Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

(Calgary) City population growth to boost housing demand

City population growth to boost housing demand
Kathy McCormick, Calgary Herald
Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008

In spite of the lower number of housing construction starts this year, people are moving to Calgary -- and they're buying homes in the suburbs, says the latest city census.

"The migration numbers are stronger than we had initially thought they would be, and that's a good sign the demand for housing is supported by people moving in," says Lai Sing Louie, senior market analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. "We had thought the net migration numbers would be down about 40 per cent, but they're only down around 29 per cent."

Calgary's population stands at 1,042,892 -- up 2.25 per cent from last year's census.

The total population change was 22,950 from April 2007 to this April, led by a net migration of 12,441 people, down from 17,673 last year. Net migration refers to the inflow of people minus the outflow.

The natural increase (more births than deaths) added another 9,695 residents over the 12-month period, with a further 814 residents added due to annexation.

"The census is taken from April to April of each year, and so that follows what our CMHC numbers have been showing," says Louie.

"Our first-quarter numbers (January to March) were positive for the first time in two quarters. The second half of 2007 may have been the worst for losing people."

The positive outlook for the city is attracting people from across Canada -- and that's not about to change, says Allan Klassen, managing partner and president of Albi Homes.

"Calgary is still relatively small," he says.

"Compared to other cities in the rest of the country, it's still relatively affordable, and now there is tremendous choice. There are lifestyle choices that are attracting young generations with families who are looking to trailblaze their careers in a great environment.

"Here, they are finding a city of just over one million people with solid infrastructure, tremendous schools, and the spirit of community support, not to forget the oil and gas industry and the economy."

Net migration hit 29,164 in 2006, which was not surprisingly the strongest year ever for construction starts of single-family homes, soaring to 10,482 when the boom was at full boil.

"The growing economies in Saskatchewan and British Columbia are attracting people from Alberta's major centres and this will keep migration close to current levels," said Louie in CMHC's spring outlook, predicting declines for this year and next.

But that is not likely to happen now -- at least if you're moving east, says Bill Bobyk, who heads up the Sterling Group of Companies under the Qualico umbrella.

"The sweet spot to move to Saskatchewan was over 12 to 24 months ago," says Bobyk, a former Saskatchewan resident. "Any equity increases you may have realized are already gone in Saskatchewan."

On the resale side, Saskatchewan overtook Alberta as the nation's leader in resale price growth last year, posting a 32-per-cent average increase, says CMHC.

In Calgary, the latest census shows that 14 city communities had a population increase of more than 1,000 people from April 2007 to this April. All are communities on or near the outer limits of the city.

The highest number of residents were added to these communities: Auburn Bay (1,249); Bridlewood (1,038); Coventry Hills (1,170); Cranston (1,363); Evergreen (2,375); McKenzie Towne (1,313); New Brighton (1,262); Panorama Hills (2,392); Royal Oak (1,223); Saddle Ridge (1,553); Silverado (1,171); Springbank Hill (1,147); Taradale (1,912); and Tuscany (1,086).

On a percentage basis, Auburn Bay in the southeast and Silverado in the southwest led the pack; both more than doubled in population.

A total of 13,869 dwellings were under construction, with 432,997 dwellings altogether in the city as of the end of April.

That compares to 420,311 total dwellings in the same month last year.

There were 9,199 dwellings vacant -- 2.23 per cent of the total units. That's up from 5,825 vacancies in 2007, or 1.46 per cent.

"That's a good sign as well," says Louie. "We were looking at vacancy rates in the 2.5 per cent range, so that is a little bit of an improvement."

© The Calgary Herald 2008


Oilsandstruth.org is not associated with any other web site or organization. Please contact us regarding the use of any materials on this site.

Tar Sands Photo Albums by Project

Discussion Points on a Moratorium

User login


Syndicate content