WATCH: As Greater Victoria continues to struggle with record low vacancy rates, one community is fast-tracking permits to build new rental units. New data shows construction began on nearly 400 new units in Langford in August alone. Luisa Alvarez reports.
It’s hard to miss while driving around in Langford, but construction is clearly booming.
The good news is that, according to the latest Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) numbers, a lot of the construction you see will help meet a much-needed demand: rental housing.
“We are treading in the right direction from our perspective it’s very exciting,” said David Hutniak, executive director with Landlord BC.
Reed Kipp with Devon Properties says its very clear fewer and fewer people can afford to buy.
“Affordability is causing rentals to become more in vogue and what people are looking for. We finished last month with under ten units available out of our 5,500, so you can see the demand,” said Kipp.
Developers have had to shift their focus from single-family detached homes and condos to rental properties, especially in Langford.
The difference between the number of rental units the City of Langford is building compared to every other municipality is staggering.
CHMC numbers show in the month of August, 387 rental units were built in Langford. The next closest municipality was Saanich at six, followed by the City of Victoria where four were built. In Sooke and Sidney, there were two, Metchosin and Highlands at one. Central Saanich, Colwood, and Esquimalt didn’t build any.
Kipp says those numbers don’t surprise him.
“From our dealings with various municipalities across Greater Victoria, Langford definitely seems to be fast-tracking rental development properties more so than other municipalities,” said Kipp.
And while many of new builds are market value, the City of Langford requires the developer to pay $1,000 for each unit built, That money then goes into an affordable housing fund and the money from the fund is used to waive fees for developers as incentives to build affordable units.
“Cities and municipalities have huge control over the building of purpose-built rental,” said Hutniak.