Renters spend more than 60% of monthly income on Metro Vancouver homes: report

Vancouverites on average spend over 60 per cent of their income on rent, more than twice the recommended rent-to-income-ratio. Kier Junos reports.

A new report is shedding light on just how much renters are having to fork out for homes in Metro Vancouver.

The latest report found that renters in the Metro Vancouver region are, on average, spending 61.65 per cent of their monthly income on rent — over double the recommended 30 per cent rent-to-income ratio.

“[It] reflects the mismatch between supply and demand for housing in the region,” the report released Thursday stated.

One-bedroom unfurnished rentals in the region saw a modest increase between March and April, found, with the new average coming in at $2,376.

However, the rental agency found a large jump in furnished rentals, which it believes signals that many former short-term rentals are moving into the long-term rental market as new provincial regulations come into effect May 1.

“Furnished one-bedroom units saw a much more significant rise – increasing by $251 (+10.05%) from month to month,” the agency said, adding the new average for furnished units now sits at $2,747.

According to the agency, rental averages still vary greatly across Metro Vancouver, with a big discrepancy between some areas in the Fraser Valley and other neighbourhoods closer to downtown Vancouver.

West Vancouver had the highest average rental prices for one-, two-, and three-bedroom unfurnished units, found. Renters in that district are forking out $2,773 for an unfurnished one-bedroom, on average.

Meanwhile, Langley had the lowest average rental prices for unfurnished one- and three-bedroom units, with that city coming in under $2,000 for an unfurnished one-bedroom home.

For Vancouver proper, Downtown Vancouver was that city’s most expensive neighbourhood to rent in, “with an unfurnished one-bedroom unit renting for $2,840/month on average.”

“The same type of unit rents for an average of $2,127 in Vancouver’s cheapest neighbourhood, Sunset-Victoria Fraserview.

Meanwhile, areas in Metro Vancouver still take the top spot for the most expensive cities in Canada to rent.

West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, and Burnaby were ranked the top four most expensive cities by, with Markham, Ont., coming in fifth spot.

Speaking to CityNews Friday, UBC Sauder School of Business associate professor Tom Davidoff says if renters are paying on average 60 per cent of their monthly income on rent, “it’s extremely disturbing.”

“Sixty per cent of income on rent just doesn’t leave much for anything else; saving for a downpayment would be really hard if you’re down to 40 per cent of your paycheck.”

Davidoff questioned whether’s numbers are in fact the reality, saying there are many people who spend above 30 per cent of their income but he was skeptical of 60 per cent.

“It is a very challenging market for renters,” he said.

But Davidoff echoed the rental agency’s highlight of short-term rentals entering the long-term rental market.

“It would not surprise me to see quite a number of particularly one-bedroom suites coming onto the market as the short-term rental ban comes into effect.”

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