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Life in Toronto: Her rent jumped by $950 per month

The view looking east from Strachan Ave. towards downtown Toronto and the condominiums that fill the skyline, is photographed on Jan, 26 2017.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

I'm pretty firm on suggesting people rent if they can't properly afford the full cost of owning home, but the city of Toronto is pushing back. Rents there are soaring in a way that puts renters in the same position as owners in having to direct too much of their income to the cost of shelter.

A CBC reporter named Shannon Martin is living the nightmare. The rent on her 454-square-foot apartment rose to $2,600 from $1,650 – an increase of $950. She had to move out as a result, and now she's "couch-surfing." That means living with family and friends.

Vancouver was recently singled out as the most expensive city for renters, with Toronto second. Both cities top the list of most expensive housing markets, too. Unfortunately, renters in these cities must make the same compromises in search of affordability as buyers:

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  • Consider moving to a more affordable city.
  • Look further away from downtown and consider the suburbs.
  • Consider something smaller than you initially wanted – a bachelor instead of a one bedroom, in the case of an apartment.
  • Share a place with family or friends.

The rental market used to be a refuge for people priced out of the housing market, but now it's collateral damage.

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"As a young professional who's moving out shortly, I need to a buy a whole host of things I've never had to look at before. Specifically, the biggest purchase seems to be getting a mattress. Do you have any advice for buying one?"

My reply: "A very practical question that deserves a good answer. That's why I posted it on my Facebook personal finance page on Feb. 21. Check out the answers here."

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

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