Toronto rent affordability tanking as prices skyrocket: report

By Amanda Ferguson

Toronto rental affordability continues to become almost out-of-reach for many GTA residents.

The 2018 Canadian Rental Housing index out Monday says nearly one quarter of all renters in the GTA are now spending more than half of their gross income on rent. 

Jill Atkey, spokesperson for BC’s non-profit housing association, says increased spending habits is becoming the new normal for people.

“We’ve seen 30 percent (of income spent on rent) is our commonly accepted threshold, but what’s becoming the new normal is that more people are spending more than 30 percent of their income,” she said.

For the first time in a decade, the demand for rental housing is outpacing ownership — driving rent prices higher. The average price for a two bedroom condo for rent in the GTA now sits at just over $2,300 a month.

Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Markham are among the Canadian communities joining Toronto as places where roughly one-third of renters are spending around half their income on rent — statistics that worry financial experts like Darren Coleman.

“The amount of personal debt that Canadians are carrying just keeps on rising, ” he said. ” We all want a nice lifestyle, and if we can’t afford them out of our day-to-day cash flow, we’re going to borrow to do that, so as our cost of living is going up, so is our debt.”

Something Coleman adds is stopping Canadians for saving for retirement.

“We’re going to see people working longer in their working lives. But certainly for many people, having a balanced plan is the goal and when one or two things are out of balance something else is going to have to give,” Coleman said. “Having a plan and knowing what the right ratio is for you specifically is really critical.”

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