Housing Strategy

Improving Housing Affordability in Victoria!

Victoria's Housing Strategy, 2016 - 2025 [PDF - 918 KB] is the City's plan for how to improve housing affordability over the next decade.

Tell us what you think

Send us your questions, comments or great ideas to communityplanning@victoria.ca. Your feedback will be included in reports to Council.

Did you know?

  • Victoria's population grew from 63,800 in 1981 to 80,000 in 2011
  • Victoria anticipates an additional 20,000 residents by 2041
  • 59% of Victoria households are rented (compared to 51% in Vancouver and 34% regionally)
  • The current vacancy rate in Victoria is 0.6% - one of the lowest in the country
  • Affordable housing means housing that costs no more than 30% of household income before tax
  • There are an estimated 1,500 homeless people in the Region
  • Victoria needs an additional 13,500 apartment units and 2,700 ground floor homes by 2041

Victoria Housing Strategy

Victoria is committed to improving housing affordability in the City.  The Victoria Housing Strategy contains 26 ambitious actions the City will be taking to do this, which fall under three main strategic directions:

  1. Increase Supply of housing for low to moderate income households

  2. Encourage Diversity of housing types, tenures, and prices across the city and within neighbourhoods

  3. Build Awareness and partnerships for affordable housing through communication, education and advocacy

Read the Victoria Housing Strategy 2016 - 2025 [PDF - 918 KB]

Initiatives

Removing minimum unit sizes: The City is considering removing the minimum unit size regulations for multi-unit residential developments throughout the City (no minimum unit sizes currently exist in the downtown already). This means that more new units can be included in single developments, which can reduce costs for residents.
Status: Bylaw readings scheduled for fall 2016 and a public hearing will be scheduled soon.

Garden Suites: Council has approved in principle removing the rezoning requirement for stand-alone garden suites (also known as carriage or laneway houses). Development permit approvals will be done by staff, meaning homeowners may soon be able to apply to build a garden suite without needing to go before Council or rezone their properties.
Status: Council has given preliminary approval and stakeholder consultation is underway.  Bylaw readings will follow and a public hearing will be scheduled in the new year.

Victoria Housing Reserve Fund: The City has a fund set up to contribute to the construction of affordable housing. 0n November 24 2016, Council approved a new funding structure aimed to increase the number of family units built in Victoria. View the staff presentation here.
Status: Staff will be consulting with stakeholder groups, including the development community and non-profit housing providers, to get feedback on the proposed changes.

Secondary Suites: The City is making it easier for homeowners to build secondary suites by removing regulations that limited certain home owners from building new suites. With these changes, homeowners will now be permitted to make exterior changes to their home, including lifting the building more than 0.6m if required, prior to building a suite. Smaller homes will also now eligible for secondary suites. At this time, only one rental suite remains permitted in any single family development. Staff will also be creating programs and events to assist homeowners in developing legal suites or bringing existing suites into compliance. Read the staff report here.