News Local

Prices rising for Downtown Eastside studios: city

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

View from the Vancouver Lookout to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
GETTY IMAGES

View from the Vancouver Lookout to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. GETTY IMAGES

Vancouver City Hall says the average price of a studio apartment in the Downtown Eastside has now reached nearly $900 per month — with prices for single room occupancy suites not far behind.

The report, to be presented to council along with the 2016 homeless count on May 31, also suggests that vacancies have sunk so low there are just 337 secured market rental units available, based on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s data.

Even the “last resort” type of rental units — the SROs found in the Downtown Eastside known for their poor conditions and cramped spaces — are now costing an average of $482 to rent. And prices continue to rise.

“The proportion of private SRO rooms renting at or below the $375 shelter rate has decreased from 36% in 2009 to 17% in 2015,” the city said in its report.

“Meanwhile, the proportion of rooms renting at $451 or more has tripled from 14% in 2009 to 41% in 2015.”

The city said in its report it continues to develop non-market social housing to replace the aging SROs, and that the number of non-market housing stock has increased 6% since 2013, primarily attributed to several hundred units that came with the opening of three BC Housing properties.

“The city and its residents urgently require more supportive housing options to address the needs of our most vulnerable residents. The demand for this housing outpaces supply,” the report said.