Social Purpose Real Estate

Understanding real estate challenges and opportunities affecting the not-for-profit and social purpose sector

The Real Estate Institute of British Columbia (REIBC), in collaboration with the Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative (SPRE), is pleased to announce an innovative project to understand the real estate challenges and opportunities facing the not-for-profit and social purpose sector. As a critical tool towards long-term sustainability, securing affordable and suitable real estate for this sector deserves attention.

Supported by the Real Estate Foundation, the City of Vancouver and Vancity and Vancity Community Foundation, this innovative collaborative project will benchmark the real estate rates, terms and conditions in which the social purpose/not-for-profit sector functions in Vancouver.  Whether through month-to-month rents, longer term leasing or ownership, the social purpose/not-for-profit sector faces tough challenges in Metro Vancouver’s high priced and limited real estate environment.

While this sector significantly contributes to the social and economic fabric of our society, there is no real data on the real estate scenarios under which they operate. The sector struggles with affordability for securing premises in which to deliver programs and services, lacks tenure to retain real estate assets for long term use, and often lacks knowledge, skills and abilities for successfully engaging in real estate dealings.   The shared goal of these collaborating organizations is to turn these challenges into opportunities, for the long-term sustainability and well-being of the sector.

The project, launched in late July 2012, will start with the hiring of a consultant to carry out a robust survey of social and cultural organizations and independent artists, followed by a review of comparative data and analysis within the context of the greater Vancouver real estate market, and concluding with recommendation to the SPRE Collaborative on how to better support the sector to lock down real estate assets, for long-term sustainability. The anticipated completion of the research project is January 2013; the results will be available to the public and shared out through REIBC,  SPRE and funding partner organizations.

For more information on this project please contact:  The Real Estate Institute of British Columbia at

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