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Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners, behold says

19 July 2019

The CCPA report found Edmontonians need to make nearly $25 an hour or work 66 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment, or nearly $20 an hour or work 53 hours at minimum wage to afford a one-bedroom.

Out of 795 neighbourhoods that were examined across the nation, only 24 have a minimum wage that would allow you to rent a two-bedroom place by working full-time.

In fact, it is possible for a minimum-wage worker (e.g., a single parent) to comfortably afford the average two-bedroom rental rate in only 3% of the 795 neighbourhoods where rental and income data are available. Combining provincial and federal commitments, the study projected an average of 15,400 new rental units annually, well below the number the country saw decades ago when the population was smaller. Out of 36 metropolitan areas, 23 had zero neighbourhoods where a full-time worker earning the minimum wage could afford the average one-bedroom rental rate.

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters and they are often low-income earners, or young adults, or newcomers to Canada.

It also calculated how many hours should work the workers, earning minimum wage to afford the average apartment.

At 14 dollars an hour workers with the minimum wage would have to spend 79 hours in a two-bedroom apartment or 96 hours for a two-bedroom apartment. The next highest average rental wages are found in Toronto, ON ($33.70/hr), Victoria, BC ($28.47/hr), Calgary, AB ($26.97/hr) and Ottawa ON ($26.08/hr).

Study author David Macdonald writes that Montreal is something of an exception because "more affordable neighbourhoods continue to exist on the island itself and public transit is abundant". According to a new study, you need to be making a seriously high hourly wage to rent an apartment in BC cities. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, over 100,000 new rental apartments were being built a year. "It builds units for investors, it doesn't build units for people who live there".

In the past three years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has introduced four long-term programs devoted to new affordable units: the National Housing Co-investment Fund, the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, and the Federal Lands Initiative.

Its design is to be tailored to each province.

Condos are also more expensive: In the Vancouver area, the average two-bedroom condo rented for more than $2,000 a month previous year, compared with $1,649 for a two-bedroom apartment. But he said the benefit may not be enough for low-income renters to close the affordability gap.

The federal Liberals' decade-long nationwide housing approach entails programs to manufacture more condo housing, hoping a preserve in provide will force down prices.

The CCPA said the report shows a short-term need for more rental subsidies from the federal government, and a long-term need for more affordable housing construction.

The most affordable place on the list is Trois-Rivieres.

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners, behold says