The number of homes left vacant or occupied by foreign students or temporary residents in Vancouver increased over a decade, according to a study by the acting director of SFU’s City Program.

Andy Yan, an urban planner, says that between 2001 and 2011 the rate of non-residency occupancy grew from 3.5 per cent to 6.2 per cent; in actual numbers the increase was from 27,564 to 58,229 over the 10 years.

He found that 87 per cent of the units deemed as non-resident occupancies were in fact vacant.

The City of Vancouver accounted for most of the rise but suburbs including Surrey also contributed and Yan believes that other municipalities will need to follow Vancouver’s example by taxing foreign ownership and looking at tackling vacant homes.

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