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B.C. renters caught in an ‘affordability crunch’

WATCH: A new survey finds that renters more than anyone are feeling the affordability crunch. But what might surprise you is where the disparity is greatest. Jill Bennett reports.

Renters in Vancouver and across B.C. are facing a serious “affordability crunch”, says new research from the BC Non-Profit Housing Association.

According to their Rental Housing Index, a new interactive map of rental data, nearly half of renters in B.C. dedicate more than 30 per cent of their gross income to rent, and nearly one-quarter are spending 50 per cent of their pre-tax dollars on rent. According to the database, the average rent in B.C. is $988 per month.

It’s a situation that could get worse before it gets better.

Related: Are Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto homes headed for ‘sharp correction’?

“When we solved our budgetary crisis federally, we stopped building new rental housing, particularly social housing,” says Tony Roy of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. “All of those subsidies that were put into the system are coming to an end.”

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The issue of affordability doesn’t just impact Vancouver. The association says upwards of 30 per cent of renters in smaller towns like Duncan and Sooke are spending more than half of their income on rent.

Roy adds that communities in northern B.C. are also facing high rental costs, perhaps because of “the excitement that comes with natural resource development.”

The association hopes the index will provide housing planners, non-profit developers, and municipal governments with the data they need to better plan for the future.

-with files from Grace Ke

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