Rent is pricey in Parksville

More than half of renters are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on their rental housing

A new Canadian Rental Housing Index shows more than half of renters in Parksville spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

The first ever national index published by a national group of housing and financial organizations including groups like the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association and Vancity credit union breaks down data for more than four million rental households, covering 30 per cent of all housing.

“The number one pocketbook issue for Canadians is housing affordability, and that pocketbook is getting squeezed,” said Tony Roy, chief executive officer of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, calling for more government action.

The index breaks Statistics Canada data on 800 communities into an interactive online map which includes Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo but not Qualicum Beach.

It shows Parksville and the RDN with 51 and 53 per cent respectively, spending more than 30 per cent on accommodation, a threshold Statistics Canada uses to determine housing affordability. Nationally 40 per cent of renters spend more than 30 per cent.

Parksville mayor Marc Lefebvre previously said “availability” is the biggest problem with rental accommodations in the city.

“Affordable housing is a tough nut to crack,” he said, stopping short of connecting the rental availability and cost to economic opportunity in the city.

“Affordable housing is a tough nut to crack,” he said, stopping short of connecting the rental availability and cost to economic opportunity in the city.

He said he wants to work with senior levels of government in the future to tackle the issue.

The average rent in Parksville is $871 or $900 across the RDN, slightly above the $848 national average.

Across the RDN a high 25 per cent of renters also spend more than half their income on rent, compared to 19 per cent nationally and 15 per cent in Parksville. The index calls this “a crisis level of spending.”

While the index highlights well known affordability issues in major cities, it points to a problem in many small communities.

“The health of all communities is dependent on affordable rental housing, and the Canadian Rental Housing Index underscores the need for new investments,” said Linda Morris, Vancity senior vice-president.

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