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 considered removing the minimum unit size regulations for multi-unit residential developments throughout the City (no minimum unit sizes currently exist in the downtown already) to improve the diversity of housing options in the City.
Status: Council has directed staff to create a standard unit size in multi-unit zones outside the downtown of 33m2, and to tie future requests for micro-units in these areas to housing affordability. A new public hearing date will be scheduled in the coming months.

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: A public hearing date is expected to be set before the end of April 2017.

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 are currently 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 proposing ways to make it easier for homeowners to build secondary suites by changing requirements in zoning, including removing a prohibition on making exterior changes prior to or after developing a suite. 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.

At this time, only one rental suite is permitted in any single family house, however, Council has directed staff to explore multiple rental suites and secondary suites in more intensive forms of housing as a part of neighbourhood planning currently underway.

Status: Bylaw readings and a public hearing will be scheduled soon. Staff are discussing variations on secondary suites that remain prohibited and are not contemplated by this change (more than one suite, a garden suite and a secondary suite together, secondary suites on small lots, and others) at neighbourhood planning events.