Floating shipping containers are a BIG idea for affordable housing

A weekly roundup of news and views on property development, sales, affordability and more

Architect Bjarke Ingels has designed student housing in shipping containers moored on a barge off Copenhagen. Danish design startup Urban Rigger enlisted Ingels of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), designers of Vancouver House, to devise student housing that is comfortable, sustainable and affordable. By stacking containers in two staggered triangles, the designers create an open-air courtyard in the centre and use the tops of the second level for a deck, a solar array and a small lawn. Urban Rigger hopes to apply the model worldwide. (Fortune

Vancouver is also looking for creative housing solutions. Frances Bula reports that Vancouver’s housing crisis is prompting the city’s housing planners to rethink its low-cost housing strategy. Planners want ideas from the public and are looking at suggestions for how to help nonprofit groups build more in the city and for new strategies to protect renters. The city is organizing a week-long conference with speakers from around the world October 24-29, including experts from Europe, Australia and the United States. (The Globe and Mail

Six-square-metre flats sell out in Shenzhen, China. And then they don’t—authorities have invalidated the sale after an online uproar when local media reported that 11 mini studio apartments, with floor areas ranging from 5.73 and 7.48 square metres, sold out in half a day on Saturday. Shenzhen has seen the fastest growth in residential property prices worldwide. Residential units in China must be at least 22 square metres (236 square feet) in size, but there are no restrictions in Hong Kong, where flats as small as 163 square feet have been selling quickly. (South China Morning Post

Will stock market volatility increase Chinese overseas property investment? Juwai, China’s largest overseas real estate firm, surveyed mainland Chinese agents and international real estate agents to determine buyer sentiment after the Shanghai Stock Exchange experienced volatility in early 2016. On average, 55 per cent of the agents believed stock market volatility will increase foreign property buying from China, primarily to diversify holdings. (Better Dwelling

Canada has released new draft capital requirements for federally regulated mortgage insurers to better reflect growing risks in the country’s housing markets. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions said Friday the new requirements, which take effect January 1, are aimed at allowing insurers to better withstand “severe but plausible losses.” The new measures include provisions that trigger supplementary capital requirements for regions with high home prices relative to incomes. (Bloomberg