Report on vacant homes to be released by City of Vancouver

VANCOUVER - A new report is expected to shed light on the extent of Vancouver's "dark homes" problem.

Prospective buyers and neighbours have long complained that investors are buying houses and leaving them empty, driving up prices and reducing supply, but there's been little data to back up the claims.

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The city hired software company Ecotagious Inc. last year to analyze electricity consumption, and the company's CEO is expected to present a report on the findings to city council today.

Coun. Geoff Meggs has said that some homes are not as empty as they appear, while others may be vacant for good reason such as a recent death in the family.

An oft-cited study by adjunct University of British Columbia planning professor Andy Yan found up to one in four units is vacant for at least part of the year in some Vancouver neighbourhoods.

But think tank Urban Futures found just 5.4 per cent of units unoccupied overall, in line with other big cities.



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