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Toronto renters are the least happy in the country, says StatCan

Toronto renters are the least happy in the country, says StatCan
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Overall satisfaction among renters in multiple unit dwellings is poorest in the Toronto area at just over 60 per cent, followed by Hamilton and Vancouver, according to a recent Statistics Canada survey which measured satisfaction in metropolitan areas across the country. Renters in St. John’s are the most satisfied.

Conducted as part of the national housing strategy, the 2018 Canadian Housing Survey shows satisfaction with affordability in particular at just 48 per cent in Toronto, where the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment tops $2,300. Renters in St. John’s scored much higher on affordability, at 75 per cent satisfied.

Amid high prices in Toronto and strong population growth, the data also reveals that 20 per cent of rental households that are not social housing or affordable housing rated their accommodation as “unsuitable” in 2018 because the dwelling does not have enough bedrooms “for the size and composition of the household.”

“It’s a function of developers building smaller and smaller units,” said Condos.ca co-founder Andrew Harrild, referring to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data showing one-third of Toronto-area condos are rentals.

He said condo developers are catering to investors who are renting units to buyers who have to compromise on space in order to live in an expensive city, adding that condo sizes are generally larger outside of the downtown core.

Condo apartment unit average sizes have fallen to just over 900 square feet at the end of October from about 925 square feet in 2016 according to a report from the Altus Group, a Toronto-based commercial real estate services firm. The report shows prices rising steadily over the period to $924 per square foot.

The Housing Survey, published in late November, shows consumers overall were largely satisfied with their housing, but less so when it came to the affordability and energy efficiency of their dwelling.

Satisfaction with affordability was lower in large urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver than in smaller, rural communities. The study also said that some households dissatisfied with their homes are likely to move soon, including some into home ownership.

“For other households who are not satisfied with their dwelling, moving may not be an option given personal circumstances, financial constraints and housing markets in their area,” the study noted. “For them, housing dissatisfaction, and the circumstances underlying it, may constitute an ongoing source of disadvantage.”

Federal officials are said to be close to finalizing details with provinces and territories on a portable rent supplement that could provide help directly to some of those households, instead of the subsidy being tied to a unit.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., which delivers the strategy’s programs, in an online statement said it would soon have news about agreements with provinces and territories to “unlock more funding for community housing and provide direct benefits to low-income households.”
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