Monday night’s meeting of Saskatoon city council’s executive committee produced nearly five hours of “discussion and heated debate,” on proposed changes to the city’s condo conversion policy according to a report in this morning’s Star Phoenix. The majority of the councilors in attendance ultimately voted to put the brakes on the trend toward rapid and unrestricted conversions of apartment buildings to condos.
Assuming that the executive committee’s recommendations are approved by city council at its April 21 meeting, certificates for conversions will not be granted when vacancy rates fall below 1.5%, as measured in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Rental Market Outlook reports. The most recent report pegged Saskatoon’s apartment vacancy rate at just 0.6%. If approved, the new policy will not be applied to the applications for 14 buildings that are already in the queue for approval.
Key to the sudden shift seems to be a submission from Dr. Ryan Walker, an urban planning and geography professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Walker, with the help of colleagues from across the country made the case that diminishing supplies of rental housing will lead to further labour shortages in “key worker occupations.”
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Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate