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B.C. mayors call for diverse housing supply, new ownership options

More rental housing, coops, among the recommendations
UBCM Housing
The UBCM released its 2018 housing strategy document "A Home for Everyone" on February 1.

Taxing real estate speculators, creating more diverse housing supply, accelerating construction of rental homes and adopting alternate routes into homeownership are just some of the 32 recommendations issued by Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) in its new housing strategy document, released February 1.

In addition to supporting the provincial government’s goal of building 114,000 social housing units over the next 10 years, the union of municipal leaders had a host of suggestions aimed at “mitigating the impact of foreign and domestic speculation; and preventing homelessness.”

“For many British Columbians, there is an extreme disconnect between housing prices and income,” said Wendy Booth, UBCM president. “This gap is unprecedented and demonstrates the enormous impact of speculative demand on B.C. housing market. To reverse our current course of unaffordability, we need an evidence-based approach to manage demand through stronger taxation policy and better data collection.”

As well as demand-side measures, the strategy’s 32 recommendations suggest ways of “diversifying housing supply through accelerated construction of rental housing, co-ops and other alternatives to home ownership.”

“The factors that have created the current lack of affordability and levels of homelessness are complex, so our solutions need to be equally complex,” said Greg Moore, Mayor of Port Coquitlam. “Our aim through this strategy is to focus the current discussion of housing policy on effective actions that can be implemented now. The challenge is great, but with all levels of government working together we can turn the corner and ensure everyone has a home.”