We’ve got cheeeeeeap rent. Who knew?

I was surprised to learn the other day that, contrary to public perception, renting accomodations is still fairly cheap in Vancouver (To read what I discovered, check here). Rent increases averaged around 4 per cent last year (which I believe is the maximum allowed under local laws unless renovations are undertaken) while the average home value increase was around 28 per cent, if I recall correctly. Meanwhile, in Calgary, rents got hiked 19.5 per cent. Hence, rents here don’t seem to reflect true market value, much to our city’s benefit.

Of course, one can play with numbers all they want and still come to the conclusion that there just isn’t enough affordable housing in this city. But I’m not sure that any society in the modern world has been able to provide full housing for its citizens (Well, maybe Sweden or Denmark). And what is the obligation of government when its citizens have complete freedom of movement so they can migrate to areas or other cities with cheaper accomodations?

Of course there are other factors at work, here. I’m not saying the owners of rental properties should be able to hike rents without any restriction. I’d have been priced out of Vancouver years before I’d managed to save up enough for a place of my own if that was the case. And if the only people who can afford to live here are the same people buying gourmet cookies for their meticulously-groomed poodles, that would be pretty horrific.

I guess my point, for those who are choked at not getting out of the rent trap because they can’t afford a ridiculous $30,000 downpayment for a modest condo is, it could be worse. We could live in Calgary.

1 Comment so far

  1. Dustin (unregistered) on January 17th, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

    The CBC article reads like a propaganda piece wanting to raise rents here just because people are over-paying to buy real estate in Vancouver.

    Comparing the increases to Calgary where the oil boom is warping things isn’t the best comparison.

    Moving here from Montreal, I can tell you it is way more expensive to rent here. There are a variety of reasons why MTL is cheap, but anybody who thinks Vancouver has the best value in the country is off their rocker.

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