Five trends that will shape real estate in Metro Vancouver

By 2041, more than 1.2 million more residents will move to the Metro Vancouver area, bringing our population to 3.4 million residents.


To accommodate these newcomers, we’ll need more than 574,000 new housing units according to Metro Vancouver data.


Given Metro Vancouver’s geographical constraints – the North Shore mountains, the Pacific Ocean, the US border, and protected agricultural land to the east – how will this shape our communities?


To find out, we asked urban design specialist Bob Ransford, who has spent the last 24 years tackling complex urban development and land use challenges.


Here are the five trends he believes will shape real estate in Metro Vancouver in the next decade. 



Transit oriented development (TOD): increased density around transit lines and stations will occur if the TransLink referendum passes. Micro-suites of 250 sq. ft. with common areas for dining and fitness will become more popular with Millennials who live more in the street and in coffee shops and are used to sharing cars, rides and space. TOD reduces traffic, energy consumption and our carbon footprint. If the TransLink vote is no, TOD development will halt. 






Small-scale density: to maximize land use and reduce building and infrastructure costs, we’ll see more small detached energy-efficient homes, cottages and multi-family units on small lots in pocket neighbourhoods. This increases affordability, lets younger families move into neighbourhoods and lets seniors stay in neighbourhoods.






Social purpose such as real estate owned by faith-based groups and other non-profits: we’ll see more development of property owned by places of worship, often located on prime real estate. Congregations increasingly want to use land more efficiently to build affordable housing and are not interested in making a profit. Developments will include smaller, affordable apartments.






Maker Spaces: a new trend that preserves industrial areas by combining light industry, for example, artisan manufacturing, with residential. Cities are economic growth engines and this new mixed-use zoning encourages industry which doesn’t produce noxious fumes or use heavy equipment in residential areas, helping jobs stay close to home. Examples includeMakerLabs on Kingsway which rents laser cutters, routers, 3D scanners and printers, industrial sewing machines and woodworking tools.






Changes in tenure: fee simple, strata tenure and co-housing ownership will be joined by new types of shared ownership that helps promote small-scale density. Legislation will change to allow property owners to build and sell laneway homes and basement suites, which are presently only allowed as rentals.

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