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Vancouver developers turn to rental as home ownership climbs out of reach for many

By Jen St Denis for The Star Vancouver

Metro Vancouver’s high rents provide incentive to build new rental units, but come with the risk of public backlash.

VANCOUVER—For 30 years in Metro Vancouver, the condo has been king, a lucrative form of real estate development that pretty much replaced a 1970s and 80s-era boom in rental apartment buildings.

But as the region continues to struggle with a housing affordability crisis, real estate developers now say rental projects are increasingly sharing space with condos in their project portfolios.

“We always have one or two rental projects on the go, but at the moment we have half a dozen rental projects,” said Jason Turcotte, vice-president of Cressey Development Group.

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“As a percentage of our overall makeup it hasn’t been this high in many, many years,” he said.

Abdul Jiwan, president of Redbrick Properties, said his company has always focused on acquiring rental buildings to manage. “But more recently, we’ve found it makes more sense to build new (rental buildings).”

One factor behind the trend is the incentives, such as extra density, fee waivers or relaxed parking requirements, that several municipalities have started to offer to developers who build rental.

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