Vancouver: Vacant homes held as commodities by wealthy foreigners

Vancouver plans to create a database of empty houses and condos to determine how much vacant properties contribute to the city’s affordability crisis.

Two of the major questions the city hopes to answer with this research is how much of an influence investors are having and whether housing is being treated as a commodity instead of as a place to live.

But one city councillor worries that in seeking the data, Vancouver may give more oxygen to xenophobic comments that have suggested Vancouver’s problems arise from foreign investments, particularly from China.

Coun. Kerry Jang, a third-generation Chinese-Canadian, said he was reminded of that possibility when someone emailed him at City Hall to report an empty house in his neighbourhood that probably owned by “a foreign investor”…

  • Petey

    How is it xenophobic if it’s true?

    • No one seems to want to answer that. Same thing goes on in Toronto, Condo “Dark Units” are very common.

      • ntt1

        most counties have limits on foreign ownership to cancel out speculation and profit taking we need the same limits with extra taxation on vacant housing

  • lolwut?

    Been going on for the 21 years I’ve been living in Vancouver.

    Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver is probably the worst.
    it’s a literal ghost town with business opening and closing constantly
    because of lack of permanent residents.

    I think the 23% number appearing this story is way too low

    Social housing is also being filled with immigrants who are set up with 1 bedrooms
    within 3 months of arriving, Canadian born can expect a minimum 10 years on a list.

    • Ron MacDonald

      People should simply move into the empty properties.

  • Dana Garcia

    Wealthy Chinese are taking out insurance policies in case the glorious ChiCom paradise goes south. Lining up a spare country is not a vote of confidence.

    • Frau Katze

      That’s exactly what they’re doing.

  • Rosenmops

    Why are off-shore people allowed to buy property in Canada?

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      They are not in Mexico!