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Friday, March 2, 2012

Highest and lowest rent cities in Canada


Rents vary. It depends on the size of the space, the condition, the neighbourhood and the community. It also depends on the vacancy rate - the percentage of apartments that are available to rent - and the demand to live in that city. We looked at the average price of a two bedroom apartment across Canada. Here are the five most expensive and five cheapest cities to rent in.
* Based on CMHC Rental Market Statistics in census metropolitan areas in October, 2011

Lowest rent cities:  Trois-Riveres          $547

While the highest rental properties are predominantly in Western Canada, the lower end of the scale is east of Ontario. Trois-Riveres, about half way between Montreal and Quebec, has the cheapest rent of major cities. Trois-Riveres peaked in the late 1960s with the establishment of the Unversite du Quebec a Trois-Riveres and the declaration of the old city as an ''historic sector.'' Since then it has faded in importance in comparison to Quebec and Montreal.

Sherbrooke          $577

In the heart of the Eastern Townships, Sherbrooke is home to eight post-secondary institutions meaning there is more than 10 students for every 100 permanent residents. So many students create a high demand for rental accommodation, of which Sherbrooke seems to have plenty of with the second highest vacancy rate on the list. While Sherbrooke used to be a major manufacturing centre, this sector has been hard hit.

Saguenay          $557

It may be because Saguenay is the last major urban area between Quebec City and the Arctic that has one of the lowest vacancy rates on the list, 1.1%. But its location may also explain why rents are a fraction of other centres with similar vacancy rates. You have to have a reason to be in Saguenay. Big draws include working for the aluminum giant Rio Tinto Alcan or one of the city's three hydroelectric power stations. 

Saint John          $670

Historically a major player in the shipbuilding industry, Saint John is an industrial town struggling to modernize. Shipbuilding ceased in 2002, but under the guidance of the Irving family there is still plenty of heavy industry including an oil refinery and pulp mill. It also houses a number of call centres established thanks to government incentives. Small neighbourhoods have been gentrified, but most of it remains a working class town.

Moncton          $715

Known as the ''Hub City,'' the underpinnings of Moncton's economy and, thus the draw to the city, is as a distribution, transportation and retail centre for the Maritimes. A number of regionally important companies have their head offices in Moncton. As a truly bilingual city, it has attracted call centres of many national companies including the Royal Bank of Canada, UPS and Rogers. 

Highest rent cities:  Victoria          $1045

Whether it is a Victorian house, a new condo or low-rise building, apartments are hard to come by in Victoria. Although it is the smallest of the expensive rental list, it attracts people because of its climate and beauty. As the capital of British Columbia, the government is also a drawing card.

Calgary          $1084

Although the oil sands are a long way away from Calgary, the offices of the oil companies are in Calgary. The spin off industries such as financing, sales and marketing are also based in Calgary. The demand for accommodation is obvious. What is surprising is it has the highest vacancy rate of all the top five rental cities.

Ottawa          $1086

There will always be a need for people in Ottawa. Unlike Toronto or Vancouver, Ottawa does not have as many high-rise rental buildings and, as a result, has relative fewer apartments. It's vacancy rate is tied with Vancouver for second lowest in the country. On top of that, there are all those embassy employees who are happy to let their governments pay a little extra so don't try too hard to negotiate the rent down.

Toronto          $1149

With the lowest vacancy rate in the country, it's not surprising that Toronto's rents would be so high. Still a major economic centre that draws people looking for work, the demand for apartments is high. Like Vancouver the condo boom has knocked down some of the cheaper rental accommodations in favour of high-priced condos. 

Vancouver          $1237

Vancouver, once a sleepy little city, surged on the economic rise of Asia and the take over of Hong Kong by China. For the last 20 years, low-income apartments have been replaced by fancy condos. With the downtown squeezed onto a small peninsula, there isn't much room for expansion so competition for the limited number of apartments drives the price up.

By Ijeoma Ross

Are rich people less ethical than poor people?

Rich people get a bad rap in pop culture. Think about movies like Wall Street (or the absolutely awful Wall Street 2), which paints financiers in a less than stellar light, or even The Devil Wears Prada, where the main character manipulates everyone around her in order to stay on top. These are only two examples of popular images depicting shady, unethical businesspeople. Is there any truth to the idea that rich folks are less principled? According to a new study, the classification is accurate.

Researchers at the University of California and the University of Toronto published results on Monday that showed rich people as more likely to engage in unethical behaviours like cutting off motorists, lying in negotiations, and cheating to win a prize. The study is based on a number of tests conducting on undergraduate students and adults. The findings were also consistent across all ages, genders, ethnicities, religions, and political associations.

In the first two tests, researchers looked at driving habits. They found that upper-class drivers were more likely to cut off other cars and pedestrians waiting at crosswalks. A person’s social class was determined here by their age, vehicle make, and appearance. Considering the number of people I know who live well beyond their means – and drive vehicles reflecting that - this seems like a subpar means of classifying people. In any case, those deemed poorer were more courteous on the road.

In another series of tests, researchers found that people who considered themselves “upper class” were more likely to take valued items from others. This included candy, even when they were told that the leftovers would be going to children. Is it possible rich people are really concerned about childhood obesity, and that’s why they don’t want to give candy to children? I mean, Michelle Obama is really into it – and she’s rich. Okay, probably not.

Unsurprisingly, affluent people were also deemed to be more unethical in their business dealings. Richer people were found to be more likely to lie during negotiations, and to cheat in order to win a prize. Researchers relate these behaviours back to the upper class participants’ more favourable attitudes toward greed.

"We found a trend that upper-class individuals -- people that have the most money, the most income, the best education and the most prestigious job -- have a tendency to engage in less ethical behaviour," said Stephane Cote, associate professor of organisational behaviour and psychology at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. "This doesn't mean that every rich person will behave less ethically than any less-rich person... But we found a tendency. So if you look across people in a variety of settings, the higher-class people tend to engage in more unethical behaviour."

I wonder if people act more dishonorable because of their surroundings. When you throw a nice kid in with all of the mean kids, they sometimes come out being the cruelest one. I learned that from Mean Girls. In all seriousness, though, if everyone around you is unethical, perhaps you need to be a bit devious to get ahead. I’m not condoning these actions, but simply trying to wrap my mind around them. I would still give MY candy to kids.

The researchers were clear to point out that there are many examples of ethical rich people, such as Bill Gates and George Soros. In addition to philanthropy, they mention corporate whistle-blowing as an example of ethical behaviour. And they also note that lower-class people are often unethical, too. That makes sense, given the relationship between poverty and violent crime. 
What do you think about this study? Are rich people more unethical, or are poorer people less honorable? Which group would you rather do business with?

Brandon Miller   Mar 2, 2012

posted: 3:57 PM in Current Affairs, Personal Finance