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Rents are rising up to four times faster than wages in many Canadian cities

Do you ever just, like, pay rent on the first of the month and stare off into the distance wondering how you’ll survive the next 30 days?

The good news is you’re not alone. The bad news is Canada’s housing affordability is bordering on parody.

According to Statistics Canada, there are 14 cities where rent inflation outperformed – if you can call it that – wage growth over the past year.

On average, Canadians saw a 3.8% increase in wages between January 2019 and January 2020. Meanwhile, rents in Halifax and Ottawa rose 15.2% during the same period. Many other cities fared equally terribly. Kingston saw rents increase by 15.1%. Kitchener, 14.8%. Abbotsford, 14.7%. You get the point.

Other cities that saw rents rise significantly more than wages: Victoria, London, Windsor, Hamilton, Burnaby, St. Catharines, Oshawa, Barrie, and Saskatoon.

Toronto and Vancouver, meanwhile, continue to post $2,000+ average rents for a one-bedroom.

Is there good news on the horizon? Unlikely! According to Padmapper, we’re in “a hot market that will most likely continue to grow as we enter into the spring months.”

A big part of the problem is lack of housing. Canada is experiencing rapid population growth while the last decades have seen very little rental housing construction. Subsidies for rental construction stopped in the 1980s, paving the way for the condo economy. That’s great for sellers and speculators. Not so much for people who need an affordable place to life.

Christian Nathler

Christian Nathler is a contributing writer at Notable Life.