Is it possible to rent affordably while making minimum wage in Metro Vancouver?
Published Thursday, July 18, 2019 5:15PM PDT Last Updated Thursday, July 18, 2019 7:13PM PDT
A new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has found that minimum-wage workers could only find an affordable rental in a handful of neighbourhoods in the country.
The CCPA looked at 795 areas across Canada and found only nine where those making their province's minimum wage could spend 30 per cent or less of their income on rent.
In Metro Vancouver, where rental housing is among the most expensive in Canada, those findings raise the question of whether it's at all possible for those making minimum wage to rent affordably in the region.
The short answer: Probably not.
At $13.85 an hour, full-time minimum wage workers in B.C. make about $2,400 a month. Thirty per cent of that is just $720.
So CTV News scoured the major rental housing websites in the region—including PadMapper, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and RentSeeker.ca—to see if there were any units on the market for that price. The search came up almost completely dry.
There were no rentals to be found within that budget across most municipalities in the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and the Tri-Cities.
And minimum-wage renters would have to look at least as far east as the Surrey-Langley border to find a few listings under the $720 mark.
On Craigslist, there was a one-bedroom suite in the Clayton area listed at $700 a month. Another bachelor suite in Surrey was listed at the same price.
In Langley, there was one posting at $695 for a furnished bachelor suite.
The only available listing in Vancouver within budget was a "micro-suite" on the Downtown Eastside listed on Craigslist for $720 a month.
Otherwise, those with that kind of budget would be looking at sharing a home with at least one roommate, and even then, only a handful of listings pop up in the entire region.
It's only around the $1,100 mark that living on your own becomes an option in some parts of the region.
According to the CCPA report, a third of Canadian households—or about 4.7 million people—are renters. These households often consist of low-income earners, such as young adults or newcomers.
While there are indications that Vancouver's rental housing market might be slowing down along with the real estate sector, average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city remains around $2,100 a month, and vacancy rates remain among the lowest in the country at roughly one per cent.
With files from The Canadian Press