In an echo of the situation in the UK private rented sector marketplace, authorities in Vancouver and other Canadian municipalities are working out how to encourage the delivery of new homes for rental.
In contrast with the UK, the has a strong bedrock of private rental housing, which a range of government programmes helped to deliver in past years. However, as the subsidies and programmes dried up, so did those investors taking advantage of them. The result is too little supply in recent decades; and as Michael Geller points out in an article in the Vancouver Courier, in parts of Vancouver, “not one new purpose-built rental building has been constructed in over 40 years”.
Like the Brits, Canadians have traditionally dreamed of owning their own homes, he says: and as in the UK, this dream holds less allure for younger generations, for a variety of reasons. Interestingly, one fear in Canada is that rising prices cannot be sustained, making a home not such a great investment – this is encouraging older generations to rent, rather than buy.
Vancouver is “succeeding in its efforts to increase supply,” says Geller. The authorities are trying a range of incentives including density bonuses, parking reductions, reduced municipal fees and fast-tracking of applications.
Several of those active in the growth of the professional private rented sector have called for planning concessions to help encourage investment in the sector. If these strategies are working in Canada, are they worth considering here in the UK?