In a groundbreaking move, the City of Vancouver has passed a pivotal housing reform aimed at addressing the city’s housing crisis. According to the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver’s residential landscape has long been dominated by single-family homes, with high-rise apartments concentrated in the city center. However, there has been a glaring lack of medium-density housing options, commonly known as the “missing middle,” which are in high demand across many North American cities but scarce in Vancouver.

政策實施Missing Middle

The recent decision – missing middle, which has sparked intense debate, involves the transformation of single-family homes into multi-unit residences, allowing for up to six units per lot or eight for rental-specific housing, as reported by CBC. This marks the most significant housing reform in Vancouver in the past fourteen years and is expected to substantially increase housing density.


  • 對於標準地塊,即寬33英尺的地塊,新建築物的最大建築面積將從目前的約3,400平方英尺增加到約4,000平方英尺,最多容納四個單位。
  • 較大的地塊,寬50英尺,將其最大建築面積從5,200平方英尺增加到約6,100平方英尺,最多容納六個單位。
  • In the case of rental-specific housing, up to eight units will be permitted, with one unit potentially reserved for the owner’s use. The maximum building height is capped at three stories or 37.7 feet.
Missing Middle


This policy is set to impact the majority of Vancouver’s approximately 65,000 detached house lots. Once it officially takes effect, the city anticipates receiving around 200 applications annually for the construction of multi-unit housing.



The Floor Area Ratio (FAR), a measure of density comparing a building’s interior area to the land area, is a critical factor in this policy. Vancouver’s standard lot size is approximately 33 feet by 122 feet, equating to 4,026 square feet. The new regulation establishes a maximum FAR of 1.0, effectively utilizing nearly the entire land area for multi-unit housing.


However, while the overall building area increases, the new rules impose tighter restrictions on the maximum floor area for an individual detached house on a lot. Presently, the maximum FAR for new homes in Vancouver can reach up to 0.7. According to the proposal, the FAR will be reduced by 0.1 to reach 0.6. In practical terms, this means that for Vancouver’s standard detached house lots, the maximum building area for the main house will decrease from the current 2,800 square feet to 2,400 square feet, resulting in a 14% reduction in the usable living space.


At the same time, the primary residential density on single-family land will shift largely to laneway houses. The maximum area of ​​a laneway house will increase from the existing 0.16 FAR to 0.25 FAR, which will increase the residential area of ​​a laneway house by 56%.





In conclusion, Vancouver’s housing reform represents a pivotal moment in the city’s history. Traditional single-family homes will give way to a more diversified and compact housing ecosystem, aimed at addressing the housing crisis. Whether one supports or opposes this reform, it is poised to redefine Vancouver’s real estate landscape, transforming the city’s housing choices and lifestyles. It is an ambitious and innovative approach to combatting the housing challenges faced by one of Canada’s most vibrant cities.