Montreal can usually boast about its inexpensive rent and about how easy it is to find an apartment, with good reason. The city has historically had low rent prices and stable vacancy rates. But that is starting to change.
Many newspaper outlets, as well as a city councillor, are warning residents about a "housing crisis." With many leases ending on July 1, there is a strong possibility that some renters will end up on the street, at least temporarily, according to Vice.
If you have been scouring apartment listings on every website you can think of to no avail, you might be wondering what, or who is to blame. The answer is a complicated network of interrelated factors.
The Montreal Housing Crisis
Alarm bells started ringing many months ago when officials noted that the vacancy rate, which has been falling for four years, dropped to 1.9% in 2018. The vacancy rate dips below 1% for in-demand boroughs like the Plateau.
A healthy housing market has a rental housing vacancy rate of about 3%, according to Vice. Low vacancy rates create competition between renters and raise the prices of in-demand apartments.
Airbnb To Blame
A large portion of the blame lies with Airbnb and other short-term rental companies.
Francis Cortellino, an economist that spoke to Métro also points a finger at the high number of non-permanent residents like students and temporary workers.
Cortellino also singles out millennials as a cause of the crisis (because millennials are to blame for everything). Because many millennials are delaying their entry into the housing market, many are still renting.
There is also the problem of retired people, many of whom are selling their homes and going back to leasing apartments.
A Ray Of Hope
The situation is not all doom and gloom, luckily. Some steps are being taken to ensure that families do not end up on the street on July 1.
The city of Montreal has an Inclusion of Affordable Housing in New Residential Projects Strategy in place to ensure that developers include social housing and affordable housing in their projects.
The city is also cracking down on Airbnb ownership, putting in new rules that will limit the company's impact on the housing market.
Read about city counsellors labelling this a housing crisis, and what is being done about Airbnb on Global News.