Unlike most other developed cities in the world, Vancouver is very far from being considered a concrete jungle. On the contrary, the city’s administration is determined to take the top spot in the list of green cities in North America by 2020. This won’t come easy because sacrifices will have to be made and regulations have to be followed if the ambitious goal is to be achieved.
Despite the good intentions behind the regulations, they may sometimes limit the ambitions of property developers in the city who may want to build huge structures. A good example is in the Zoning Districts. Let’s start by taking a look at what the city regulations have been able to achieve so far.
Since 2013, Vancouver has been ranked in Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index. In the first quarter of 2016, the city was ranked top with a 26.3% increase in performance of prices of prime residential properties. This is just three years after the city was added to this list. This means that prices of prime residential property have had a relatively higher growth rate in these three years when compared to other cities in the world. Between March 2015 and March 2016, Vancouver had the highest growth rate in the world.
Local investors are doing all they can to get a piece of the pie. Foreign investors have also taken notice and this has resulted in massive demand for property in Vancouver which further increased the price of the properties. With the influx of millions of foreign dollars, the city administration is taxed with ensuring that there is order in the development and that Vancouver maintains a spot in the list of the best cities to live in globally.
On the other hand, zoning has its limitations. With several prime properties witnessing interesting bidding wars in the recent past, it is very clear that investors are willing to spend on property in Vancouver. However, they have to think about zoning before buying a property to take down because zoning Bylaws for each district control the kind of development that will take place in the area. This means that you can’t build a skyscraper on land that has been set aside for single family homes.
The city also controls tearing down of buildings in districts that have been set aside as historical areas such as Chinatown and some pre-1920 homes in Strathcona.
While this may appear punitive, it comes with its own share of benefits. The first one is that development is controlled, hence there should be improved organization of the city. Another one, which is very important in the case of Vancouver, is that natural life and open spaces are maintained in the city.
Investment in Main Street neighbourhoods has benefited from the city’s zoning regulations. This is because these neighborhoods have commercial districts, residential districts, small industrial districts and some historic areas. Investors and developers in these neighborhoods have access to a wide range of options when it comes to investing, with minimal restriction to any ambitious plans they may have. The city is also able to maintain order since the development is done in a planned and very organized manner. Main Street locals can expect to enjoy Vancouverism for a very long time.