The Canadian 'ghost towns' where vacant homes are rising

The share of Canadian homes that are unoccupied has been steadily rising according to a new report.

Point2Homes says that in 2016, 8.7% of Canadian homes were vacant, up from 8.4% in 2006 and 7.8% in 2001.

The analysis of government data on vacant residences shows that 1.34 million homes had no one living in them in 2016, with Toronto and Vancouver leading the high vacancy rates.

In volume terms, Toronto had 66,000 empty homes while Vancouver had 25,000, but Vancouver’s share of homes that were empty was the highest among Canada’s largest cities at 8.2%.

There were also more than 20,000 empty homes in Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton.

By contrast, the study highlights that in the US, the vacancy rate has never exceeded 2.8% according to the Fed.

Largest increases

Over the 10 years from 2006 to 2016, Winnipeg saw the largest jump in empty homes in Canada, rising 42.7%, followed by 36.3% for Montreal and 32.5% for Edmonton.

While Vancouver saw a 9.6% increase in empty homes, Toronto posted a 4.7% decrease.

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