Affordable Housing

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.

3 Responses to Affordable Housing

  1. R.O.T.W.U. says:

    Your adoption of the “affordable” frame erected by a corporate mortgage booster like the CMHC is laughable and anti-social.

    In other words, “If you aren’t that person that makes the median income, screw you. Live elsewhere. Stay the hell out of Jak’s neighbourhood.”

    Per the 2016 Census, 53% of Vancouver people are renters. What are their incomes? Too hard. Didn’t try. Can’t be known.

    Perhaps a true definition of “affordable” should use the data that’s already in place and build a formula based on that.

    Perhaps a rental housing project should be legally required to provide units at several points of the income distribution curve, not just the median.

    Perhaps a unit that is above the revised definition of “affordable” for the renter in question should be eligible for public subsidy.

    It would be a lovely day if you’d stop parroting those who can’t (or won’t) solve Vancouver’s housing problem and propose some solutions other than NIMBY-ism.

  2. jakking says:

    The incomes I have used come from the 2016 Census and include all renters. That was a bit too hard for you to grasp, I guess. Here I am pushing for rents that should be affordable for those at or BELOW the median, and yet you complain about that, claiming I said quite the opposite. You reveal your true purpose when you suggest giving the developer a “public subsidy” for any suite that they choose to make unaffordable. They are already getting a break on CACs and DCLs and now you want to give them even more profit from the public purse! Better solution is to cap the profit margin. Don’t you agree? No surprise you hide behind a phoney name, not brave enough to own your own words.

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