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Where will we live, asks new report

By Zoocasa

Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) released a new report,  Where Will We Live? Ontario's Affordable Rental Housing Crisis, last May to to highlight the growing lack of affordable rental housing choices for low- and moderate-income households in Ontario. In the 16-page document, they called for stronger tenant protections and long-term commitments to housing policies and investments in social, non-profit, and co-op housing.

Magda Barrera, housing and economics policy analyst for ACTO, crunched the numbers from the Census 2016 and CMHC Housing Portal data and came up with some surprising numbers.


Renters in Ontario now constitute over 30 per cent of the total population, and over half of Ontario households between the ages 25 to 34 are renters, so their findings affect all Ontarians.

 Zoocasa compiled seven facts from this report that highlights the challenges that renters in Ontario are facing: 

  1. Living in a purpose-built rental building is cheaper: In Toronto, the average rent for one-bedroom Toronto condos in 2017 was $1,803 while the average rent for a 1 bedroom purpose-built rental was $1,194.
  2.  The poor are more likely to rent: 71 per cent of households with income below $20,000 are renters, compared to only 10 per cent of households with income over $100,000.
  3. Vacancy rates in many part of Ontario are too low and make renters desperate. Hamilton real estate, for example, has a vacancy of just 2.2 per cent. A healthy vacancy rate is between 3-5 per cent.
  4. There’s just not enough rental housing being built: Rentals constituted less than 9 per cent of all new units built since 1990.
  5. It’s more expensive to rent in Ontario than elsewhere in Canada: 8 of the 10 metropolitan areas in Canada with the highest percentage of tenants paying unaffordable rents are in Ontario.
  6. Wages aren’t keeping up with shelter costs: The average income of renter households has increased at a much lower rate than average housing costs between 1991 and 2016.
  7. Homeowners’ income is growing faster than renters: between 1991 and 2016, homeowners’ income grew 84 per cent to renters’ 45 per cent.
  8. The hourly wage necessary for rent to be affordable in Toronto (meaning housing is 30 per cent of your gross income) is a whopping $24. But it’s most expensive to live in Vaughan, where you would need to be making $31. 

Those are some scary numbers!

The solution, according to ACTO, is to build more affordable housing that is solely  for renting. We must also recognize housing as a human right and preserve existing affordable rental units by decreasing financial incentives for landlords to push out sitting tenants.

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