CPABC: Strong population growth and limited supply drive Greater Victoria housing prices up

VICTORIA, British Columbia, July 06, 2022 (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, the Capital Regional District (CRD) added 5,941 new residents in 2021, bringing the total population to 432,062.

“While still slightly below the level set in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CRD’s population growth has remained resilient compared to the rest of the province,” said Lindalee Brougham, FCPA, FCA, FCGA, President of LL Brougham Inc. “This has been primarily from the region’s ability to attract residents from other parts of the country.”

The region’s population grew by 6.2 per cent from 2017 to 2021. Of the total increase in 2021, the vast majority arrived from other provinces (net gain of 5,286 residents), with another net increase of 1,712 from other parts of British Columbia.

In contrast, the region has experienced a decline in the number of international migrants arriving over the past two years, especially non-permanent residents, such as students. The CRD’s population growth has also been hampered by low birth rates, with mortalities exceeding births by 1,251 in 2021.

“With one of the lowest fertility rates in Canada, we need to attract immigrants to grow our population,” noted Brougham. “Our population also continues to age, with nearly a quarter of residents 65 or older. As more residents retire, that will put additional pressure on businesses who are already facing significant shortages of labour. To continue to attract migrants, we need to ensure we have enough housing.”

Over the past five years, the CRD added 31,500 residents while the number housing units completed was 16,842. Although the number of units completed has been strong in recent years, with 3,938 units completed in 2021 compared to 2,526 in 2017, the number of larger units completed has been relatively flat.

“Across the region, there has been strong housing construction activity. However, developments have typically been smaller attached units replacing older stock, with limited mid-sized units,” noted Brougham. “The strongest demand has been for larger units, which has put significant pressure on housing prices for family homes.”

The average single-family home in Greater Victoria sold for $1.30 million in June 2022, up from $1.04 million in June 2021 (+25.3%) and $799,800 in June 2020 (+62.7%). The average price for an apartment sold in June 2022 was $630,100, up by 31.5 per cent compared to June 2020.

“While recent interest rate increases may put some downward pressure on the housing market, the lack of supply will continue to put upward pressure on housing prices over the longer-term,” concluded Brougham. “If we want to attract immigrants to grow our economy and support our aging community, we need all levels of government to actively advance policies to boost housing supply to improve affordability.”

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 38,000 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. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

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