public school and a SkyTrain station. The first results are a thriving neighborhood with more new homes, new parents, children and activities than in the past decades.
It is one thing to develop a holistic and functional area plan, it is quite another to ensure that the permissions and development follow the set path. The plan for the village of Norquay should be replicated as much as possible elsewhere in town, east and west.
There are other examples of regional neighborhoods that show how thoughtful planning over time can lead to increased density in the places people want to live. The Olympic Village, Main Street and Mount Pleasant, Brentwood, Surrey Central and Metrotown are all in various stages of emergence as neighborhoods with a functional and diverse mix of homes, businesses, workspaces, services and of amenities.
Economic recovery relies on immigration
To help push and pull Canada through the economic woes of the pandemic, the federal government said last fall it was targeting 1.2 million new immigrants to Canada over the next three years.
We have to break the assumption that all or most immigrants are here for luxury real estate and investment. In fact, newcomers to Canada, like all Canadians, represent a representative sample of homebuyers with a wide variety of motivations and spending abilities. Most newcomers seek safe, secure, affordable and conveniently located homes for their families.
Immigrants also have a strong propensity to start businesses, and immigrant entrepreneurs are creating and will continue to create businesses and jobs for their fellow Canadians at a time when job creation and economic growth are critical.
It will be up to our local governments, land buyers, real estate developers and housing marketing agencies to ensure that we have the ideal housing ecosystem that works for everyone.