Foreign Ownership Not the Cause of Low Vacancy in Vancouver


Downtown_Vancouver_July_2011_1-1.jpgBy Melanie Reuter

As always, it is important to examine the data and the correlations and causations that are drawn from them (often, inaccurately).

A look at vacant residences in Vancouver and vacancy rates shows a picture that does not support the premise that foreign ownership is resulting in a dearth of places for people to live. 

Researchers deduced from Hydro data that a lack of variability in energy consumption indicated that the units were vacant. However, although 10,800 of the 225,000 units examined were vacant, nearly all of them were condominiums and not single family houses. During the period examined, the vacancy rate for condos was 12.5%, leading the researchers to conclude that units purchased and left vacant did not contribute the lack of housing issue. One percent of single family homes were vacant but most of those were awaiting renovation permits, researchers stated.

“Most of our houses are being lived in. It doesn’t answer the question of who, or why, or where the hell that $4 million came from. It certainly didn’t come from salaries (in Vancouver),” said Patrick Condon, a University of British Columbia architecture professor.

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