Vancouver rezones single lots for higher density
September 20, 2023
Vancouver City rendering shows how multiplex units could fit on a detached lot.
On September 15, 2023, the City of Vancouver unanimously approved a plan to rezone nearly every single-family detached house lot in the city to allow for four to six housing units on each site.
But even the City concedes it will result in few or no new rental units, and that townhouse and condos added would likely each cost more than $1.3 million.
A city report estimated that any strata townhomes or condos created with the plan would be priced at about half of the cost of a Vancouver detached house—which is currently $2.7 million according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
City planners and builders say the small scale of the multi-unit buildings allowed make rental development uneconomic—even with the recent waiving of GST on new rental projects.
And, because of sewer limitations, the City plans to cap applications for rezoning to 150 lots per year—possibly lower.
Victoria, B.C., approved a similar plan in January 2023 but, nine months later, not a single-detached house owner has applied to the program. Critics of the plan say that in both Victoria and Vancouver having a floor-space ratio of FSR 1 means the footprint of these multiplexes would be about the same as a detached house resulting in very small new homes.
The B.C. government is releasing a missing-middle-type program later in 2023 that will legislate higher-density zoning for single-family neighbourhoods right across the province, citing a “housing crisis.”