It’s not unusual for most newlyweds to live together after tying the knot, but that wasn’t the case for Amber Corke and her husband Cory McGregor who live communally in Esquimalt, sharing a small townhouse with another couple.
“It’s … bit strange as a few people have raised their eyebrows at the fact that we’re a married couple, but we’ve chosen to have roommates for financial reasons and whatnot,” Corke said.
“Because we want to stay close with family right now, we had to make the decision to stay here. But that also means living a … much different life than our parents have been able to experience with the finances that they had,” she said.
Another Islander, Lisa Cadeau, is facing a similar dilemma as she also wants to stay close to family, but is barely scraping by.
She and her partner had to move to Brentwood Bay, paying triple the amount to rent a bigger space.
And her chances at owning a home are slim.
“Unless one of us wins the lottery, it’s not going to happen. Currently, we’re paying half our income to rent right now,” Cadeau said.
“I think we just need to be really careful in how we’re treating the middle working class. These are the people who keep our community going. You need people to work at the grocery store. You need all those people to do those middle jobs. They’re just as important as the high-paying jobs. And when you take away affordable housing, it makes it impossible for those people to continue to live here,” she added.
According to the National Rent Report released by Rentals.ca, the average rent in Canada increased for the third month in a row, rising to rising to $1,752 in July — up 1.8 per cent monthly.
Victoria ranked fourth out of 35 cities for average monthly rent in July for a one-bedroom at $1,756, following Vancouver ($2,185), Toronto ($1,855) and Etobicoke, which is part of Toronto. ($1,802).
These numbers don’t surprise Victoria councillor, Geoff Young.
“We know anecdotally that Victoria is a very tough market to find a place in,” he said.
“The market did soften a bit during COVID, but now with the recovery, people wanting to come back downtown to work, university students re-arriving, obviously the market is tight,” he added.
Young said the City is trying to respond to the housing crisis by developing units around Victoria, although they might not be affordable.
Currently, the city is in phase two of its nine-year housing strategy which aims to increase the diversity of housing choices and affordability in the capital.