COQUITLAM, B.C., March 1, 2022 – Coquitlam’s new draft Housing Needs Report is providing critical data for future community planning while confirming that the City’s efforts to encourage rental housing are on the right track.
Coquitlam recently completed its draft Housing Needs Report, mandated and funded by the B.C. Government to determine existing and anticipated future needs in the City. Based on extensive analysis of data and community input, the report will help guide future City housing policy and be considered when amending the Citywide Official Community Plan.
Data to Guide Future Planning
In April 2019, the B.C. Government amended the Local Government Act to require all local governments to develop a Housing Needs Report by April 2022, with funding provided to complete this work.
Coquitlam’s draft Housing Needs Report paints a comprehensive picture of the community’s housing needs, based on data from Statistics Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, BC Housing and other sources, as well as community and stakeholder input. That data will continue to be updated this year as new Census data becomes available. Public engagement last year included survey feedback from more than 400 residents, online and written feedback from City advisory committees and stakeholder focus groups, and detailed first-person accounts from six residents.
Overall, the report shows that Coquitlam – like municipalities across the region – needs more housing to meet the anticipated growth in the community, and is responding through strong community plans, efficient development approvals and policy changes. Coquitlam is actively working to create thousands of new market, below- and non-market rental units to the community through its innovative Housing Affordability Strategy.
Key findings from the report showed:
- A need for more family-sized rental units and affordable family-sized units;
- Forty per cent of households spend a disproportionate amount of their income on housing, pointing to a significant need for greater affordability and rental supply;
- Housing options suited for seniors are required across the housing spectrum;
- Immigrants and non-permanent residents are most likely to be in core housing need and at risk of homelessness; and
- Over half the students seeking rental housing had trouble finding it near Douglas College.
Additional Insights Gained
The findings describe Coquitlam as a fast-growing community with an aging population, diverse immigrant community, and larger households and more families with children than the regional average.
While 72 per cent of Coquitlam residents live in homes they own, the percentage of renters is increasing at twice the rate as the rest of the region. Additionally, renters in the City tend to have lower incomes than owners, and lone-parent families and people living alone have the lowest incomes.
In terms of the City’s housing stock, housing types are trending toward more multi-family living (e.g. high-rises, mid-rises and townhomes) and away from single-family homes.
Innovative Strategy Turning the Tide on Rental Supply
Recognizing that housing is one of the major challenges facing the region, Coquitlam adopted a Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) in 2015 to broaden the variety of housing types, sizes, prices and ownership available in Coquitlam by using policies and tools available to municipalities.
As a result of the HAS initiatives, Coquitlam is a leader within Metro Vancouver for the number of purpose-built rental units underway. More than 300 new rental units were completed last year and by the end of 2021, more than 12,200 new rental units (including more than 2,000 below- or non-market units) were in the development approval process.
More information about the HAS can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/housing.
Next Steps for Report
Coquitlam will finalize the Housing Needs Report in the coming weeks and continue to update it with 2021 Census data as it becomes available. In addition, a new report will be completed in five years to assess the progress made and to meet ongoing Provincial requirements.
The final Housing Needs Report will be posted at www.coquitlam.ca/housing this spring.
Director, Community Planning