Advocacy Group Ranks Municipalities By Housing Starts Per Estimated Need in Greater Victoria
On Monday morning, Conan O’Dell’s search continued for a place that he and his family can rent to call home.
“Right now, we’re very hopeful about a couple of places,” said O’Dell.
The family’s search began in September when they were told by their landlord that he was moving in. So far, they’ve had no luck finding a place.
“It’s been incredibly draining,” said O’Dell. “It’s the most stressful period of my life without a doubt.”
The Capital Regional District is facing what some are calling a housing crisis. Low supply means rents have increased – that is, if you can even find a place.
According to new census data, it could get worse, says a local advocacy group.
“Overall, the population on southern Vancouver Island is expanding and the island as a whole is expanding,” said Philip MacKellar from Homes For Living.
The recent census data comes as no surprise to Homes For Living, a local housing advocacy group which studies the CRD’s housing shortage.
The group has crunched the latest numbers and compared the number of homes built in each municipality to the estimated annual need in those communities.
The data shows which municipalities are adding to the supply and which are not.
HOMES BUILT COMPARED TO ESTIMATED NEED
“The worst of the worst is in Oak Bay,” said MacKellar.
According to Homes For Living’s data, Oak Bay built 16 per cent of its estimated annual housing need.
Esquimalt came in at 21 per cent, while Saanich barely topped that with 22 per cent.
“So those are the three that are doing the poorest job within the region,” said MacKellar.
Hovering in the middle is Victoria with 51 per cent of new homes built compared to estimated need. Sidney came it at 66 per cent and View Royal was pegged at 84 per cent.
The top three municipalities are Colwood at 85 per cent, Sooke at 92 per cent and Langford, which has become the third fastest growing city in Canada, at a staggering 182 per cent.
“Really, Langford is the only one that is not only pulling its weight, but is pulling the weight of the rest of the region,” said MacKellar.
“Langford is over-supplying right now at 182 per cent,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young. “It’s just because there’s nowhere else to go.”
“Langford is the only place that young families can go and afford to buy a house or get a rental,” he said.
But what about those older municipalities that are lagging behind?
“The challenge that we have as a community is that we’re built out,” said Barb Desjardins, the Mayor of Esquimalt.
“So anytime you want to build and add density, something has to go in order for us to build and add that density,” she said.
Desjardins says more housing is coming to Esquimalt in the coming years, with 2,200 units of housing already approved.
MacKellar says built-out municipalities can still expand their housing inventory. That is done by cutting red tape for developers and changing zoning to add more density, he says.
Late Monday afternoon, relief came for O’Dells family. They got a call from a landlord of one of their prospective rentals. The family says they’ve secured the unit for March 1.