B.C. has highest proportion of renters in Canada spending over 50 percent of income on housing

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      Things are not going well for renters.

      With low vacancy rates and escalating rents, they’re spending more than they should to keep a roof over their heads.

      It’s particularly bad in B.C.

      A new database shows that across Canada, the province has the highest proportion of renter households spending more than 50 percent of their gross income on rent and utilities.

      According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index presented by B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), 21 percent or more than one in five renter households in B.C. spend over half of what they earn for housing.

      The situation is worse in Greater Vancouver, where 22 percent of renter households are using more than 50 percent of their income to cover their housing needs.

      Nationally, 18 percent of renter households spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing.

      A backgrounder for the index states that according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the federal authority on housing, households spending over 50 percent of their gross income on housing are “severely overspending and considered to be at a crisis level of spending, putting individuals and families at risk of homelessness”.

      Next to B.C. in terms of the proportion of renter households spending more than 50 percent of income on housing are Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan.

      Per CMHC standards for affordability, a household should be spending less than 30 percent of its income for housing.

      However, the rental index shows that 40 percent of rental households in Canada are spending over the 30 percent threshold.

      In B.C., 43 percent of renter households devote more than 30 percent of their income for housing needs, placing the province second only to Ontario, which has a proportion of nearly 46 percent.

      In a news release Tuesday (May 8), BCNPHA acting CEO Jill Atkey noted that “spending more than 30 per cent of income on housing has become the new normal for individuals and families in almost all areas of Canada”.

      The Canadian Rental Housing Index was developed by the BCNPHA and Vancity Credit Union. Their partners include the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, Real Estate Foundation of B.C., Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, Generation Squeeze, Co-op Housing Federation of B.C., Co-op Housing Federation of Canada, Alberta Network of Public Housing Agencies, LandlordBC, New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association, Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, and Réseau Québécois des OSBL d’habitation.