Empty Homes

Keeping the Leavers

Some people have a hard time making room for newcomers, but how about making room for people to stay?

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

6 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Do people select cities from diverse alternatives? Or do cities select residents from diverse flows of people? The answer is pretty much: both. People can look around and consider where they want to end up. And cities, through municipal policies, can and do work to select their residents. EXCEPT cities can’t do this directly. At least across North America, cities generally aren’t allowed to establish and maintain their own immigration policies.

Knock Knock, Anybody Home?

Empty Homes Taxes can be useful, but let's keep the numbers and expectations straight.

Nathan Lauster Jens von Bergmann

7 minute read

(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.

Mythical oversupply

Going back to the 'supply myth' well.

Jens von Bergmann

20 minute read

regular vs recalibrated surplus

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.

Unoccupied dwellings data

A publicly available xtab for Structural type by Document type.

Jens von Bergmann

6 minute read

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.

Running on Empties

Putting Canadian empty homes data into context.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

7 minute read

(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.