Thursday, September 27, 2012

BC Population Growth to Q2 2012

BC Stats released its quarterly population estimates and BC continues sluggish growth through Q2 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 (NPRs))
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 Q2-2012 data indicate continued negative net interprovincial migration (1196 net out of the province), though net international migration was more robust than the same period in 2011.

Below are graphs of annual NPR migration and annual population growth up to 2011. Note net NPR migration implies that this influx permanently changes population. That is, in net, NPRs either effectively remain NPRs within Canada permanently or convert to permanent residents.
In terms of immigration class, below is a year-on-year comparison of the various immigration classes entering BC in Q2:
Class Q2'11 Q2'12
Family 2593 3195
Refugee 495 392
Skilled Worker 3054 2937
Canadian Experience 145 382
Provincial Nominee 1332 1611
Live-in Caregiver 654 513
Entrepreneur 43 24
Investor 1079 647
Self-Employed 17 17
Other 257 305
Total 9669 10023

Population growth through second quarter of 2012 is below its peak of late last decade, due in most part to net out-migration to other provinces and average immigration. Growth has at least temporarily stabilized at 2011 levels and roughly in-line with the average of the past decade. Out migration is of continued concern, with more people leaving the province than arriving.

Will population growth save house prices from "crashing"? There is not much evidence it will, however it will go some way to ensure any housing oversupply that typically results from significant house price drops can be absorbed more quickly. Conversely lower population growth tends to prolong downturns. Residential units under construction are approaching all-time highs again so we should not be too surprised population growth has not cratered in this recent estimate.

1 comment:

GF said...

thanks for the timely analysis! Family class (reunion) immigration has the largest numerical gain among all immigrant classes. A lot of family reunions (especial ones from Asia) are elderly parents who will live under the same roof with their established children. This is culturally expected. This class is unlikely to drive housing demand.