Renters find themselves stuck on route to home ownership

Getting into the rental market in St. John's is getting easier, but getting out of it may be harder than ever.
The price for new homes in St. John's is on the rise. The price of a new house has doubled in the last 10 years. (CBC)

Getting into the rental market in St. John's is getting easier, but getting out of it may be harder than ever.

There are more vacancies for renters, because of the construction of new apartments. But renters may find themselves stuck there, as rising house prices make it harder than ever to buy a home.

Bill and Helen Savoury are familiar with this challenge. They quickly found an apartment when they moved here two years ago for Bill to take classes at the Marine Institute, but the next step has not been so easy.

"If you've got two big incomes, it's fine," Bill Savory says.

"But if you got one half-decent, and one not-so half-decent, you've got to figure out a way."

Chris Janes, a senior analyst at the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation says this is a common struggle.

"Right now, in this market it's very difficult.," says Janes.

"That move we refer to from rental to home-ownership, which typically and historically has been an easy transition in this market, is certainly harder than it's ever been."

Vacancies for renters are increasing, but prices have not gone down. In the last year alone, the average rent for a two bedroom home climbed by more than five-percent and is projected to keep going up.

Bill and Helen Savoury search online for a home-buying opportunity that they can afford. (CBC)
At the same time, the cost of buying a house also keeps rising. In St. John's, the price of a new house doubled in the last 10 years.

For Bill and Helen Savoury, this means the bulk of their income is going to rent, so saving for a down-payment is nearly impossible.

As a solution, they have tried posting an ad on Kijiji looking for a property they can rent-to-own.

It may be a long shot, but they are willing to give it a try.

"So far, we've had a couple of responses but nothing we could really take seriously," Savoury says.

"I guess the search goes on."

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