For BCBusiness Magazine: Will the Sharing Economy Disrupt Where You Live?

Credit: Blake Wicz/Unsplash

Credit: Blake Wicz/Unsplash

Interest in renting has increased as the value we place on home ownership changes. But what will disrupt rentals?

This is an invitation to have a big think about how the new sharing economy will impact the costliest item most people will ever contend with: their home. As baby boomers age and downsize, as new homebuyers enter the market and as new families form, questions about housing never seem to be too far from anyone’s mind.

Here’s something I’ve observed: for all kinds of reasons, cost being just one, the value we place on home ownership is changing. Admitting in polite company that you rent your home doesn’t mark you as an underachiever as much as it once did, because it’s the only affordable option left for an increasing number of people. As a result, there’s renewed interest in purpose-built rentals, both in constructing them and in living in them.

The most recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. report available shows that Metro Vancouver’s renter rate increased to 36.3 percent in 2016 from 34.5 percent in 2011. Although the stats are a couple of years old, it’s a fairly simple matter to connect the dots. Home ownership has gotten expensive, so renting has become more alluring.

But everything is eventually disrupted by something shiny and new, so now that traditional apartment rentals are the newest new thing, what newer thing comes next?