Numerology: 67% of renters in a 2017 City of Vancouver housing survey said they didn’t know if they would still be in the city in three to five years.
Once next year’s 4 per cent allowable rent hike takes effect in B.C. (and renovictions and lease renewals push average rents even higher), help-wanted signs will grow dustier as street-level businesses chase the increasingly rare soul who can afford to live on a cook’s wages. “Vancouver is a different beast,” says Josh Gordon, an assistant professor at SFU’s School of Public Policy and a speaker on housing at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities conference. In most cities, business and wage growth drive population influxes and shelter shortages, but Vancouver’s rental market is disconnected from the underlying economy, Gordon notes. “It’s a big issue,” he says. “It becomes hard for businesses to expand, and the dynamic potential of the city’s economy declines.”
Sources: City of Vancouver, BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., CBC News, Goodman Report