Following up on our previous post on rents and vacancy rates there is another rental stat originating from City of Vancouver documents that is making the rounds and that is misleading. Again, our housing crisis is fundamentally a rental crisis, so it’s important to keep the numbers straight so that we can better focus our energy and resources. This one is a bit more serious, but still has been making the rounds quite broadly on social media.
A number I have been watching fairly closely is the job vacancy rate. It comes from StatCan’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS), and is updated quarterly. It is one of several surveys that complement the Labour Force Survey (LFS) that tends to receive a lot of attention. But the LFS is missing some important aspects of the labour market. I have been pushing JVWS data on numerous occasions, so I wanted to do a quick post to add a little more context.
Metro Vancouver’s population is growing. For planning purposes we want to understand how our population will be growing. For that we need projections. Here we need to carefully distinguish two related but distinct types of population projections. projections of population demand, and projections of population growth. Projecting demand, or even just estimating current population demand, is complex. Demand is a function of a variety of factors, most importantly jobs, and amenities, as well as home prices and rents (in relation to incomes and wealth).
(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) The province has released (via press release) the first data on its Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT)! Huzzah! Previously, we’ve speculated on what this data would show. In particular, we estimated that around 8,800 dwellings would show up as empty in a way likely to be taxed by the speculation tax. How close were we? Well, the speculation tax has so far identified 8,738 owners of empty properties.
Another “working paper” on Vancouver’s real estate woes came out, this one by Josh Gordon. We have been contemplating for a week now if it is worth responding to, but after seeing one too many obviously false statements about what the working paper supposedly shows making the rounds, we felt the benefits of addressing this might outweigh the costs of further entrenching the camps in Vancouver’s real estate debates with this post.