More and more new homes sitting vacant in some areas

by Ryan Smith23 Nov 2015
Even as supply can’t keep up with demand in booming markets like Toronto and Vancouver, some areas are finding more and more homes standing vacant and unsold.

A recent report by ATB Financial shows that new homes that haven’t been sold or rented has skyrocketed in Alberta suburbs.

In Edomonton, the number of unabsorbed homes has spiked by 30% in the past year, according to the report. Calgary hasn’t seen quite that number, but its unsold and unrented homes still spiked by 5%.

Calgary is in slightly better shape, and continues to see a demand for new homes because of its higher-paying jobs, according to a CBC News report. Currently there are 403 unabsorbed homes in the city, and that number is falling. In Edmonton, however, that number is 949 and rising, CBC reported.

And some ATB economists believe that economic conditions in the province will swell the number of completed but unabsorbed homes, according to the CBC. And Calgary is already in the depths of a vacancy crisis as the oil slump drives businesses out of office properties.

In Calgary, office vacancies have jumped to 14%, the highest level since 2010, and there may be as many as 2 million square feet of so-called “shadow vacancy” – space leased but sitting empty – which could push the rate to 16%.

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