Report on the 29th Annual Housing Issues Briefing
June 16, 2023
On June 7, REALTORS® and public officials gathered for a special presentation from speaker Jake Fry, principal of Small Housing BC, to hear about approaches used in Vancouver BC to address the housing inventory shortage.
This marks the 29th year Seattle King County REALTORS® has hosted a “Housing Issues Briefing” for public officials interested in crafting solutions for the housing needs in our area.
Fry, who started his career as a carpenter, gave an inside-the-industry view on how he and his organization have successfully advocated for “gentle density” in the Vancouver metro area. Their preferred type of housing—ADUs, DADUs, or “laneway houses”, as they are referred to in Vancouver—fits well into existing residential neighborhoods.
This unobtrusive additional housing is critical in a city like Vancouver, where only 35% of residents live on 81% of the land zoned for residential dwellings. This is not dissimilar to the City of Seattle, where 71% of the land is zoned for single-family residential dwellings.
Fry noted that changes to Vancouver’s code allowing this gentle density have added 7,000 dwelling units to the city’s housing stock so far.
Elected officials and planners were anxious to hear how cities can be more proactive in allowing these different housing types, now that the Washington legislature has adopted several bills to make such development easier.