How Much You Need To Make To Afford Rent In Quebec

More than a quarter of Montrealers spend over 30% of their income on rent.

Staff Writer
The Montreal skyline on a winter day.

The Montreal skyline on a winter day.

Ask any Montrealer and you'll soon learn that the housing market is in crisis. A new report released by the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), an organization that advocates for housing rights, confirms these anecdotes: housing in Quebec is a dire struggle, for some more than others.

In their 25-page report, FRAPRU notes that the vacancy rate should be 3% to consider the market "balanced," per the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The CMHC's 2022 report revealed that markets across Quebec fell well below this threshold. In Montreal, the sum reaches that 3% number, but Laval as well as other northern and southern municipalities have vacancy rates as low as 0.5%.

The fewer homes available, the more power landlords hold, FRAPRU wrote. "However, it should not be assumed that a balanced market means an end to rent increases, let alone a decrease." In Montreal, the "balanced" market still led to an 8.6% increase in average rent from $846 in 2019 to $919 in 2021.

Plenty of available homes are being funnelled into Airbnb, according to FRAPRU investigations into Airbnb data. In April 2022, Quebec had 24,756 occupied homes listed on Airbnb, including nearly 10,000 rental properties. Montreal was home to a full half of these properties on its own.

Across Quebec, the average rent increased from $800 in 2019 to $873 in 2021, a 9.1% increase. The income needed to afford the average Quebec apartment without spending more than 30% of your income is now $34,920. In 2019, the median after-tax income for an individual was $32,700, according to government statistics.

For two-bedroom rentals, the average rent was $1,316 in the spring of 2022. For this rent, tenants would need an annual income of $52,640 to avoid spending over 30% of their revenue on housing alone.

The 2021 census, per FRAPRU, found 373,615 tenants spending over 30% of their income on rent — just over a quarter of the total number of renters in the province. In Montreal, the percentage increases to 27.8% of renters paying over 30% towards housing.

Out of the 402,990 Québécois renters earning less than $30,000 each year, "65% pay a higher than average rent."

FRAPRU connects these issues with the fight against homelessness, which, it says, "must include funding for social housing on a much larger scale, but also a greater federal contribution to the fight against poverty." The organization is also calling on Ottawa to discourage real estate speculation and provide funds to house Indigenous communities. These communities are, on average, hit harder by housing crises, according to FRAPRU.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Willa Holt
Staff Writer
Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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