According to a new study by a coalition of affordable housing groups in six provinces and the Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, one in five Canadian renters are spending more than half their income on shelter costs.
While rents tend to be highest in cities such as Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, the communities facing the greatest affordability crisis tended to be the suburbs, where home prices have been soaring and developers have built little in the way of rental apartments or social housing.
In the Toronto area, average rents are higher in suburban communities such as Milton and Vaughan than in the City of Toronto. Mississauga ranked among the worst cities in the country when it comes to a shortage of affordable rental housing, according to the study. It used data on income and rents from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending for more than 1,000 municipalities and regions.
In Whitchurch-Stouffville, a suburb north of the city, 30% of renters spend more than half their income on shelter costs, the highest in the province and well above the 22% of renters in Toronto.
Affordable-housing advocates say soaring rents in the suburbs are a symptom of a lack of low-cost rental supply in the major cities, where the bulk of the new rental stock has come from high-priced, investor-owned condos.
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It’s certainly not news to landlords spoiled for choice in terms of tenants that Canadians are struggling to find affordable housing, but it’s especially bad in the in suburbs.