Vancouver is well-known as a pricey place to call home, and now a new report has determined the hourly wage a person needs to make to afford an average two-bedroom rental apartment in the city.
According to the report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), that wage is $35.43 an hour.
Put another way, a person making minimum wage in the city would have to work 112 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment – or 84 hours a week for an average one-bedroom.
Across Canada, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $22.40/h, or $20.20/h for an average one bedroom, according to the report.
The new report, Unaccommodating: Housing Rental Wage in Canada, determines the hourly wage a full-time worker must make to be able to rent an average apartment, in 795 neighbourhoods across the country.
In Toronto, for example, a person needs to make $33.70/h to afford an average two-bedroom – or work 96 hours a week at the provincial minimum wage rate.
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“When we talk about housing affordability the focus is usually on home ownership,” said the report’s author, David Macdonald.
However, he noted that a third of households – or 4.7 million families across the country – rent.
“Many of these renters—particularly those working at or near minimum wage, on fixed incomes or single-income households – are at risk of being priced out of modest apartments, no matter where they look,” he said.
In total, there are only 24 of 795 neighbourhoods (3%) in Canada where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford to rent an average two-bedroom apartment, and in only 70 neighbourhoods (9%) can they afford a one-bedroom.
“Across the country, skyrocketing rents for decent apartments show no signs of falling,” said Macdonald. “Building more dedicated affordable housing would increase vacancy rates, cool rental prices and better accommodate the many people shut out of Canada’s overheated housing market.”
And moving towards this year’s federal election in October, Macdonald said affordability for renters – not just home buyers –should be “top of mind” for all political parties.
“In a country as rich as Canada everyone deserves a reasonable place to live,” he said. “In too many communities, this is just not the case.”