Smarter people than I have already responded to the recent furor about John Rose’s working paper, which is (part of?) the result of one year of research on affordability by the author, arguing that Vancouver has no supply problem. Most notably Nathan Lauster in a series of blog posts taking a look at the theoretical framework and methods used and running some numbers himself. I don’t have much to add to the first post, which took the time to highlight some of the useful demand measures that are either already implemented or currently under discussion and makes the point that the idea that we have enough housing in Vancouver, especially enough rental housing, requires an extraordinarily strong argument in the face of sub 1% rental vacancy rates.
There has been some recent confusion that got confounded further about transit-oriented development in Vancouver harbouring a large number of non-primary residence homes. Good data is important in moving forward in Vancouver’s crazy housing market. Without proper context, a couple of data points can serve to paint a very misleading picture of what is happening. So I decided to fill in some gaps on the very narrow question of understanding the CT level numbers that get tossed around.
Today the City of Vancouver released their report on unoccupied dwelling units in the city. I watched part of the presentation and read through the report, and from all that I can see the methodology used is very solid. I have seen some confusion and even some incorrect reporting on this, so I thought it would be worthwhile to look into the report in detail. The Data Smart meter data can be used to determine very accurately which units are occupied and which ones are not.