Report forecasts 1.1 million population rise in Lower Mainland by 2041, requiring 500,000 new housing units

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      The federal government plans to accept 340,000 immigrants in 2020.

      This increase in arrivals from the 300,000 target of 2017 is expected to be felt in the Metro Vancouver housing market, according to a new report.

      Andrew Ramlo and Ryan Berlin of the Rennie Intelligence Team forecast that by 2041, the region will have 4.03 million residents—up from 2.93 million in 2017.

      “In growing by 38%, the Lower Mainland is projected to add an average of 45,000 net new residents each year (on a net basis), with the annual growth rate averaging 1.3% between 2017 and 2041,” they wrote in the rennie outlook. “As a point of comparison to this latter metric, the Lower Mainland grew by an average of 1.8% per year over the past decade and a half.”

      They predicted that this 1.1-million increase in population would require 498,204 new dwelling units by 2041.

      That works out to more than 20,000 net new units per year.

      Of those units, they estimated that 292,351 would be ground-oriented and another 205,853 would be apartments.

      Ramlo and Berlin also forecast that 352,404 units would be owned and 145,801 would be rented.

      “The region will continue to be challenged to deliver new supply—and the right supply—in a way that efficiently accommodates our growing and changing population,” they concluded.

      In their paper, Ramlo and Berlin forecast net interprovincial migration to add 4,300 residents to the region each year from 2017 to 2041.

      But that will be more than offset by almost 8,000 people, on a net basis, leaving the region each year for other parts of B.C.

      They declared that this projection “describes a population that grows larger over time, but does so at a relatively slow (and slowing) rate when compared to the historical experience”.

      Andrew Ramlo coathored the rennie outlook, which examines short- and long-term demographic trends in the Lower Mainland.

      A major factor driving population growth and housing demand will be immigration, they noted. 

      “When combined with the flow of emigrants from the region (here projected on the basis of historical emigration as a share of the existing regional population) and the change in the number of non-permanent residents (such as students and those on work visas), net international migration to the Lower Mainland is expected to increase from 33,000 people in 2016 to a peak of 46,000 in 2023 before subsiding to just under 40,000 annually by 2041,” Ramlo and Berlin wrote.

      The authors relied on five data sources: Statistics Canada census counts and its demographic estimates compendium, B.C. Vital Statistics, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., and Metro Vancouver.

      They projected the total fertility rate to remain stable at around 1.56 (the total number of children a woman would be expected to give birth to during her childbearing years) until 2014; this would reflect a “continuation of postponement in the peak child-bearing years” along the lines of historical patterns.

      “The result would be a continuation of below-replacement levels of fertility, meaning migration will play an increasing role over time in growing the regional population.”

      Life expectancies are forecast to increase by four and three years, respectively, for men and women.

      This will result in more elderly couples being together longer in the future.

      “In light of the robust construction activity that has characterized the Lower Mainland over the past few years, the near-term future is likely to see higher-than-average levels of housing completions regionally,” Ramlo and Berlin wrote. “That being said, once adjusted for demolitions, the available supply of new housing in the region has typically fallen below growing levels of demand.”

      The report was released in the midst of a super-slow housing market.

      Last year saw the lowest annual total of home sales since 2000 in the territory of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.