BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC Rental Housing Need To Grow Sharply

09/22/2012 02:08 EDT | Updated 11/22/2012 05:12 EST
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The demand for rental housing in British Columbia is projected to grow by 36 per cent over the next 25 years, according to a report by the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association.

The report says that 150,000 to 200,000 new rental units will be needed across the province by 2036.

The biggest growth is predicted in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Squamish-Lillooet area.

Seniors account for about half the projected growth in rental demand, says association research director Jill Atkey.

"Just by their sheer numbers into the future, they're really driving the growth for rental demand in the province," Atkey said.

The association says the need for subsidized, or what it calls "social housing," is growing even faster — up to 43 per cent over the next 25 years.

It says waitlists for social housing are already long, and government subsidies are set to expire.

"Seventy-five per cent of operating agreements that non-profit housing providers currently operate under are going to expire by 2030,” said Atkey. “There is the potential that housing units will be at risk."

The association is calling on all levels of government, as well as private sector rental providers, to sit down and agree a plan.

The B.C. Housing Ministry did not respond Friday to a CBC News request for comment on the report.

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