Rogers Arena Towers in Vancouver. It’s been 10 years since there was a significant increase in Vancouver’s rental housing stock, but, according to the City of Vancouver, Lotus Land set a record last year for permits for new rental units.

More than 1,000 new rental units were approved in 2012, after zero in 2008 and 2009, and an average of 328 in 2010 and 2011.

“We know from the low vacancy rates that there is huge demand for new rentals, which is why City Hall is focused on getting new rental housing built as a way to address our city’s affordable housing challenge,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson stated in a news release.

Among last year’s newly approved rental units were the 614 apartments at 800 Griffiths Way from Aquilini Development (rendering pictured above), the second largest rental housing project in Vancouver’s history.

The city also had a record year for laneway housing with 250 new permits issued after an average of 146 from 2009 to 2011. In addition, 442 permits for new secondary suites were issued, after an average of 394 from 2009 to 2011.

Despite Vancouver’s swelling rental stock, in some areas of the city, such as South Granville, the vacancy rate is estimated to be as low as 0.7 per cent. The province-wide rate was 3.4 per cent in 2012.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the rent for a one-bedroom purpose-built rental unit in Vancouver is 37 per cent cheaper than renting a one-bedroom condo.

“Without continued construction of new rental housing, Vancouverites will be forced to live farther away from where they work, or leave the city altogether,” stated Robertson.

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