More than a third of B.C. condos are investor-owned: report

More than one in three condos in British Columbia were owned by investors, according to a new report from Statistics Canada examining data from 2020.

That year, investors owned 36 per cent of condos in the province, with the rest owned by people who actually lived in them.

But in the context of a widely acknowledged housing crisis, is that a problem and should anything be done about it?

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In the view of Simon Fraser University city program director Andy Yan, there is a question of how this plays into the supply-demand relationship.

“It really touches upon how housing policy is how you deal with issues around supply, demand and finance, and how they fit into each other or not,” Yan said. “And how some aspects of demand shape supply. And I think this is really I think part of informing this discussion and really understanding what’s getting built in metropolitan Vancouver, and who is it for?”

A Statistics Canada chart showing what percentage of condos are owned by investors in different provinces.

A new report from Statistics Canada shows that over a third of condos in B.C. are owned by investors. (Courtesy: Statistics Canada)

But as UBC housing economist Tom Davidoff highlights when a condo is owned by an investor, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sitting empty — and some of those units do add to rental stock.

“The fact that roughly a third of condos are rented out, and probably a higher fraction if I had to guess of newer condos, suggests to me renters are fairly well served by condos,” Davidoff said.

As for who the investors are, seven per cent of BC condo owners are non-residents, with 18 per cent in-province investors.

According to the data, only Ontario had a higher percentage of investor-owned condos of all the Canadian provinces, with Nova Scotia and B.C. with similar percentages.

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