Tuesday, July 23, 2019

How High are Rents Today?

We hear a lot about how tough it is for young people to afford sky-high rents today. However, many of the articles I read measure affordability of renting for a single person of modest income. When I was young, few young people could afford rent on their own. Most rented rooms in a house or went in with one or two others to cover rent. This left me wondering if rents really are tougher to afford than when I was young.

The last time I rented was decades ago, but I still remember what I paid. Using the CPP maximum pensionable earnings as a proxy for the rise of wages, the townhouse I rented years ago with my wife should cost $1180 per month today. But, a nearly identical place currently rents for $1760 per month.

This is just a single example, but it appears to be typical of rents across my city. Renting now takes about a 50% bigger bite out of wages than it did when I was young.

So, to the baby boomers who remember how hard it was to make rent decades ago and who might doubt that it’s harder now: yes, young people have it tougher today when it comes to rent.


  1. Hence why more of them have to continue living with their parents or family, just to be able to afford rental units. I have no idea how they do it in Toronto, where they can reno-vict you at the drop of a hat.

    1. @Big Cajun Man: Young people definitely have to find at least one other person to share the rent.