Victoria’s high number of ‘empty homes’ a myth: Statistics Canada
Published August 3, 2017
Statistics Canada has revealed that Victoria’s ratio of residences ‘occupied by usual residents’ to vacation properties (or secondary homes) is higher than or on-par with the majority of the country’s 25 largest centres.
According to the results of the most recent census, the Capital Region’s total dwelling count was 172,559 in 2016. Of those dwellings, 162,716, or 94.3%, were occupied by full-time, non-transient residents (above the national census metropolitan area average of 93.6%). The data also shows that the percentage of full-time-to-part-time residences increased from 2006 when 93.7% of homes were occupied by so-called usual residents.
Data for Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, London, Halifax, Regina, Saskatoon, Kelowna, St. John's and other census metropolitan areas revealed a lower ratio of full-time residences to part-time residences when compared to Victoria, while cities like Toronto, Montreal and Calgary were virtually equal to the south Island’s ratio.
Statistic Canada’s latest data dispels the often-referenced theory that the cost of the Capital’s housing stock, and in particular the wave of new-build homes recently completed or currently underway, is buoyed by foreign buyers, wealthy vacationers or part-time residents that leave their homes empty while having competed for inventory with residents.
Local politicians have recently spoken of evoking an 'empty home tax' as a means of discouraging the practice of purchasing vacation properties and enticing homeowners to make empty residences available as short-term rental opportunities for local residents.
The census data also revealed that Victoria’s households are occupied by the lowest number of occupants (2.26) save for Quebec City (2.21) and Sherbrooke, Ontario (2.22). Full-time residences in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are occupied by 2.77, 2.37 and 2.56 residents, respectively. Meanwhile the highest number of full-time occupants per dwelling (other than Toronto) are in Barrie, Kitchener and Oshawa, Ontario, with 2.72, 2.61 and 2.73 residents each, respectively.
The results of the census data confirms that more housing is required in Victoria, per-person, than in 22 of the nation’s 25 largest centres. C
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