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Calgary not alone with empty homes

August 9, 2017

The City of Calgary refers to a study of the latest Census in noting that Alberta’s largest city has 23,600 vacant homes, up by 2,700 units from a year ago. This, the City said, is the highest level of empty homes in nearly 30 years.
But Calgary is not alone in having a lot of vacant homes. A Home BUILDER study of Census data, overlaid with municipal data, shows that there were more than 1.3 million empty or temporarily occupied homes in Canada in 2016.
That’s an increase of nearly 40 per cent since the 2001 census. As a share of all housing, 8.7 per cent of Canadian homes were vacant, up from 7.6 per cent in 2001.
In Toronto, the number of empty homes has tripled from 2001 to 2016, to 99,000 units.
In Vancouver, empty homes have more than doubled in that time, to around 66,000. (But the City of Vancouver, in endorsing Canada’s first tax on homes left vacant for a year or more, estimates there are only 20,000 vacant homes).

But the empty homes cannot be directly traced to speculators, as some suggest. Data shows that the cities with the most vacant homes, per capita, are not white-hot housing markets. These include St. John’s, Saskatoon, Halifax and St. Catherine’s, according to Census data.


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