Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Regina Tenants Getting Screwed? A look at house prices, rents and wages

March 6, 2013

Media have been all over the story of the Regina tenants who are looking at a 77% rent increase after the building they live in now has a new owner from Calgary.

From the cbc

According to the residents, the typical rent for a unit was around $700. For some, the new rent was set at around $1,200.

Residents compared notes and estimate that, on average, rents were going up by about 77 per cent.
"I realize a rent increase is inevitable," Donna Kerr, who has lived in the building for 31 years, told CBC News Monday. "But they didn't have do it $520 in one foul swoop."

For some, the notice of a rent hike may as well have been an eviction notice as they can not afford the higher rent.

The increases, however, fall within what is allowed in Saskatchewan as residents were notified six months in advance.

Here is growth in average weekly wages in Saskatchewan, inflation in Regina, average house prices and average rent growth in Regina from 1992 to 2012.

Here is growth since 2006.

Average Weekly Wage Growth = 29%
Average Rent Growth = 55%
Average House Price Growth = 129%

Rents are paid with wages, homes are paid with credit. I've seen pictures and video of this apartment, it is nothing special. The "market value" has been driven up by credit not wages. Just like most other places throughout Saskatchewan.

Here is a comment left that should make people think twice about the "boom"

I've been on disability for almost 5 yrs and my income isn't keeping pace anymore with the small rent increases my neighbours and I are subject to every year. My family and friends have all left the city so there's no one left to take me in if this ever happens where I live. And I have illnesses that make it necessary for me to live alone and stay in the city to access treatment.

Since I left work, I've been forbidden by those who provide my benefits to take any classes to keep my skills up or obtain new ones and now I can't afford to do that on my own in a way that would keep them from knowing. So the only job I could even qualify for (if I were ever deemed fit to work again) would be a low-to-no-skill minimum wage job and it would take at least three full time ones to pay my expenses, especially if I lost the medical benefits that pay for all the medications I'm on. In fact, I doubt I could afford them even then.

Elsewhere, rent has increased 40+ per cent since I moved in to my home and it's a form of low income housing but if that ever changes (and it can in this case), I will be homeless and lose everything. And with the rental vacancy rate being as low as it is, if this keeps happening, there will be hundreds--even thousands--of homeless people in this city before long.

I've been homeless twice in my life and they were the most horrifying times of my life.

I could not deal with being homeless again. The very thought makes me sick and hearing this story on the news tonight put a shockwave through my body at the very idea that it's happening to anyone because that means it's closer to everyone who rents.

As for me, I've already made up my mind that the day I lose my home again will be the last day of my life. I'm just not that strong anymore.

If we can not protect the most vulnerable in society, then how can we say that quality of life is improving in this province? This is what happens during housing booms. Many people in high positions in real estate in this province need to wake the fuck up. If this was their mother, or father or children, would they be beating the drum of " high house prices are good"?

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