While there has been significant media focus on the income dimensions published as part of the latest National Household Survey (NHS) release, much less attention has been given to the data on changes in our housing stock. In fact, the latest NHS data reveal a renaissance in British Columbia’s rental dwelling stock—a trend that warrants further unravelling and discussion.
In British Columbia as a whole, the number of occupied rental dwellings grew by 31,000 units between 2006 and 2011. This 6.3 percent growth in the rental stock contrasts the 3.6 percent decline seen in the preceding five years (2001-2006). Relative to other Canadian provinces, BC’s rental growth put it in the middle of the pack: Newfoundland saw the most rapid growth in rental accommodation (11.7 percent), while Manitoba sat at the other end of the spectrum with a 0.5 percent decline.
Of the 31,000 additional occupied rental units in BC, 87 percent were added in metropolitan regions. Rental accommodation in the Kelowna CMA grew by a whopping 17.2 percent and in the Victoria CMA by 4.4 percent. (Meanwhile the Abbotsford-Mission CMA’s rental stock declined by 1.8 percent.) The Vancouver CMA, with more rental units than any of BC’s other metropolitan regions, saw its rental stock grow by almost eight percent, faster than the provincial average.
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