Did you know that Metro Vancouver has the most expensive housing costs in North America?
That’s right. Rent in the Metro Vancouver area is more expensive than in Toronto, or even New York – and the City of Richmond is close to the front of the pack in terms of cost.
On top of rising costs, there is a very low vacancy rate. Anyone who has looked for rental accommodations recently knows how hard it is to find a suitable home. The lack of rental availability means a lot of searching and frustration. The national rental vacancy rate is 2.2%, in Richmond it is only 1.5%.
And if is hard for the average person, imagine what it is like for people living in poverty.
Combined with the vacancy rate, high costs are making it harder and harder for the average family to find a home in Richmond, let alone an affordable one.
Over 20% of Richmond residents live in poverty, which affects new immigrants, seniors, people on a fixed income, and children disproportionately. As Richmond housing costs continue to escalate, rents are rising out of the reach of many people.
There are many reasons for this pressure. Older homes and apartments used for rentals are knocked down to build expensive homes and condominiums. Homes have become so expensive that our adult children who grew up here cannot afford to live here. Pensioners are being forced to sell their homes because their assessments and taxes have risen beyond their means.
With the population of Richmond estimated to grow by almost 30% over the next two decades, the problem will only get worse if we don’t take action today.
Fortunately there are many steps we can take as a community to move forward.
Secondary suites and carriage houses are the best and fastest ways to create more rental space. Secondary suites double as a great way for homeowners to supplement their income while creating affordable housing options.
The City of Richmond has taken a step forward by legalizing secondary suites, but it is the citizens of Richmond who need to take the next step.
The Richmond Rental Connect project hopes to aid in this step by connecting Homeowners and Landlords with Tenants.
Please read more about how you can get involved in the Rental Connect project.