Nearly a third of households in Greater Victoria are struggling to afford the cost of housing.
Nearly a third of households in Greater Victoria are struggling to afford the cost of housing. That’s the key finding in a new report going in front of the Capital Regional District Wednesday.
It’s the first time the region has completed a housing “gap analysis,” with detailed data drawn from dozens of sources compiled for the CRD by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria.
It shows a staggering 48,000 households are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter, and almost a quarter of renters pay more than half of what they earn each month on housing.
“They’re spending income that they really can’t afford on housing and it means of course that they have to give up other things,” said North Saanich mayor Alice Finall, who chairs the CRD’s planning committee.
The report notes average rents have shot up more 30 per cent in the last decade while supply remains low, with vacancy rates hovering around 1.5 per cent.
But renters aren’t alone in facing challenges. Nearly a quarter of owners also paying more than a third of their income on housing costs.
“Sometimes they’re maybe not eating as well as they should. Sometimes their transportation is difficult. And if you’re a family with young children these things are very difficult,” said Finall.
The report doesn’t provide solutions. Its data is intended to form the basis for discussion leading to an update to the region’s housing strategy from 2007.
But Finall says one thing is already clear: the region can’t solve the problem alone.
“I think it certainly shows that we all need to work together to lobby the higher levels of government for much more,” she said.