Low income Canadians are going to have a heck of a time finding new rental housing. A Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) analysis shows how much rental stock is affordable by income quintile in 2020. Affordability is defined as purpose-built units that cost less than 30% of each quintile income. For those that skipped stats class, a quintile is one-fifth of a group. As you might expect, those earning the least, can’t afford sufficient housing at market rates. Especially in Toronto or Vancouver, where the bottom fifth can’t even afford a single percent of rentals.
The Bottom Fifth of Households Can’t Afford To Even Rent In Toronto and Vancouver
The lowest quintile, the bottom 20% of households by income, have few options for housing. Both Toronto and Vancouver have only had 0.2% of rentals affordable for this demographic. Montreal is a little better with 15.3% of rental affordable to this quintile. Calgary has a drop off, with only 10.7% of housing affordable for their lowest income level. In all cases, there’s insufficient housing for this particular demographic. In Toronto and Vancouver, don’t even bother moving there if you’re going to be at this income level.
Canadian Rental Affordability By IncomeThe percent of purpose-built rental apartments that are affordable to each household income quintile for selected cities. Source: CMHC, Better Dwelling.
Calgary and Montreal Are Mostly Affordable For The Second Quintile
The second lowest quintile did better, but was insufficient for the demographic size. Only 20.9% of rentals were affordable in Toronto, and 23.9% of rentals in Vancouver. Montreal did significantly better with 62.3% of housing available for the second quintile. Calgary did the best, with 90.3% of housing available for the lowest quintile. In Toronto and Vancouver, the insufficient level of affordable housing would typically cause the second quintile to compete for units. Calgary and Montreal have significantly more room to prevent this, despite the lowest quintile not doing so hot.
The Middle Quintile Can Afford Renting, Assuming Enough Exists
The third quintile, those right in the middle, were able to afford housing in all regions. The third income quintile could afford 71.4% of Toronto’s purpose-built rentals. In Vancouver, that number jumps to 80.9% of rentals.Montreal comes in at a better 86.8%, and 100% of households in this quintile can afford rentals in Calgary. This doesn’t necessarily mean all of these regions have enough purpose built rentals for this income quintile. However, it means they could afford to rent the vast majority of units.
Canadians In The Top 40% of Income Can Afford To Rent
The fourth quintile, or those in the 60 and 80% of the income distribution, find most purpose built rental housing affordable. In Toronto, 97.5% of all rentals would be considered affordable. Vancouver did a little worse, but still – 96.8% of rentals in this category are affordable. Montreal comes in at the lowest, but a still high, 96.5% of rentals considered affordable for this demographic. Calgary still at 100%, obviously since they were affordable for the lower quintile.
As you might expect, all rental types are considered affordable for the top 20% of households, in all four of the cities. Uh, yay?
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