Is the Weak Migration to BC a Cause for Concern?
Statistics Canada recently released data that showed net international migration to BC fell a nearly three-decade low. What does this mean for the Province’s housing market, which has been booming as of late? We break down the numbers and provide you with the context you need.
In the 12 months prior to June, around 21,600 more persons moved from outside of Canada to BC on net, the lowest number since the late 1980s.
Over the last two decades, international migration has accounted for more than two-thirds of BC’s population growth and, as such, has been the major driver behind housing demand in the Province.
- A good proportion of the decline came from fewer immigrants (rather than greater outflow, for example), a trend that has been going on for several years
- If this were to remain low, this could have a significant negative effect on the demand for new housing and the resale market in BC
Why It’s Not So Bad and Likely Won’t Continue
To save you the stress, we should point out that we don’t feel this is as much of a concern as some analysts have made it out to be. Here’s why:
- This is by no means uncharted territory, with net international migration nearly hitting these depths in 2010/2011
- Given forecasts for BC to lead the nation in economic growth, we don’t expect this trend to continue
- This is especially likely, given the Federal Government’s increased immigration target
- Interprovincial immigration is picking up, partially offsetting the decline in international migration. This is due in part to lower oil prices, which have helped reversed the outflow of residents from BC to other provinces
We always stress not to make a trend over an individual data point. That being said, this is a crucial metric that has a direct impact on BC’s housing markets, especially the Vancouver market, where the majority of international immigrants choose to settle.
We will keep a close eye on this going forward and will keep you posted