For millennials in Vancouver, the living ain’t easy

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The typical millennial couple who buys a home in Vancouver will have no discretionary income and will rack up debt of $2,745 a year, study finds.

When it comes to discretionary income, millennials living in Vancouver fare far worse than their counterparts across the country.

The Canadian and B.C. governments are complicit in fuelling Vancouver’s housing crisis as foreign Chinese buyers continue to shut local residents out of the market, a new study says. Read on

In fact, according to a new report by Vancity, a typical millennial couple — those between the ages of 25 and 34 — buying a home at an average price in Vancouver will have no discretionary income and will rack up debt of $2,745 per year after paying for essential expenses including taxes, health care, food, utilities, transit costs, clothing and housing.

By comparison, Edmonton has the highest discretionary income in Canada for a typical millennial couple: $47,356.

The report, No Funds City: Why Vancouver Millennials Have the Lowest Discretionary Income in Canada, found that Vancouver millennials have the least amount of discretionary income compared with their counterparts in nine other Canadian cities.

Among other things, the report also concluded that in 2015, a typical Vancouver millennial household of two earned $72,291 — the second-lowest rate in Canada — while annual costs for an average home in Metro Vancouver in 2016 is $44,354, the highest in the country.

As well, about 16 per cent of families who rent in Vancouver are overcrowded in their current housing arrangement, and the overall vacancy rate for rentals in Metro Vancouver is under one per cent.

As for possible solutions, the report recommends creating incentives for developing affordable, family-friendly housing, and dramatically increasing support for rental housing.

“I think the most interesting thing about (this report) is the idea of discretionary income (the amount of money left over after paying for the basic requirements of life),” said William Azaroff, Vancity’s vice-president of community investment. “And the discretionary income levels of millennials who live in this area and earn an average salary and pay an average amount for housing is such that they don’t have a lot left over to build up quality of life. You’re talking about a cohort that’s setting down roots, which is building toward their future, maybe having kids, so it’s just such a critical age not to have discretionary income.

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