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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fluctuations in the turnover of single-family dwellings in metropolitan Vancouver Seek, Ngee-Huat

Abstract

The turnover rate for housing measures the average length of tenure between transactions, and, thus, indicates the level of activity, in the housing market. However, turnover of housing has hitherto been neglected by urban economists. This thesis attempts to study the fluctuations in the turnover in ownership of single-family houses in Metropolitan Vancouver over the period 1949-1963. It is hoped that such a study will serve to close a gap in housing research by presenting relevant theory and data on this aspect of turnover. Such turnover information will be useful to the policy makers as well as the homebuyers, the mortgage lenders and the real estate profession. The initial stage of this study involved the collection of relevant raw data and the computation of turnover rates. The results of this research activity are presented in the first part of the thesis. The second part is concerned with the formulation of a theoretical base on which a model to explain fluctuations in turnover is developed. In the third section of this thesis, this model is tested quantitatively using the technique of multiple regression on time-series data for both overall (new and existing houses) turnover and turnover of existing houses only. In the final section, the variables used in the regression analysis are re-examined qualitatively with the aid of graphical illustrations. This section concludes with a discussion of seasonal variation of turnover. The study shows that, during the period 1949-1963 turnover rates fluctuated cyclically, and that there was a definite downward trend after 1958. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate' that this phenomenon is primarily the result of a combination of the following factors: changes in credit conditions, business cycles, change in the number of family heads, the relative cost of owning versus renting a home, and the rate at which new houses were completed. A further finding of this thesis is that the volume of sales of single-family houses was subject to significant and consistent seasonal fluctuation.

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