Smarter regulation, better information and transit accessibility are three key things that local governments need to focus on to tackle housing affordability issues in Greater Vancouver.

The measures are among seven that have been identified by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in a new report which says that unaffordable housing is harming businesses’ ability to attract workers to the region, and therefore the economy.

“We urgently need to increase housing supply and introduce new kinds of housing options if we hope to attract 25- to 35-year-olds to our region — a key demographic that will drive our economy in the near future,” said the board’s president and CEO Iain Black.

The report says that the ‘Missing Middle’ – people priced out of the Greater Vancouver housing market – include new families, middle-income earners, seniors, and empty-nesters.

Other measures called for in the report include use density bonus zoning to encourage diversity and density; speeding up development times for those offering social housing; and an accreditation program to allow professionals to fast-track processes.

“Local governments are the key drivers of this conversation, because they control development policy and land-use policy — in other words, what gets built and where it gets built,” says Black. “With a million more people expected to move here in the next two decades, it’s urgent that we start thinking outside the box, pursue new ways to increase density, and unlock housing supply across our region.”

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