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Pacific Canada  + Multi-residential Housing  | 
B.C. Premier David Eby is projecting that 250,000 new homes will be built over the next decade.

Kahlon Plays Waiting Game on Office Conversions

B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says the province is willing to help investors convert Vancouver office buildings into rental apartments.

“We are certainly open to looking at that for both Victoria and Vancouver,” he told Global News.

But Kahlon is taking a wait-and-see approach as office market dynamics play out.

“I know in Calgary and Edmonton, they are in the 20% [vacancy] range, so it really makes sense there. … But I am not sure how much of a demand there is [in B.C.] at this stage,” he said.

The B.C. government has introduced new legislation designed to create more multi-family rental-housing developments near public transit. Many downtown Vancouver office buildings are located near rapid-transit stations.

But given the high costs associated with office conversions, investors would likely want financial help from the province or city before proceeding.

In the third quarter of 2023, downtown Vancouver office vacancy reached its highest point (11.9%) in almost two decades, according to Colliers. But rents remain elevated.


Inside The Story

B.C. Housing MinistryCity of Vancouver

About Monte Stewart

Monte Stewart serves as Content Director - Canada for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monte provides daily news coverage of major Canadian commercial real estate markets, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. He has written about the real estate sector for various media outlets and Avison Young since the early 2000s. In addition, he has covered sports, general news and business for several leading wire services and publications, including The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, The Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, Research Money, The Daily Oil Bulletin, Natural Gas World and The Toronto Star. Monte is active in his community as a youth basketball coach and raises funds for such charitable causes as Movember.

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