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Oshawa, region bucking “ghost house” trend

While the overall rate of vacant houses rose in Canada between 2006 and 2016, Oshawa and Durham Region experienced an opposite trend.

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Across Canada, the rate of vacant homes is increasing, but that’s not the case in Oshawa.

Point 2 Homes, a website which covers real estate market trends and news, recently released a report on the increasing number of “ghost” homes in the country.

The report analyzes demographics and housing data from the 150 largest cities in the country between 2006 and 2016.

It estimates in 2016, there were approximately 1.34 million empty and temporarily occupied homes in Canada.

In 2001, when the federal government first began collecting data on occupied dwellings, 7.8 per cent of all homes in Canada were vacant.

That rate jumped to 8.4 per cent in 2006, and 8.7 per cent in 2016.

By comparison, the vacant home rate in the U.S, has actually decreased during the same time span, from 1.8 per cent in 2001 to 1.7 per cent in 2017. The vacancy rate to the south peaked at a mere 2.5 per cent in 2011.

But the data shows a much different story in Oshawa and Durham Region.

The vacant house rate in Oshawa dropped by 20.4 per cent between 2006 and 2016.

Across the region the decreases are even greater, with Pickering at 21.7 per cent, Whitby at 35.4 per and Clarington at 48.9 per cent.

Ajax, at 53.1 per cent, stands out as the city with the biggest drop of “ghost” homes in Ontario.

At the other end of the spectrum, North Bay saw its share of empty houses jump by 68.2 per cent over a decade.  The writers of the report list affordability issues, foreign ownership, the short-term rental market, decreasing populations and uncertain local economies as reasons for the increase in vacant homes.

The report can be found at