British Columbia registered a grand total of 14,546 new purpose-built rental homes in 2022, according to BC Housing's New Homes Registry Report, published on Thursday.
That number is a new record for the province, after registering 13,130 rental homes in 2021, following a pandemic-influenced low of 8,778 in 2020. Prior to 2019 when 13,262 rentals were registered, the number had never surpassed 10,000 and, in fact, was under 3,000 every year from 2014 back to 2002.
The growth is a positive, except the province also added a record amount of "Homes in Multi-unit Buildings with Home Warranty Insurance"-- BC Housing's term which includes condominiums, as well as non-rental townhouses and semi-detached homes.
A total of 27,824 such homes were registered this past year, a new record that was slightly higher than the 27,763 registered in 2021. With the exception of the pandemic-affected 2020, every year since 2016 has registered over 20,000.
Although it's not clear how many of the 27,824 homes in multi-unit buildings were condos, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation notes that in Vancouver, where the majority of new homes were built, condos and semi-detached homes "normally represents a small share of total starts." (Although they did note that these starts doubled in the first half of 2022.)
Enrolled new homes + purpose-built rentals = registered new homes. (BC Housing)
A total of 9,037 single-detached homes were added last year, bringing the total number of homes registered in 2022 to 51,407, which BC Housing notes is a 2.5% decrease compared to 2021.
However, that was skewed by registrations for single-detached homes decreasing 23.7%, meanwhile registrations for homes in multi-unit buildings increased by 3.6%.
Despite the City of Vancouver's push to redevelop single-detached residential areas to increase density -- as seen in the Oakridge neighbourhood -- Vancouver still registered the most single-detached homes in the province, with 731, followed by Surrey, at 698. Both totals, however, had fallen by more than 250 compared to the amount registered in 2021.
This 2022 data reflects the province's recent push for more rentals, but last year's gains likely still aren't enough.
Statistics Canada data published in September revealed that Canada's population of renters is growing at double the rate of homeowners. The Government of Canada has set lofty immigration targets, which will further add to the population of renters. And with British Columbia being the second-most popular province for international students, most of whom also rent, the market will be tight.
Several recent actions have been taken in hopes of turning the tide. Previous bans of rentals in strata condos have now been outlawed, potentially opening up more rental homes. And on Thursday, the Province announced the creation of a new $500M fund to protect rental buildings, shielding them from being acquired by investors to be redeveloped into condos.
All of this is to say: British Columbia has taken steps in the right direction, but there may still be plenty of catching up to do.