Housing Needs Report

What Is the Housing Needs Report?

The City of North Vancouver’s Housing Needs Report provides current and anticipated housing needs in the City over the next 10 years as identified through statistical analysis and community input. The report findings will be used to inform future community planning and housing initiatives.

Why is the Housing Needs Report Required?

In April 2019, new provincial legislation amended the Local Government Act establishing a requirement for local governments to complete housing needs reports by April 2022 and every five years thereafter. These reports look at a combination of statistical data – from sources such as Statistics Canada, CMHC, BC Housing, and others – and community and stakeholder input to create a comprehensive picture of housing needs in a community.

Project Process

  • Project Launch: April 2021
  • Data Collection: May 2021
  • Stakeholder Engagement & Data Analysis: June-September 2021
  • Draft Housing Needs Report: September-October 2021
  • Final Housing Needs Report: December 2021 

Key Findings

Who Is the City of North Vancouver?

A dynamic City

Like much of the region, the City is growing. With 7,500 new residents and 3,300 new households between 2006 and 2016, the City outpaced regional and provincial growth rates and was the fastest-growing North Shore community. 

A City of renters and owners

The City’s households were split fairly evenly between owners (53%) and renters (47%). By comparison the City’s neighbours in the District of West Vancouver and North Vancouver tended to have more owner households than renters (75% and 79% respectively).

A diverse City

As of 2016, 38% of the City’s residents were immigrants, with nearly one in three residents (31%) identifying as a visible minority. 

An economically diverse City

The median annual household income in the City is $67,119, lower than both other North Shore communities and the region. This is reflective of the higher proportion of renters, who tend to have lower incomes.


The City’s Housing Stock

A dense City

Nearly three out of every four units in the City were multi-family. In 2016, 41% of all units were located in buildings with fewer than 5 storeys, 23% were in buildings that have more than 5 storeys, and an additional 8% of the stock was rowhouses. This also means that units tend to be smaller: only 29% of the City’s stock was three or more bedrooms in size, though owners were much more likely to live in a larger unit. Only 16% of renters, compared to 59% of owners, lived in a three-bedroom unit or larger, indicating a need for more family rental units.

A City with older rental stock

Purpose-built rental in the City accounted for over half (52%) of all rental stock in 2016. However, 83% of these units were built prior to 1980, meaning that they are at risk of redevelopment, despite representing some of the City’s most affordable market rental stock.

Affordable options in the City do not meet demand

The City has 1,021 units of non-market housing with or without supports and 70 shelter beds or transitional housing units. These are not sufficient to meet current core housing needs of the City’s residents, or BC Housing waitlists.


The City’s Current Housing Needs

Affordability is a primary concern for all households, particularly for renters

With over 7,700 households paying more than 30% of their income toward shelter costs, and 4,545 households in core housing need, the City is facing a significant housing crisis. Nearly three out of four households in core housing need are renters (72%), highlighting the importance of a range of affordable options. Seniors, households with only one income earner, recent immigrants and households where at least one person had an activity limitation were more likely to experience core housing need than the general population. An affordability analysis for both owners and renters highlighted the significant gap between median incomes and current housing costs.

Income growth is not keeping pace with the increased cost of housing

Between 2006 and 2016, incomes for renters in the City grew by 12%, while median rent across all unit sizes increased by about 50%. The cost of purchasing an apartment or condominium (the most affordable unit type) grew by nearly 70%, and has increased further since then.


Future Housing Needs

If historical trends continue, the City’s growth will be driven by older residents and small households

The City’s population is projected to grow by approximately 8,100 people over the next 10 years. Older adults (65 years or older) are projected to be the largest growing segment of the population. Households are projected to trend smaller if they follow historical trends, meaning that the majority of new units would be two bedroom or smaller. Affordability will continue to be an issue unless a diversity of both ownership and rental units across a variety of affordability levels are provided.

The City will continue to need both ownership and rental options

The total number of households is projected to increase by 4,655 new households; 2,761 of these are projected to be owners and 1,894 renter households.

Projections are not prescriptive

Changes to land use, development patterns, affordability, and other factors that influence residents’ housing choices will impact what kinds of new residents the City attracts. Changes to housing policies will impact growth trends in a way that these figures, based as they are on historical trends, do not account for.


Overview of Key Needs

The findings of the Housing Needs Report highlight a number of key needs in the City. These are summarized briefly below and discussed in greater detail in Part 6 of the Report.

Affordable Housing

There is a pressing need to develop a range of affordable housing options at varying levels of affordability for both renters and owners in order to address the growing gap between median incomes and housing costs.

Rental Housing

The City has a need for a range of new purpose-built rental options that match the income diversity of the community, particularly to support renting single-income households. 

Housing for Seniors

Housing that allows seniors to age in place is a current priority, and will continue to become more pressing. Housing that incorporates adaptable and accessible design and provides opportunities for wrap-around supports will allow seniors to remain in the community.

Housing for Families

The small size of many units in the City highlights the importance of more family-sized units in multi-family forms of housing for both rentals and ownership.  There is also a need for greater supports for lone-parent households and women fleeing domestic violence. 

Housing for Indigenous Households

The neighbouring Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations highlighted the need for more housing options both on and off reserve. To support this, there is a need for a greater understanding of Indigenous resident’s housing needs through continued relationship building with the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations, as well as with the City’s urban Indigenous population. 

Special Needs Housing

The lack of supports for individuals with special needs highlights the importance of more wrap-around supports within existing and new housing developments to assist seniors, people with disabilities, and vulnerable youth.


There is a clear need for more supportive housing developments that service a range of individuals experiencing and at risk of homelessness and a need for further advocacy to senior levels of government to address this issue.



Read the Housing Needs Report

Learn more and download the full Housing Needs Report.

Contact Us

If you have questions about this project, please email CommunityPlanning@cnv.org.

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