(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Empty homes are in the news again in West Vancouver after a West Vancouver council motion asking the province for the power to levy their own Speculation and Vacancy tax. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Provincial Government provide local governments with the power to levy their own Speculation and Vacancy Tax, so that they too can address housing affordability and other community effects of vacant homes.
It’s been over two years now since the news media reported on John Rose claiming that Vancouver has a surplus of housing and Rose shared his Working Paper, Version 1 detailing his claims of some mythical oversupply of housing in Vancouver. We have written about this on several occasions, but we were missing a piece of data that can greatly simplify our arguments: Cross-tabulations of structural type by document type (whether a dwelling was occupied by usual residents, or occupied by temporarily present persons, or unoccupied) for the censuses 2001-2016.
Cities like Vancouver and Toronto talk a lot about unoccupied dwellings. We have a whole category for empty homes themed posts on this blog. Do we need one more? Probably not, except that we were able to open up an empty-homes related cross-tabulation that we needed through current work for CMHC. Yay, and big thanks to CMHC for making this available to the general public. Open data FTW! Possibly more useful is the classification of the entire building stock by structural type that this data contains, when in the past many have used the classification of the stock occupied by usual residents as a proxy that comes with the standard release census data.
(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) A spectre haunts housing policy. The spectre of empty homes. So how many empty homes are out there? Unfortunately, inept analyses of census data often leaves us with incomplete, or even worse, completely wrong answers to this question. When we get data on empty homes for a given city, they’re seldom put into comparative perspective. What’s worse, sometimes when they’re put into comparative perspective, they’re compared with the wrong data and picked up by credulous media, spreading misinformation.
(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.