Affordable Housing

Updated: November 2018

The issue of affordable housing in Squamish has emerged rapidly in recent years. Median housing prices in Squamish have risen from just over $600,000 to over $950,000 within the last three years, and the rental vacancy rate in the community has hovered at or below 1% during this same period. Long wait lists exist for all non-profit housing organizations in Squamish and potential homeowners and renters have seen their ability to secure affordable and appropriate housing diminish rapidly.

This situation is related to the increase in housing demand caused by a quick increase in the Squamish population, to the improvements to the Sea-to-Sky Highway 99 that have made it possible to commute to the Lower Mainland for employment and linked local to regional real estate values, and to growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors in the area. The changes in tourism and hospitality also contributed to the number of local residents that earn low to modest incomes, which are typical for this sector.

With over 1/3 of existing renters (over 700 households) spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities, there is a significant demand for affordable housing that is not met by the current supply of housing units.

The District’s work to address this emerging issue began in 2015 with the convening in May of a Housing Task Force which produced a foundational report and series of recommendations. Since then, we have engaged subject matter experts in research, analysis and further development of policy recommendations. This material has established the start of a strategic planning process, currently in development. Next steps to develop the strategy include community expert engagement and stakeholder feedback.

You can find the Affordable Housing reports and recommendations here:

2013 Affordable Housing Framework

Housing Task Force Final Report (December 2016)

District of Squamish Affordable Housing Program Final Report (March 2018)

Housing Needs Assessment (July 2018)

Concurrent to the development of a strategic and tactical plan – with clear evidence that lack of affordable rental supply is a critical community issue. 

The District was successful in its proposal to BC Housing for a 76-unit low end of market apartment building in September 2018. You can learn more about the proposed Affordable Rental Housing Project.