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Condos, rising rent, and homeownership: housing in Greater Victoria, by the numbers

New Statistics Canada data shows two out of five Victorians are paying more 30% of income in rent

By Jolene Rudisuela
September 23, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Condos, rising rent, and homeownership: housing in Greater Victoria, by the numbers

New Statistics Canada data shows two out of five Victorians are paying more 30% of income in rent

Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Condos, rising rent, and homeownership: housing in Greater Victoria, by the numbers

New Statistics Canada data shows two out of five Victorians are paying more 30% of income in rent

By Jolene Rudisuela
September 23, 2022
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Condos, rising rent, and homeownership: housing in Greater Victoria, by the numbers
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

New Statistics Canada data shows that Greater Victorians are having a harder time than other Canadians when it comes to housing. And British Columbia as a whole is the most unaffordable province for housing in Canada. 

More than 10 million households owned their own home last year across Canada, and five million households rented. But the increase in the number of renters in the past five years is double the rate of growth of new homeowners, according to the data released on Wednesday. 

In Greater Victoria, about 37% of households rent. This number has stayed fairly consistent since the last census in 2016. 

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New builds are increasingly being dedicated to renters: half of new dwellings built in Greater Victoria between 2016 and 2021 are occupied by renters. This compares to the national average of 40%, the highest it’s been since the 1960s. 

The region also has the fourth-highest percentage of people living in condos in the country, with a fifth of Greater Victorians—most commonly, millennials—calling a condo home. Condos, the report says, are a “gateway to homeownership.”

From 2016 to 2021, Greater Victoria’s growth rate reached 8%, while the population of Victoria’s downtown, the densest area in the region, grew faster by 12.3%, a pattern that’s being seen in many renter-heavy Canadian cities.

Affordability

Across the country, fewer people own their homes, down from a peak in 2011. BC in particular recorded the third-largest decline in homeownership between 2011 and 2021. 

Homeownership simply remains out of reach for many; in Greater Victoria, the median price for a single-family home in August was $1.1 million, down from a March peak of $1.3 million. 

Renting, however, is also out of reach for some. 

According to the latest Rentals.ca report, Greater Victoria is the fifth-most expensive Canadian region for a one-bedroom apartment, which cost $2,098 last month. A two-bedroom rented for an average of $2,871 in August—the third most expensive out of 35 Canadian regions.

Greater Victorians, as a result, are paying more than a healthy rent each month. A common measure of affordability is 30% of income going toward the cost of housing, but Statistics Canada data shows that 40% of tenant households spent that much or more on shelter costs, while only 17% of homeowners did. The data shows that both groups paid a similar median monthly cost. 

While more Canadians are choosing to live alone, because of high costs of living, roommate households have become the fastest growing living arrangement in Canada, while more people are living in multi-generational homes and others sharing a vanishing class of multi-tenant rentals

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