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UBC student commutes from Calgary -- cheaper than paying Vancouver rent

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Vancouver’s sky-high rental prices have forced many residents to find creative ways to be able to afford to live in the city.

Turning to creativity is exactly what Tim Chen did to avoid paying rent in Vancouver.

For Chen, commuting to class looks very different, as a final year arts student at the University of British Columbia.

"I thought, why don't I just stay at Calgary and then just fly here, it’s like a one-hour flight, that’s like the same as taking a bus,” he said.

Chen is originally from Calgary. He had previously been living in Vancouver while studying at UBC, but gave up his rental unit while he went on vacation during the fall.

When he returned, he was met with sticker shock.

"When I checked the house price I thought, oh shoot, there was a big increase!" he said. “I need to pay like $2,500 for the rent, so I don't feel like it's viable."

He began looking at the price of flights from Calgary to Vancouver and realized they were about $150 round trip.

He takes two classes per week at the university.

In total he’ll pay about $1,200 for the flights per month while he lives at home with his parents in Calgary. Ultimately, it's much cheaper than the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, which sits at about $2,100.

"I've got three hours of class in total, after the class, I go back to the bus and go back to the airport!" Chen said.

Vancouver continues to lead the way as Canada’s most expensive city for renters. But, finding a place to rent is even more difficult with the 0.9 per cent vacancy in the city.

Chen plans to fly to UBC for his two classes until the end of the academic year, when he graduates.

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