The Urban Development Institute (UDI) recently published a very interesting article regarding the report released by the City of Vancouver (COV) analyzing housing occupancy. The results confirm what many industry analysts and experts have long concluded about Vancouver’s housing market –the number of non-occupied homes sits just below 5%. This number is unchanged for more than a decade.
This confirms that unoccupied housing is not the reason for escalating housing prices in Vancouver. UDI believes that escalating housing prices in Vancouver are primarily related to a shortage of housing supply and a high demand to live here.
From the report, only 1% of single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes are unoccupied. Apartments have the highest rates of non-occupancy compared to other housing types at 7.2% of apartments vacant in 2014. In comparison, these rates are similar in other large Canadian cities, and again these numbers remained unchanged since 2002.
The study did not examine why some home-owners choose to leave their units unoccupied. The City plans to investigate these reasons further. Typically, apartments remain vacant for a variety reasons, including strata corporations restricting the number of rental units allowed in a building, units being used as temporary residences for business commuters, vacationers and family guests. UDI will be proposing innovative incentives to encourage more homes to be occupied in Vancouver. However, this is only a small part of the solution.
UDI believes that the City should continue to pursue and encourage the development of new purpose-built rental homes and increase the overall supply of townhomes, duplexes and condominiums. Encouraging all types of housing stock results in more attainable homes for Vancouverites to enjoy.