CPABC: Southwest B.C. 2022 population growth more than triples 2021, though losing residents to other B.C. regions

CPABC: Southwest B.C. 2022 population growth more than triples 2021, though losing residents to other B.C. regions

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to BC Check-Up: Live, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on demographic and affordability trends across the province, Southwest B.C.’s (which encompasses the Lower Mainland) population grew by 85,223 in 2022.

“Southwest B.C. added a record number of new residents in 2022 as the region attracted a large number of international immigrants, the majority of which were under 40 years old,” said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, president and CEO of CPABC. “However, the region also continued to see a large net outflow of residents to other parts of the province.”

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The 85,223 new residents added between July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022 was more than three times larger than the 26,075 added the previous year. The growth was due to a net inflow of 87,979 international migrants. Of those new arrivals, 53.0 per cent were 24 years old or younger, and 34.5 per cent were 25 to 39 years old. In contrast, the region saw a net outflow of 11,200 residents to other parts of the province.

“With the region facing large labour shortages, these new residents will provide an important boost to our workforce and economy,” continued Mathison. “Further, given our aging demographics, it is a good sign that so many new residents are younger than our regional average.”

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The region’s average age increased from 39.8 in 2012 to 41.5 in 2022. However, the average age decreased by 0.1 years compared to the previous year owing to the arrival of relatively younger new residents. The proportion of those 55 and older was nearly a third of the population (30.4 per cent) in 2022, up by 4.2 percentage points from 2012.

In 2022, there were 23,961 housing units completed, down 14.9 per cent from 2021. That represented just 0.3 new housing units completed per new resident, the lowest ratio over the past decade. Nearly 83 per cent were attached units, such as condos, apartments, and townhomes.

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“With population growth reaching new heights, we need to see the housing supply increase significantly to keep pace,” continued Mathison. “We’re seeing many residents leave to other parts of the province, in large part due to the lack of affordable housing. While housing prices have come down over the past year, they remain well above pre-pandemic levels.”

In June 2023, the benchmark price of a single-family home across the Lower Mainland was $1.76 million, down 4.8 per cent from June 2022 but up 45.8 per cent from June 2019. The average price for an apartment was $704,700, a decline of 0.3 per cent from June 2022 but an increase of 31.0 per cent from June 2019.

“Despite a recent moderation, housing prices have far outpaced income growth over the past decade, which pushes residents away,” concluded Mathison. “Our region’s greatest asset is our diversity and ability to attract residents from many backgrounds, and it is critical that we focus on policies that boost housing supply and improve affordability.”

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Learn more about the BC Check-Up: Live report.

About CPA British Columbia

The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 39,000 CPA members and 6,000 CPA candidates and students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy.

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