I'm not sure what the true state of the rental market is here. September is always a stupid month because of the return of students; that skews everything and landlords get greedy as evidenced by the numerous articles in the TC about how difficult and expensive it has become to rent in Victoria. To be honest, I don't buy it. I don't think it is difficult, nor expensive to rent here. I think it is difficult to find a quality rental. But I don't think you pay much of a premium for that.
I'm not sure what historical rents are here. I don't know what price per square foot has been. But I'm guessing that plus or minus 20% of $1/SF is reasonable depending on what and where you are renting.
Case in point, here's a listing obviously aimed at students on the Uvic off-campus rental site. Three beds plus den, 1500SF $1500/month.
A quick perusal of craigslist.org doesn't show too much deviance from the $1/SF norm I'm suggesting. Anything that does typically includes utilities or offers "individual living" which I read as being only big enough for one.
Over at usedvictoria.com we see much of the same: places for rent, and prices that are not completely out of whack with incomes.
Yes it is not cheap, or really "affordable" to rent in Victoria. But rents have not even come close to keeping pace with the hyper-inflated prices being asked for condos and SFH in this town. In my observations renting is almost 50% less than owning a similar unit right now. Which means no one should be buying revenue properties with anything less than 100% down right now.