Vancouver renters offered curtained-off 'private spaces'
Published Thursday, December 4, 2014 8:45AM EST
The real estate market in downtown Vancouver has become so crowded that curtained-off "private spaces" and "bedrooms" scarcely larger than broom closets are being rented out at prices that defy belief.
Vancouver is facing a downtown housing crisis that many say can only be fixed by adding more rental units, but as the going prices skyrocket, experts fear the city’s real estate market could become as unaffordable as New York City and London.
One posting on Craigslist last week is an example of just how crazy the Vancouver market has become.
The ad offers boasts of an availability in a "great apartment" for $630 a month. But the "private space" on offer is simply a curtained-off section of someone's living room, with just enough space inside to lay a mattress down.
Vancouver resident Rosie Reynold says that’s not the only one. Reynold went apartment-hunting on a $1,000 budget, and says she saw other spaces that were simply portioned-off areas of condominiums.
"You open the door and the whole living room would be fenced off to the kitchen," she said.
"It's not something that I'm surprised at," Tom Durning of the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre told CTV Vancouver. "People will do anything to live in downtown Vancouver."
Durning says Vancouver's real estate market will only get worse in the next quarter-century, and the only way to add more rental space is to build taller apartment buildings.
"The predictions are for a million more people in the lower mainland in 25 years," he said.
That spike in demand could move Vancouver closer to the wildly expensive housing markets in the world's largest cities like London, New York and Paris.
Real estate expert Sandra Rinomato recently combed through housing markets in the world's largest cities to see what kind of home is available on a $500,000 budget.
Rinomato found that $479,000 in Toronto could buy an 807 square-foot condo with two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a balcony.
But the best apartment she found for that price was only 322 square feet in Paris.
And in London, $525,000 was enough for a 100 square-foot studio flat on the ground floor of a building in a decent neighbourhood.
"The bed takes up half the condo," Rinomato told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday.