Vancouver’s vacant homes in line with other cities, but condos most likely empty

By The Canadian Press
March 8, 2016 - 11:21am

Vancouver’s rate of vacant homes is in line with other big cities and has been flat since 2002, but the number of unoccupied units is growing due to overall growth in housing stock.

A study that examined the electricity consumption of all homes in the city over a 12-year period has found the residential non-occupancy rate was 4.9 per cent in 2002 and 4.8 per cent in 2014.

City staff and software company Ecotagious Inc. undertook the study in response to growing concerns from residents that empty homes were affecting housing affordability and neighbourhood vibrancy.

Ecotagious CEO Bruce Townson said in a presentation to city council today that non-occupancy is more common in condominium apartments, where the rate was around 12.5 per cent in 2014.

Housing planner Matthew Bourke says there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between empty homes and housing prices, but he says many of the vacant units could be rented out.

The study analyzed about 225,000 homes and identified about 10,800 empty housing units in 2014, of which 90 per cent were apartments.

The Canadian Press

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