Manitoba's Rental Housing Shortage 03-01-11

When WinnipegREALTORS® hears that Vancouver , Toronto and Calgary are ranked first, fourth and fifth respectively as the most livable cities in the world, we ask ourselves what do we need to do to make Winnipeg a more livable city so it can garner positive accolades other Canadian cities are getting internationally. One weakness we have clearly identified is the lack of rental accommodation in our city and throughout Manitoba. In fact, our rental universe has been shrinking despite population growth increases and demand for more housing units as a result of smaller household sizes.

What can we do about it? Thanks to the hard work and effort of some experienced REALTORS® who have had real life experience in the workings of our rental housing market and also know first hand the impact of the lowest rental vacancy rate in the country on resale housing, a discussion paper has been produced. It not only identifies problems but attempts to put forward a number of solutions. Far from being the final word on this subject or arriving at definitive answers, this paper should at minimum cause all housing stakeholders to realize we need to address the rental shortage with a greater sense of urgency and action.

Moreover, we should be coming together in a collaborative way to develop solutions that can work for Manitoba. It is about fairness and equity for all participants involved in the provision of housing in an effort to ameliorate a situation that has gone on far too long without any meaningful change or improvement. The end goal has to be a better and healthier functioning housing market that is more responsive and effective at creating more housing supply.

With plans over the next few years for a significant increase in immigration, the question we all have to ask ourselves is where are these new Manitobans going to live?

Thanks in particular go to Mel Boisvert, who headed up the committee responsible for producing this discussion paper. Other committee members include Helmet Baldes, Harry Logan, Claudia Sarbit, Pat Stecy and Rob Hutchison. Credit too goes to local housing researcher Colin Wolfe who was hired over the summer of 2010 to help research this topic. While far from exhaustive given time and resource constraints, effort was made to gain different insights and perspectives outside of the REALTOR® association itself.

Finally, a special thank you to WinnipegREALTORS® staff Peter Squire and Shaila Wise.

Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is the longest running real estate association in the country with 1600 members. It prides itself in providing its members with the best tools possible to be successful in helping buyers and sellers with the most important transaction in their lifetime. The real estate industry association is also committed to creating a policy environment and economic climate where the City of Winnipeg can prosper and offer a quality of life second to none for its citizens.

Please download the full 37-page PDF file to read this entire discussion paper.

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