Municipal Elections – Will The Metro Vancouver Mayors And Councilors Deliver On Their Housing Promises?

The highly anticipated municipal elections are over. The ballot boxes have shown that people want change as more than three dozen incumbent mayors throughout the province were defeated, including the mayors of Vancouver and Surrey.

Increased housing unaffordability and lack of supply was a key platform of all the parties, and now the elections are over, it will be interesting to see how the lofty promises will be fulfilled. Notable will be how newly elected mayor of Vancouver, Ken Simm will try and bring about the real change that is needed. The city has been struggling for the last few decades to meet the increased demand with adequate affordable supply.

As of September 2022, the benchmark price for a home in Metro Vancouver sits at $1.15 million – one of the highest of any city in Canada. Rents for one and two bedroom apartments have ballooned across the city, with the average rent of a one-bedroomed apartment priced at $2,590 per month – more than $500 above the national average.

Both the mayor of Vancouver and Surrey which is currently the fastest growing city in Metro Vancouver, have promised to increase the housing supply in their respective cities.

Vancouver will need at least 50,000 additional homes within the next decade and Surrey will require 41,200 more units by 2031. Both newly elected mayors have promised to cut the red-tape and permit backlogs in order to hasten the building process. According to newly elected mayor, permit delays have made Vancouver the least affordable city in North America.

His ”3-3-3-1” program is an ambitious one:

  • 3 days to approve home renovations
  • 3 weeks to approve single family homes, townhomes
  • 3 months to approve mid-rise multi family buildings
  • 1 year for high rises

Not everyone is optimistic that the newly elected politicians will be able to deliver adequately on their promises. They will need to foster cordial relationships and partnerships with the provincial government, as the latter controls the financial purse strings.

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