Pricey housing near transit may be pushing out young families and seniors in Vancouver.

As the appeal of living near rapid transit continues to push up the price of land around SkyTrain stations, Metro Vancouver is grappling with ways to keep affordable housing near transit.

An updated affordability report, which will be distributed to municipalities for discussion, suggests the high cost of land around rapid transit is forcing young families, seniors and emergency workers ­— whose wages aren’t keeping pace with housing prices — to move further out of urban centres.

This, in turn, is feeding the “drive until you qualify” phenomenon and urban sprawl, the report suggests, and is creating a financial burden for those who can least afford it. The report notes transit and housing go hand in hand, because those who live closer to transit aren’t as dependent on using a vehicle.

The lower your income the more you should not be forced to have a car and live way out somewhere,” said Metro Vancouver’s housing manager Don Littleford. “The big planning goal in the regional growth strategy is to put more housing near transit … not to displace the need for lots of condominium and market rental, but we want to have affordable rental near rapid transit.”

The report notes that within the next 10 years, Metro Vancouver will need an estimated 190,000 more housing units. Of these, 65,000 would be needed for rentals and 121,000 for ownership units.

Of the 65,000 rental units, 21,000 would be needed for low-income households earning less than $30,000 while 25,000 units would be required for households earning $50,000 or less.

Dwellings are considered affordable when monthly rents or mortgage payments (including property taxes and heating costs) do not exceed 30 per cent of the household’s gross monthly income.

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