Study: Abbotsford has the least residential red tape

Fraser Institute study says city has lowest compliance costs when it comes to building new homes.

Abbotsford is one of the easiest places to build homes, according to a Fraser Institute survey of Lower Mainland cities’ residential land-use regulations and policies.

Abbotsford was the least regulated of the 10 cities in the region that generated sufficient survey responses, according to the Fraser Institute, a think tank that promotes free-market policies.

Compliance costs and fees added up to an average of $14,357 per home in Abbotsford. That figure is the lowest in the Lower Mainland and compares to a high of $40,000 per home in the District of North Vancouver, which was labelled the most-regulated municipality.

The survey found that while Abbotsford’s average approval timeline of 11.1 months for proposed homes was similar to other cities, developers ranked the city as the least obstructionist of the 10 municipalities with the most responses.

The survey also found that most residential developments in the region require rezoning, and that Abbotsford is no exception, with 72 per cent of proposals needing alterations to zoning bylaws.

When rezoning is needed, it takes slightly less time than average to go through the process in Abbotsford.

Survey respondents were also asked how the development process was affected by council and community groups. They reported Abbotsford was relatively open to new building, ranking it fourth out of 10 communities, with a rating of 2.29 out of five, where a lower rating is more encouraging to development.

The results came from a questionnaire sent to industry associations last fall. Data was obtained from 43 anonymous respondents, most of whom specialize in multi-unit developments.

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