New report breaks down Quebec’s housing crisis and how much you need to earn to pay average rent

Ask any Montrealer and you’ll soon learn that the the housing market is in crisis. A new report released by the Front d’action populaire en réménagement urbain (FRAPRU), an organization that defends the right to housing, confirms these anecdotes: housing in Quebec is a fierce struggle, for some more than for others.

In their 25 page report, FRAPRU notes that the vacancy rate should be 3% to consider the market “balanced”, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). CMHC’s 2022 report found that markets across Quebec have fallen well below this threshold: in Montreal, the sum hits that 3% figure, but Laval and other northern and southern municipalities have rates as low as 0.5%.

The less housing available, the more power landlords have, wrote FRAPRU. “However, it should not be assumed that a balanced market means the end of rent increases, let alone a decrease.” In Montreal, the “balanced” market still led to an 8.6% increase in the average rent, from $846 in 2019 to $919 in 2021.

Many available homes are routed to Airbnb, according to FRAPRU surveys of Airbnb data. In April 2022, Quebec had 24,756 occupied dwellings listed on Airbnb, including nearly 10,000 rental properties. Montreal alone was home to half of these properties.

Across Quebec, the average rent has gone from $800 in 2019 to $873 in 2021, an increase of 9.1%. The income required to afford an average Quebec apartment without spending more than 30% of one’s income is now $34,920. In 2019, the median after-tax income of an individual was $32,700, according to government statistics.

For two-bedroom rentals, the average rent was $1,316 in the spring of 2022. For this rent, tenants would need an annual income of $52,640 to avoid spending more than 30% of their income just on living. lodging.

The 2021 census, by FRAPRU, found that 373,615 renters spent more than 30% of their income on rent, just over a quarter of the total number of renters in the province. In Montreal, the percentage increases to 27.8% of tenants paying more than 30% for housing.

Of the 402,990 Quebec tenants earning less than $30,000 annually, “65% pay above-average rent.”

FRAPRU links these issues to the fight against homelessness which, he says, “must include funding for social housing on a much larger scale, but also a greater federal contribution to the fight against poverty”. The organization is also calling on Ottawa to discourage real estate speculation and provide funds to house Indigenous communities, which on average are harder hit by housing crises, according to FRAPRU.

The cover image of this article was used for illustrative purposes only.

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