BC Builds to Deliver Thousands More Homes with Canada Contribution

February 23, 2024

BC Builds, the Province’s new initiative to build more housing for people with middle incomes, will benefit from $2 billion in additional financing from the Government of Canada to help deliver thousands more homes that people with middle incomes who live and work in B.C. can afford.

“All levels of government need to work together to solve the housing crisis,” said Premier David Eby. “With the federal government’s contribution and partnership toward BC Builds, we can help build more homes people can actually afford. That’s good news for our economy and for our future, but most importantly it’s good news for British Columbians looking for a decent place to live.”

On Feb. 13, 2024, the Province announced BC Builds, an initiative delivered through BC Housing that leverages government, community and non-profit owned and under-used land to speed up the delivery of housing and help bring costs more in line with what middle-income households earn. All BC Builds projects have a target of middle-income households spending no more than 30% of their income on rent.

“Canada needs more homes that the middle class can afford. That’s what today’s historic partnership with British Columbia is all about,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Our investment, through the BC Builds Program, will use public land to create more affordable housing, bring down the cost of construction and ensure that we build more homes faster so that Canadians – from teachers, to nurses, to construction workers – can afford to stay in the communities where they work.”

In addition to the $2-billion financing from the Government of Canada, BC Builds is supported through an investment of $950 million from the Province to ensure units are available at below-market rates, as well as $2 billion in provincial low-cost construction financing. The BC Builds team will help streamline approvals for projects seeking federal financing to meet the 12-18-month concept-to-construction BC Builds timeline.

BC Builds has established 20 initial sites through partnerships with local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations to support the development of housing for middle-income households throughout the province.

With the federal financing in place and through the 20 initial BC Builds sites, it is anticipated a minimum of between 8,000 and 10,000 homes for people with middle incomes will initially be built over the first five years of the program. The total number of units is expected to grow as more partners and land are secured.

“Teachers, nurses, construction workers and other middle-income people need more housing options in B.C., and with several BC Builds sites identified and dozens of interested partners, we are well on our way to getting the additional housing they need built,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “We are in a housing crisis that requires support from all levels of government. BC Builds will ensure that middle-income housing will get built faster and more in line with what households earn.”

The Province also announced BC Builds’ fourth site, owned by the City of Vancouver, located at 560 Davie St. and 1210 Seymour St. The site will include:

  • A nine-storey concrete building with 112 new co-operative homes for middle-income households in Vancouver.
  • While the BC Builds program has a requirement that a minimum of 20% of units must rent at 20% below market, the Seymour St. project will better that with at least 30% of units to be rented below market. This additional affordability is possible through cost savings provided by the City, as well as federal financing and provincial grants and financing.
  • The building will be located at the corner of Davie and Seymour streets, the last underdeveloped parcel of land in Yaletown. A premium location in downtown Vancouver, the 112 new co-op homes will be located across from Emery Barnes Park near several bus routes.
  • The mixed-use proposed project will include co-op homes of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, and will be safe, secure and permanently affordable. The building will be designed to “passive house” standards, which have high energy efficiency.
  • Construction is expected to begin in summer 2024.

“Middle-income earners are the economic engine of our city. It’s beneficial to all Vancouverites that they have a place to call home in the city where they work,” said Ken Sim, mayor of Vancouver. “The $2-billion of additional funding from the federal government will allow more affordable homes in our city to be built faster and signals that through the partnership of all levels of government, we can tackle the housing crisis.”

The site is in addition to three sites announced on Feb. 13, 2024, comprising more than 400 housing units in the Cowichan Valley, Gibsons and North Vancouver.

BC Builds is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 78,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway throughout B.C., including nearly 8,000 units in Vancouver.

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