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27% of Vancouver renters pay more than half their salary on rent

That’s well above the national average and higher than renters in Toronto and Montreal

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A new rental report shows Vancouverites are paying significantly more of their salary on rent than their counterparts in Toronto and Montreal.

The Royal LePage report suggests that 27 per cent of renters in Vancouver — Canada’s most expensive real estate market — are spending more than half of their net income on rental costs, well above the national average of 16 per cent, and higher than renters in Toronto (19 per cent) and Montreal (10 per cent.)

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April figures from liv.rent, an online renting platform, put the number even higher for Vancouver renters, suggesting that some pay more than 60 per cent of their monthly salary. This is more than double the recommended 30 per cent rent-to-income ratio from B.C. Housing.

And yet Vancouver salaries aren’t keeping pace. For example, according to the 2021 census, the median household income in Metro was $90,000. In Toronto it was $97,000.

The Royal LePage report says it’s not just Vancouver. Twenty-three per cent of renters in B.C. are spending up to 30 per cent of their salary on rent while a staggering 42 per cent spend up to 50 per cent of their net income on rent, leaving little left over for the high cost of living.

Only 27 per cent of those surveyed across B.C. said they plan to buy a home in the next two years, while 52 per cent said they will not.

“With a boost in rental supply in Vancouver, competition in this segment is improving, although affordability remains a challenge for tenants facing some of the highest rental prices in the country,” said Nina Knudsen, a property manager for Royal LePage Sussex in North Vancouver, in a statement Thursday.

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“Still, demand to live in one of Canada’s most popular cities remains consistent.”

For the survey, Hill and Knowlton used the Leger Opinion online panel to survey 1,506 Canadian adults who rent their primary residence. The survey was completed between June 7 and 10 and carries a probable margin of error of plus-or-minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The earlier liv.rent report in April found unfurnished one-bedroom units in Metro were on average $2,376. West Vancouver had the highest average rental prices for all unfurnished units, according to the report, starting at $2,773 for a one-bedroom and rising to $4,751 for a three-bedroom.

The cheapest place to live in Metro, according to the liv.com report, is Langley, where a one-bedroom will cost renters around $1,954 a month or $2,499 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Vancouver ranks as one of the least affordable places to live in the world, according to a recent and long-running report on housing affordability among a collection of wealthy nations.

Vancouver was the third-least affordable housing market after Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia, according to the 2024 Demographia International Housing Affordability Report.

​​Vancouver has been the first-, second- or third-least affordable major market for each of the last 16 years, according to the report.

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With files from Nathan Griffiths

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