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CPABC: Northeast BC housing supply and population growth recovered in 2021

·3 min read
Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia
Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia

FORT ST. JOHN, British Columbia, July 20, 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, Northeast B.C. added 292 residents in 2021, bringing the region’s population to 72,409 residents.

“Our region saw a significant downturn in population growth in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is encouraging to see it recover in 2021,” said Ben Sander, FCPA, FCA, partner at Sander Rose Bone Grindle. “This was primarily the result that for the first time in over a decade, Northeast B.C. had more immigrants than emigrants from other provinces.”

Northeast B.C. welcomed a net of 255 residents from other provinces in 2021, compared to an average annual net outflow of 334 from 2010 to 2020. The region also continued to have strong natural growth, with the number of births exceeding mortalities by 489 in 2021, and welcomed a net 211 international residents. Conversely, the region continued to see more residents leave to other parts of the province than arrive, with a net outflow of 663 residents.

“With a relatively young population, Northeast B.C. continues to boast the highest birth rate across the province,” continued Sander. “It is also promising that immigration rebounded last year, as many businesses in our region have struggled to find enough workers to fill job vacancies. This is even more important as a growing proportion of our population approaches retirement age.”

The average age in Northeast B.C. was 36.9 in 2021, nearly six years younger than the provincial average (42.8) and the youngest in the province. However, the average age has increased by 1.8 years since 2011, and the population aged 55+ was near a quarter of the population (24.2 per cent) compared to less than a fifth in 2011 (19.1 per cent).

“Unlike much of the province, inadequate housing supply is less of a major concern for Northeast B.C., and the region has seen a strong number of housing completes in recent years,” noted Sander. “Overall, housing affordability is much better in our region compared to the rest of the province.”

Over the past five years, Northeast B.C. added 818 residents, while the number housing units completed in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek was 548. The average price of a house sold in the South Peace region was $261,775 in June 2022, down by 1.6 per cent compared to June 2021. For comparison, the average house sold across B.C. as a whole was $947,216 in June 2022.

“Despite the rebound in 2021, our population growth has lagged well behind the average across B.C.. To attract immigrants, we need to market Northeast B.C. as a place that offers relatively affordable housing, a good life style, and economic opportunities,” concluded Sander. “However, for that to resonate, we also need to ensure that residents are benefiting from the investment activity in the region, for example from the significant major projects underway.”

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

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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.

CONTACT: For more information: Aaron Aerts, Economist 604.442.9161 aaerts@bccpa.ca