News > Research Update: RENT-LEASE-OWN

Research Update: RENT-LEASE-OWN

posted on 8:23 AM, March 15, 2013

RENT‐LEASE‐OWN is a landmark research study, the first of its kind in Canada to document the conditions in which the social purpose sector finds homes for its programs and services. The study seeks to document the rates, terms, and conditions through which the social purpose sector engages with the real estate market, and compare and contrast this situation with the broader commercial market in the

Whether by month‐to‐month rents, longer‐term leases, or ownership, the social purpose sector is extremely challenged to hold property within Metro Vancouver’s highly priced and limited real estate environment. There is no real data on the real estate scenarios under which social purpose organizations and individual entrepreneurs operate. It is commonly known that the sector struggles with affordability for securing premises in which to deliver programs and services, and lacks knowledge, skills, and abilities for successfully engaging in real estate dealings. Until now there has been no baseline data to help us understand what the barriers are that limit real estate activities in this sector, or the possible solutions. From October 2012 to February 2013, CitySpaces Consulting surveyed Metro Vancouver’s social and cultural organizations and independent artists. Survey results are currently being analyzed. Results will be used to inform future policy development and make the case for supporting social purpose real estate in Metro Vancouver.

Results from RENT‐LEASE‐OWN will be released in late March 2013. Study outcomes are anticipated to:

  • Provide baseline data that can be added to in future years to provide a long‐term view of the changing nature of social purpose real estate
  • Provide data to better understand the scale of the perceived crisis in social purpose real estate in Metro Vancouver
  • Provide a comparison with commercial real estate conditions, and from that understand the challenges and opportunities for social purpose real estate
  • Provide initial recommendations for improving the situation for social purpose real estate in Metro Vancouver

An iPad was offered as a prize to survey participants to help solicit participation. Approximately 600 respondents completed the survey. The prizewinner is singer and musician Laurel Murphy (, a Vancouver performer of more than 20 years who is currently  producing her album FreeFall, to be released this year. Murphy is also a graphic designer and illustrator, produces music events and workshops for the local community, and provides healing sound for cancer patients.

RENT‐LEASE‐OWN is a project of the Social Purpose Real Estate Table working in collaboration with the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia. The project is generously supported by the Real Estate Foundation, the City of Vancouver Cultural Services / Social Development, and Vancity Credit Union and Foundation.