The number of single family detached homes is rapidly declining in Vancouver. According to the latest Census 2016 numbers from Statistics Canada, more families are moving into multi-family units such as apartments buildings and condos. While the trend is consistent across Canada, Vancouver is one of the few cities where the actual number of single-detached homes is declining, as more get snatched up for land-assemblies.
Total Number of Homes Increased
The total number of homes in Vancouver CMA grew, which isn’t much of a surprise considering the population is growing. The total number of homes rose to 2,135,910, a 7.8% increase from the 2011 Census. To contrast, the population grew to 2.463 million people, a 6.5% increase during the same period. This either means there’s a major change to the structure of families (less people in more homes), or homes are being used as secondary residences.
Detached Homes Are Declining
The biggest statistical loser was the detached home in Vancouver, which saw prices soar at the height of the market last year. In 2016, 282,355 families occupied detached units, a decline of 6.23% from the 2011 Census. The detached decline is not something observed in cities like Toronto, where density is 17% higher. Its unclear if less people live in detached units as more detached homes are now a part of land assemblies waiting to be developed.
In case you aren’t up on your developer lingo, a land assembly is when developers purchase multiple plots of land in one area to create a single site. Currently there are quite a few Vancouver detached houses being sold in groups to form these land assemblies.
High-Rise Apartments Increase
Households are rapidly adopting high-rise living in the city. Census numbers show 160,060 families were in high-rise buildings, aka buildings with more than 5 stories. That’s a massive 23.83% increase from 2011. Love it or not, more Vancouverites are going to have to get use to high-rise living.
Vancouver Homes By Type (2011-2016)
Source: Statistics Canada.
Low-Rise Apartments Increase
The second largest segment of housing is actually low-rise apartments, which have less than five stories. 242,205 Vancouver Census households were located in these, which is a 5.95% increase from 2011. Vancouver has notoriously tight zoning rules so we can probably expect this trend to continue to rise.
Vancouver Change In Home Types (2011-2016)
Source: Statistics Canada.
As more properties are being purchased for land assembly deals, there’s been an premium placed on single family homes, which means the trend of multi-unit housing will likely continue. The real question is, how much more of a premium will people be willing to pay, and will they be able to recoup the value if the market changes?
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Photo via Paul Joseph.