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A quarter of British Columbian renters spend 50% of income on rent: Report

In Vancouver in October 2023, rent for a 2-bedroom unit was 8.6% higher than the year prior
It now costs on average $1,135 per month to rent a place in the Okanagan. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

A new report says 25 per cent of renters in B.C. are spending more than half of their income on rent, while 23 per cent are spending up to a third of their income. 

The Royal LePage report, released Thursday (June 20), says the available of supply of rental properties in most major markets in Canada "remains ultra low." The report includes data for each province and for the whole of Canada. 

In B.C., 23 per cent of renters spend up to 30 per cent of their income on housing, 42 per cent spend between 31 and 50 per cent of their income and 25 per cent spend more than 50 per cent of their income on rent – Royal LePage noted that was well above the national average of 16 per cent. 

In comparison, in Alberta 39 per cent of renters spend 30 per cent of their in come on housing, 34 per cent spend between 31 and 50 per cent and 17 per cent spend more than 50 per cent. Ontario wasn't too different, with 35 per cent spend 30 per cent on their income on rent, 36 per cent spend between 31 and 50 per cent of their income and 18 per cent spend more than 50 per cent of their income on housing. 

Royal LePage Sussex property manager Nina Knudsen said that competition in Vancouver's rental market is improving, but affordability remains a challenge for tenants facing some of the highest rental prices in the country. 

“Empty nesters and working professionals make up a significant portion of our renter demographic, as do tenants who are landlords themselves. It is not uncommon for renters to buy an investment property in a less expensive market and lease it out while they continue to save towards the purchase of a primary residence.”

In Vancouver, according to the latest Rental Market Report by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the average rent for a two-bedroom unit in October 2023 was 8.6 per cent higher than the year before. Vacancy rates for both rental and condo units were 0.9 per cent. 

In Victoria, the average rent for a two-bedroom in October 2023 was 7.9 per cent higher than the year prior. The vacancy rate for rentals was 1.6 per cent. 

When it comes to homeownership, Royal LePage says 26 per cent of renters said they considered buying a property rather than renting before signing a or renewing their lease. Twenty-seven per cent said they plan to purchase a property within the next two year, but 52 per cent said they wouldn't.


Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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