Rents at proposed ‘affordable’ Kitsilano project higher than average Vancouver West Side rates

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      Another rezoning involving “for-profit affordable rental housing” is up for public hearing by Vancouver city council.

      So far, the current council has approved all applications for these developments that have come before it.

      Only councillor Jean Swanson has consistently voting against the projects, which critics say are not affordable housing.

      On April 2 this year, council will hold a public hearing on a rezoning application for 2715 West 12th Avenue, a rental townhouse development.

      The proposed rents at the Kitsilano-area project are market rates, and will start on the day of the public hearing.

      A city staff report indicates that the starting rents are higher than average rents in “newer buildings” in the West Side of Vancouver.

      A renter has to have an income of at least $70,000 a year to afford the cheapest place in this development.

      Monthly rents for a studio will start at $1,768 on the day of the public hearing. The developer can increase rents yearly after that. The starting rate is higher than the average market rate of $1,694 for a studio in the same side of the city.

      The staff report notes that a newer building is one that was completed in 2008 or later.

      For a one bedroom, the proposed starting rate is $2,056. It is higher than the average rate for a similar unit at $1,873.

      The same goes for a two-bedroom at a starting monthly rent of $2,703. That’s higher than the average $2,689 rent for a comparable unit in the West Side.

      A three-bedroom is proposed to rent starting at $3,559. The city staff report notes that there is no data available for a comparable unit.

      The staff report also provides a range of incomes at which the proposed starting rents are deemed “affordable”.

      “As per Statistics Canada, affordable housing is defined as shelter costs equal to less than 30% of total before-tax household income,” according to the report.

      For a studio with a starting monthly rent of $1,768, the unit is deemed affordable for someone earning $70,000 - $79,999 a year.

      For a one-bedroom unit renting at $2,056, that is considered affordable for earners with a $80,000 - $89,999 income.

      For a two-bedroom rental at a rate of $2,703, it’s deemed affordable households with incomes of  $100,000 to $124,999.

      For a three-bedroom renting at $3,559, it’s reckoned to be affordable for those earning $125,000 to $149,999.

      Based on the report, renters can at least think that it’s cheaper than paying mortgage and other costs.

      “When compared to home ownership costs, the proposed rents in this application will provide an affordable alternative to homeownership, particularly for the larger units,” the report explains.

      How rents starting on the day of the April 2, 2019 public hearing stack up to average rents in newer buildings and homeownership costs.

      The application is deemed eligible for an exemption from payment of development cost levies or DCLs to the city.

      The value of the DCL waiver is estimated at $187,768, which is basically a subsidy for the developer.

      The rezoning application was filed by MCM Partnership and JTA Development Consultants on behalf of 2715 West 12th Investments Ltd.

      Now vacant, City Life Church used to welcome parishioners at the property.

      The project involves a 3.5-storey townhouse development with 14 so-called affordable rental units.  

      A renter has to earn at least $70,000 a year to afford the cheapest unit at the proposed development.
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