Interesting article over at the Globe and Mail…
According to adjunct UBC planning professor Andrew Yan a mind boggling 25% of condos in some areas of downtown are either vacant or occupied by non-residents.
[edited to reflect reality – the 25% is NOT vancouver wide]
This was revealed at an SFU talk wednesday night that sought to look at the issue of foreign investment in Vancouver real estate.
Picture a 20 story condo tower.
Now picture 35 of those condo towers.
That’s how many vacant units are said to be in the downtown core alone.
Mr. Yan, who specified that it’s not possible to know exactly why so many apartments were empty, said data indicate Vancouver is creating neighbourhoods that appear to be very dense, but actually don’t have an active full-time population.
That gives a skewed picture of, for example, the amount of commercial activity they can support.
In Coal Harbour, where up to one in four condos is empty in the tower-dominated waterfront neighbourhood between Stanley Park and the downtown convention centre, the scattered shops in the area often struggle to stay in business. By contrast, the West End, which has a low rate of empty residential units, is bounded by three streets – Davie, Denman, and Robson – that are packed with busy small shops and restaurants.
Mr. Yan said that the high numbers of empty apartments don’t prove there’s a problem with foreign investors, but they do indicate that Vancouver has a large proportion of general investor buyers, be they offshore or Canadian.