It won't be a surprise to those on the hunt for a place to live - it's not getting any easier to find affordable rental housing in the Tri-Cities.
Last week, the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group released its first annual housing affordability report, a document focused on providing indicators of living affordability in the three cities.
According to the report, the average rents for apartments have increased six per cent to $794 from $746 in 2008.
The rents for an average two-bedroom apartment climbed to $989 from $933 in 2008.
But the report notes the rates reflect purpose-built rental units.
The market rent for a new one-bedroom apartment is in the $1,000 to $1,100 range.
Sandy Burpee, chair of the task force, said the report is intended to bring more attention to the lack of affordable housing for low and low-to moderate-income households in the Tri-Cities.
"It's part of moving that issue to the front burner," he said. "I don't think anyone's too surprised that a lot of the housing these days is not affordable to lower-income households."
The report also pointed out the potential impact the Evergreen Line stations at Moody Centre and Burquitlam might have on purpose-built rental stock, noting nearly a quarter of Coquitlam's stock - or 1,200 units - is within a 10-minute walk from the Burquitlam station and was built in the 1960s and 1970s.
"It's going to be difficult to replace aging rental stock with rental stock that will continue to be affordable to the people living there without very significant financial incentives for developers," he said.
Another finding from the report shows an increase in the number of people living in secondary suites, with less than a quarter of all rentals coming from purpose-built units.
Burpee said he was surprised by the finding and suggested city policies to encourage secondary suites in new housing are "well placed."
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said he likes the report because it provides the structure and detail his city can use as it analyzes housing needs in the community.
He said the biggest challenge for the next few years is to find a way of replacing the market rental housing built in the 60s and 70s nearing the end of its life.
Stewart argued it would be inappropriate to penalize landlords of rental buildings by allowing other developers to build market condos.
"We have to find a way to make it economically viable to produce replacement rental housing in those instances where the redevelopment is taking some market rental," he said.
Though Stewart indicated incentives could be one mechanism to spur construction of new rental units, he suggested they often don't work economically because of the high cost of land in Metro Vancouver.
"Our goal has to be to make sure that there is a wide range of housing, diverse choice in housing to satisfy the needs of our residents," he said.
Though the last census data from 2006 showed that 31 per cent of Tri-Cities renters were considered in "core housing need" or spending more than 30 per cent of their gross income on shelter, Burpee expects that number will have grown when the new census data from 2011 is available later this fall.
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