Population surge a positive sign for Alberta

With so much focus on provincial government budget issues, it’s important to remember there is much to celebrate about Alberta’s economy.

With so much focus on provincial government budget issues, it’s important to remember there is much to celebrate about Alberta’s economy.

Statistics Canada reported on March 20 that Alberta’s population climbed to 3,931,300 in 2012. The number of net newcomers to the province was just under 86,000 people, more than double the number in 2011 and the highest level in history.

Alberta attracted 11,500 people from other provinces — mainly Ontario and B.C. — and another 9,100 international immigrants in just the last three months of 2012.

People across Canada and around the world are looking beyond the “bitumen bubble” to find the best economic opportunities. Let’s not lose sight of this positive outlook.

For a fifth consecutive quarter, Alberta posted the largest population growth rate of all Canadian provinces. Its population growth rate (0.6 per cent) was triple that of the Canadian rate.

As of Jan. 1, 2013, the population of Alberta was estimated at 3,931,300. Alberta recorded the second highest fourth-quarter growth in 2012, with a population increase of 24,500. The growth of Alberta’s population was mainly due to interprovincial migration gains (11,500). During the last quarter of 2012, most of the province net inflows came from Ontario (4,500) and British Columbia (2,600).

In addition, Alberta had net international migration (6,300) that was the second highest for a fourth quarter, with the exception of 2008. This gain in net international migration was fueled by the arrival of 9,100 immigrants, the highest fourth-quarter level. Total net migration into Alberta in 2012 reached just under 86,000 persons, more than double the number of net newcomers in 2011 (42,673) and the highest level on record.

Tight rental markets will mean rising rents across Alberta, and this will encourage many new arrivals to buy homes. With low mortgage rates and a strong labour market, builders should look forward to an active spring selling season, particularly as supplies of existing (resale) homes are down from this time last year in most locations.

Lisa Buckingham

President

Canadian Home Builders’ Association

— Central Alberta

Red Deer