A glaring disparity between North American cities has accentuated in the past decade: housing affordability. As house prices spike in specific locales, they make ownership a dream rather than a reality.
Higher rents also eat away at the disposable incomes of residents. The squeeze means many locals simply must leave, and it spawns homeless populations that include the working poor.
For example, in Vancouver, British Columbia, the median house price is $709,000, while the median household income is $56,000. Theoretically, if 100 percent of pre-tax income were placed towards a home at 0 percent interest, each household would need 12.6 years to complete a purchase. In practical terms, not a chance.
The victims of too few affordable homes are in plain sight: Vancouver’s homeless and shelter populations have ballooned over the past decade. This includes hundreds of able-bodied youths and persistent tent cities in one of the world’s most advanced nations. The majority of surveyed homeless people have incomes but simply can no longer afford rents. In fact, as reported by the Vancouver Courier, four-fifths were paying their rents in the city prior to losing housing access.