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Vancouver rents too pricey for millennials: report

Rental housing affordability shrinking in Metro Vancouver: report
WATCH: The assumption used to be if you can't afford to buy a home, then at least you can afford to rent. But it appears that's no longer in the case in Metro Vancouver's hot housing market.

VANCOUVER – Canada’s largest credit union is warning that young workers who have long since abandoned hope of owning a home in the Vancouver area are now being priced out of the city’s rental market.

A new report from Vancouver City Credit Union explores the tight rental market across Vancouver and the problem it poses for the so-called millennial generation.

Vancity’s vice-president of community investment, William Azaroff, says the report shows only the Marpole and East Hastings neighbourhoods remain affordable for the average worker under 40, earning less than $40,000.

He says millennials are being forced to the suburbs because Vancouver’s high rents and near zero vacancy rate mean renting is no longer an alternative to home ownership.

READ MORE: Twitter account mocks Vancouver’s unaffordable rental market

Azaroff says the report recommends governments encourage more rental housing construction by offering tax breaks and other incentives to developers.

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He predicts businesses will be unable to attract new workers if vacancy rates remain low, because tenants won’t want to make a long commute from the suburbs.

“Business owners (have) to be able to attract workers and if the people who would consider working there can’t get rental within a decent commute to those jobs, then you don’t have that kind of labour fluidity or labour mobility, so people can move to where the jobs are within our region,” says Azaroff.

Renters chased to the suburbs by high rents and a lack of vacancies in Vancouver may find more affordable housing, but the report also says they will spend much more on transportation and other related costs.