Joel Moon never thought living in Vancouver would be this straining as he seeks an independent life, and now he’s considering leaving for good.
Moon, 22, works graveyard shifts, many of them 12 hours long, as a packer at Frito-Lay. His average workweek of 65 hours allows him to earn more than $40,000 a year, but he pays $1,312 in rent at his one-bedroom apartment near Mountain View High School.
“I can never save enough money,” Moon said. He dropped out of Clark College when the pandemic began because it was too expensive, but one day he hopes to resume his education and become a teacher. “I think moving away from Vancouver and finding somewhere with a lower cost of living would be great.”
Moon is but one of thousands of local tenants experiencing increased housing costs. There are 31,600 apartment units in Vancouver, according to CoStar, a commercial real estate information company, and most renters are dealing with increasing rents: In 2011, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver was $684 a month. At the end of last year, it was $1,343.
With rent hikes outpacing wage growth, tenants are working more, moving to a more affordable city, living with roommates longer or moving back in with their parents. Many tenants can’t save enough for a down payment on a house.