Owners aren’t actually present in nearly half of Vancouver’s condos

Vancouver’s condominium market has been a hotbed of activity and price growth over the past few years, but Simon Fraser University academic Andy Yan has just confirmed many hopeful home buyers’ worst fears: Almost half of the city’s condo units are not occupied by their owners.

These condos tend to be rented out, used as secondary properties by their owners, or left vacant, unable to be counted as additional supply in the incredibly tight market.

“The big take on this [data] is the role of units that are not owner-occupied — a.k.a. investments,” Yan said, as quoted by the Vancouver Courier.

In his analysis of fresh data from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, Yan stated that 46% of the city’s condominiums are not-owner occupied. The phenomenon was especially apparent in Electoral Area A, where 49% of condo units are not-owner occupied.

These ratios were markedly higher than the 35% market share seen in 2009.

“So things became progressively worse, and we knew [about it] 10 years ago,” Yan noted.

“It illustrates the types of demands that are in Vancouver housing and really goes into the question of what’s the priority in demand that our housing system needs to meet — investments versus, say, someone who’s trying to set their roots in the city, not to mention the importance of actually having an affordable purpose-built rental stock as opposed to one that’s dependant on this kind of fragmented, precarious condominium-as-rental system.”

Yan concluded that any federal or provincial-level strategy that will aim to ensure market stability should seriously regulate short-term rentals.

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