Renting is as out of reach as owning for many in Vancouver now: report

Jul 7 2016, 2:35 pm

If you thought renting was a viable alternative to buying in Vancouver, think again.

A report from Vancity Credit Union suggests renting is just as out of reach as owning for many working households in the city, especially millennials.

Millennials earned a median income of $40,300 in 2015, which means they can only afford to rent in two areas in Vancouver: East Vancouver and Marpole.

And while the report notes affordable housing can be found outside of Vancouver in areas like the Tri-cities, Burnaby, Surrey, and Delta, transportation costs often off-set the savings on rent.

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“The attention on housing needs to broaden to include more permanent and affordable rental housing options, says Vancity Credit Union’s William Azaroff. “People from all incomes need housing stability and local businesses need a well-housed labour pool to deliver the services that all British Columbians rely on.”

It appears wages can’t keep up with the pace of the rental market in Vancouver. While wages increased by 6.6% between 2011 and 2015, rents increased nearly twice as fast at 11.4% due to a lack of vacancy.

A majority of Vancouverites are renters – 51%, according to Vancity – with millennials representing 33% of the total. And despite the perception that renters are largely low-wage workers, Vancity says they’re spread across a spectrum of industries in Vancouver, such as health, education, construction, and finance.

The City of Vancouver recently announced that they plan to take action on empty homes in the city through taxation. They have appealed to the province to implement the tax, but say they will move forward with their own plan if they don’t hear from Premier Christy Clark by August 1.

There are 10,800 empty homes in Vancouver.

Lauren SundstromLauren Sundstrom

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