Source: Urban Futures & Ecotagious

Most people reading this will, by now, be aware of the high-profile study commissioned by the City of Vancouver and undertaken by Ecotagious (a firm that specializes in smart meter data analysis) that looked at the issue of non-occupancy in the City.

The results surprised many, with the proportion of dwellings deemed to be non-occupied in 2014 sitting at 4.9%, equivalent to 10,800 dwellings. When considered on the basis of dwelling type, the highest proportion of non-occupancy is seen in apartments (7.2%), followed by rowhouses and single-family (at around one percent).

For us here at Urban Futures, the City-wide results generally confirmed our findings from 2013 (our report can be found here). Using Census data, we found that 6.3% of all dwellings in the City of Vancouver were classified as unoccupied in 2011, with the lowest proportion found in single-family dwellings (3.5%) and higher proportions in rowhouses (7.6%) and apartments (6.7%).

Within the City, Ecotagious found that the highest rates of non-occupancy were in Northwest Vancouver (7.4%) and Downtown (6.0%), in part due to the greater prevalence of apartments (and their associated higher rates of non-occupancy).

The discussion now seems to be shifting to what should be done with the 10,800 non-occupied dwellings City-wide. There is talk about how to make them available for rental occupancy; to this end, if all 10,800 non-occupied units in the City went into the rental pool, this would represent an eight percent increase to the 136,135 existing rental households across Vancouver (according to the latest Census data).