Archive for November 2012 | Monthly archive page

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Soaring rents, owner-occupation evictions, and line-ups and bidding wars on rental units.  This is what you can expect as renter in the GTA.

Rental demand in the city has been surging, due in part to high real estate prices and lifestyle factors.  The vacancy rate in the city has steadily dropped from a recent high of 3.5% in 2009 to around 1.4% today.  The condo boom in the city has given the illusion of a lot of supply, but these new units are not keeping up with demand for rental units.  In addition, many of the newly purchased units will not come online for 3-5 years.  The condo market supplies approximately 5000 new rental units each year, but with approximately 10,000 new renter households per year in the GTA, there is a huge gap between supply and demand.

The result of this supply-demand imbalance is bidding wars on rental condos, rent offers hundreds of dollars over asking, line-ups and demanding application screening processes for renters as young professionals, families, and students all compete for the same small supply of rental units.

These challenges highlight the need for new purpose-built rental housing in the GTA.  Purpose-built rental provides a number of key benefits over rental-condos, including enhanced housing stability and increased affordability over time.  In fact, the effects on affordability would likely be even more immediate given that renters are currently paying a premium for the high-end finishes and amenities of rental-condo units (a 40% premium according to CMHC).

The experience of renters in the GTA is common in cities all across Canada.  The Canadian Rental Housing Coalition is building multi-stakeholder support from local government, development and real estate industries, non-profit rental housing groups, tenant rights organizations and rental housing managers to send a strong message to the Federal Government to provide incentives for the creation of purpose-built rental housing.  Please read our Charter and add your organization’s endorsement here: The CRHC Charter.

Related articles on the rental experience in the GTA:

Rental condos new bidding-war battleground
Toronto Star

Condo boom backfiring on renters
Toronto Star

It’s a renters’ revolution: Spiffy condos for the tenacious and brave of heart
National Post

Students still can’t find rooms – in October


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The City of North Vancouver recently approved the development of a 77-storey mixed-use condo building in the Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood that will contain 18 market rental units.  The units were made possible through a two-floor density bonus granted by the City.  This development reignited a long standing debate in the city, and one that is common on councils across the region – Is the provision of market rental housing enough to justify additional density and allow developers to avoid contributing cash or other community amenities?  In the end, council decided in favour of the density bonus in exchange for the new market rental housing, citing that the addition of new rental housing contributes to net affordability in the city and is consistent with the City’s official community plan.

The City of North Vancouver should be commended for taking the necessary steps to address the need for rental housing in their community.  In the absence of senior government leadership on housing, municipalities are forced to find their own ways to address their community’s housing needs.  If senior governments were to develop policy and incentives to encourage the development of purpose-built rental, there would be less pressure on local governments to forgo community amenity contributions in favour of market rental housing.  This is precisely what the Canadian Rental Housing Coalition Charter advocates for.  The City of North Vancouver is one of 27 municipalities and housing organizations to endorse the CRHC Charter.  Read the CRHC Charter and to add your organization’s endorsement: The CRHC Charter.

Related Media:
Condo approval reignites city rental debate
North Shore News


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