Balanced Supply in Housing 

Community Housing Canada

at home in the north

people, places, policies, prospects

Balanced Supply in Housing

aging in the right place

Balanced Supply in Housing

Principal Investigator

Dr. Penny Gurstein, University of British Columbia

Housing for Canada’s population has reached crisis proportions in many parts of the country, especially in major urban centres, with rampant homelessness and significant mismatches between the cost of housing and average incomes. We will help reduce these problems by convening a critical mass of interdisciplinary academics and multi-sectoral partners from throughout Canada’s housing sectors. Our Node will produce cutting-edge research and mobilize knowledge to support policy decision-making at all levels of government, including for the NHS, thereby bridging gaps between research evidence and housing outcomes.

Our examination of the balanced supply of housing will be guided by four overarching questions. Does the housing system have:

  1. The right balance of housing tenures (i.e. rent, ownership, co-op, social, etc.)?
  2. The right balance of built form and location (i.e. sub/urban, apartment, townhome, detached)?
  3. The right balance of cost and type relative to local earnings (versus outside investment or short-term rental demand)?
  4. What evidence is there that any current (im)balances in housing markets affect population health, demographic engagement and/or economic stability?

Our Node will integrate theoretical frames from health, indigenous studies, economics, and community planning and root these frameworks in feminist gender and community-based research principles. We will rely on a combination of methods informed by our various disciplines, including quantitative and spatial data analysis, econometric modeling, health in all policies analysis, qualitative and ethnographic methods of participatory action and field work, along with innovative public participation and design research methods. Our research questions and team are designed to both generate and mobilize knowledge through community research co-creation. Our knowledge mobilization activities will be guided by the Advocacy Coalition Framework, which has been implemented and refined by one of our lead community partners.

Our team will begin gaps analyses that explore the current housing supply — across tenure, built form, cost, and demand type — to assess current and future needs of res idents in major urban areas within BC, Ontario and Quebec, with the intention to extend to other provinces and smaller communities in subsequent years.

Our team will set up partnerships in the next year to explore land trusts or leases, purpose-built rental, more sustainable and appropriate secondary rental, co-ops, indigenous land tenure. social and supportive housing, public and non-profit housing, and community housing. We will begin to assemble an annotated database of policy options, which will be a living document that we update with future phases of the Node’s activity.

In light of rising prices in Canada’s most desirable cities, numerous policies have been enacted at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels to attack supply and demand forces deemed to cause high prices. Where feasible, we will assess the impacts of these policies by evaluating quasi-experiments and case studies stemming from policy changes that affect some but not all jurisdictions, or differences in policies/practices between like jurisdictions, so that we can deploy methods that isolate cause from correlation.