BC Stats released its quarterly population estimates and BC continues sluggish growth through Q1 2012.
Population growth consists of the following bulk components:
- Natural increase (births - deaths)
- Net interprovincial migration
- Net international migration (including permanent and non-permanent residents)
So let's look at how recent quarters look in a historical context (there is seasonality so quarters are best compared to each other):
The most recent Q1-2012 data indicate continued negative net interprovincial migration (over 2400 net out of the province), though net international migration was more robust than 2011.
Below are graphs of NPR migration and annual population growth up to 2011. The drop off in 2010 is most likely due to changes in federal worker visa requirements, a one-time change. 2011 saw renewed NPR in-migration and gives some guidance as to what types of dwellings will need to be available to house such residents.
Weak population growth has continued through the first quarter of 2012, due in most part to migration to other provinces. These recent population data are what I would characterise as a continuing bearish indicator for BC real estate, especially for owner-occupier dwelling formation in the coming year.