Vancouver renters were already paying more per month than in any other market in Canada, and a recent report suggests it’s even worse this year than last.
A national report from Rentals.ca suggested new tenants in the city were paying landlords an average of $2,239 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in February, up 14.7% year-over-year. ‘other.
For two-bedroom units, landlords were looking for $3,050 per month, up 17.62% from what was asked for in adverts published in February 2021.
Looking at the average rent and the year-over-year rent change for condominium and apartment listings in Vancouver, the increase was even greater. February’s rate was 23% higher than the same month last year, according to data from Rentals.ca.
Those behind the report said the Vancouver area has seen the largest annual change in rents in Canada. Victoria came in second, with a 22% increase.
Part of the reason the change has been so significant this year is that there was actually a decline in rents in both markets in February 2021.
These numbers are calculated based on current listings, which means they apply to those entering new leases, not those renting long-term. Under provincial law, rent increases taking effect this year can only be 1.5%.
But when those leases end – if a tenant is moved out or evicted – a landlord can rent out the unit for any amount they choose.
The news likely comes as no surprise to anyone who has had to find rental accommodation in either area, and it confirms a report released in February by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation which found that the market that has long been one of the most expensive in Canada is also one of the least accessible.
As to why it’s so expensive and why rates continue to rise, there are a variety of factors at play.
Among them is the fact that the population of British Columbia is growing faster than that of any other province. Rising inflation also pushes up rental rates.
The issue of supply and demand also continues to increase what homeowners can ask for and expect to receive.
“The rental market is absolutely crazy right now,” Oakwyn Realty’s Jeff Francis said in an interview with CTV News on Monday, during which he noted that efforts are underway to change that.
“The City of Vancouver is definitely doing rental-oriented buildings, approving them, but at the same time when you’re waiting over 18 months to get approval, you’re looking at three to four years before you can actually get people into those units.
Some say these new builds may not even make much of a difference when it comes to affordable housing.
“Units coming on the market are not affordable. They are priced significantly above existing rents, driving up the average,” said Robert Patterson, attorney and solicitor at the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre.
In Patterson’s view, this points to “flaws in our eviction process” and a lack of legal protections for tenants going through it. He said there are a number of “common sense changes” that could be made at the Residential Tenancies Branch level to prevent certain types of evictions, which are often disguised means for a landlord. evict a tenant so he can get more money from the next tenant.
An example of this from Patterson is a claim that a family member is moving in.
Renovations are also a problem in British Columbia, although steps have been taken, including in Vancouver, to end the process of landlords looking to make a quick profit by evicting tenants and making small changes , then charging more.
“Every day in Vancouver we see a new record breaking, which forces us to rethink what is realistic for the housing market,” Patterson said.
“Because housing is such a basic human need, and unfortunately, there are people willing to take advantage of it from people who desperately need housing.”
And while the cost of rent continues to rise, wages have remained largely the same for many tenants, meaning many are being forced out of town.
Renter Lydia Desrochers, who makes $17 an hour, spoke to CTV News on Tuesday about the challenge and what’s available in other markets outside the region.
“I study and work part-time, and my rent ends up being more than half of what I earn,” Desrochers said.
“You can find pretty decent studios for $700 a month (in Montreal) for yourself, in a nice neighborhood.”
For some, even those working full-time, moving may be the only option right now, as experts predict rates in Vancouver will only continue to rise.
In terms of a solution, those who spoke to CTV News said all levels of government should work together before tariffs become unsustainable.
Solutions should include measures recognizing that real estate costs are also high in the city, and landlords should also make ends meet.