British Columbia

Vancity report: Renting no longer viable alternative to home ownership

Study found higher rents and lower vacancy rates are limiting housing options for young and lower income people in Metro Vancouver.

Report found only two neighbourhoods in Vancouver remain affordable to renters — Marpole and East Hastings

The report focused on millennials as the largest age group of renters in Metro Vancouver.

A new report from Vancity says that renting is no longer a viable option for millennials in the Lower Mainland.

The report suggests working millenials aren't just getting priced out of home ownership, but that the rental market is also increasingly unaffordable.

"I think there's almost an assumption for that for those who can't afford to own, well they can rent," said William Azaroff, vice president of community investment with Vancity.

"Now what we're seeing when we really look into the rental market more explicitly, is actually that's not true."

According to the report, weekly wages grew by 6.6% in B.C. between 2011 and 2015, while average rent increased at a rate nearly double that, up by 11.4% in Metro Vancouver.

The report also found only two neighbourhoods in Vancouver remain affordable to renters — Marpole and East Hastings.

Lower vacancy rates

The report said renters earning median incomes face being priced out of their neighbourhoods with a limited amount of stock to choose from, as vacancy rates continue to be an issue for affordable housing. 

"It is that combination where housing doesn't just have to be affordable to say the average salary earner, it also has to be available," Azaroff said.

"And it is the confluence of those two things working together, or in a lot of cases not working together, that adds to this."

The report lists recommendations to protect the current rental housing stock and suggests increasing supply by offering incentives to developers.

The report also suggests the government offer tax incentives to developers and owners of units.

With files from Chantelle Bellerichard