Just say no?: Analyzing the effects of land use restrictions on market housing affordability in Squamish, B.C.

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MacDonald, Scott
Market housing is an integral aspect of the housing spectrum, traditionally providing housing options for a wide range of incomes. Residents of several British Columbian communities, however, increasingly face rising housing costs, reflected in both market sales and rents. Local governments play a significant role in the affordability of housing markets through their land use powers and control of the approval process for residential development. This paper examines relevant land use restrictions in Squamish, B.C. to assess how the elasticity and affordability of market housing options are either promoted or limited by the local government’s land use policy. The findings of this research indicate several land use provisions that restrict the elasticity of market housing in Squamish. This research informs potential adjustments to land use policy aimed at improving the elasticity and affordability of Squamish’s market housing stock.
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