In my discussion of the Grant Street project, I noted that the proposed rents for the units to be built will not add to the affordable stock in Grandview. I have been asked to justify that statement.
The widely recognized standard of “affordable housing” is defined as housing costing less than 30% of before-tax household income. This definition is used by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Some lending institutions use 32% of income for housing costs as the affordability threshold used to approve mortgages. My comments about affordability always use the CMHC definition.
The latest statistics I have for incomes in Vancouver shows the median annual family income to be $72,600. The average individual annual income is $38,449 (I cannot find the individual median which will be lower than the average, so I will use the average.) Therefore,
– an affordable monthly rent for a median Vancouver family is 30% of $72,600 = $1,815 per month;
– an affordable monthly rent for an average Vancouver single is 30% of $38,449 = $962 per month
Two singles sharing a one bedroom apartment can barely afford $1,800 a month, while a median Vancouver family cannot afford a two-bedroom at $2,300 (which would be close to 40% of their gross income) without sacrificing food or healthcare or other essentials.
So, whenever I carp about affordability, this is what I am talking about.