“Home buyers and prospective renters have fretted for years that investors were snapping up homes and leaving them empty, cutting supply and boosting prices in the process,” as the Financial Post put it.
The report analyzed residential electricity consumption via a decade’s worth of anonymized data provided by BC Hydro, the electric utility. A home was considered non-occupied for the year if electricity use, which normally varies dramatically during the day, showed little variability in each of the “non-heating months August, September, and the following June and July.
And one thing stood out: 12.5% of the condos were deemed non-occupied. They accounted for most of the city’s 10,800 empty homes. But it might have been much higher: The methodology identified condos used as summer homes as occupied for the entire year, even if they were vacant the rest of the year.
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