The following article is from today’s Daily Economic Comment from ATB:
Final numbers aren’t in, but odds are this province has never, not even during the boom years, welcomed more new Albertans than in 2012. This isn’t surprising, as the labour market here has been the best in the country and housing costs are relatively affordable. The stage is set for the trend to continue in 2013 and beyond.
Through the first three quarters of 2012, almost 56,000 more individuals came to Alberta than left the province. This is 6,000 more than in 2006, the year Alberta saw its largest in-migration, and 16,000 more than in 2005, the second highest in-migration year. The biggest component of that growth is international migration, where the number of immigrants has doubled since 2006.
The last time Alberta that welcomed so many newcomers there wasn’t enough housing to shelter everyone. And that sparked the housing boom. In the early 2000s, housing starts in Alberta weren’t strong and there was little surplus inventory, so the mid-decade influx of migrants put pressure on existing housing stock. The jump in real estate prices caused a building boom, which is why there is no major shortage today.
Migrants don’t bring schools and hospitals with them. They come to fill jobs, but they also generate greater demand for public services. This is one of the primary reasons the provincial government has decided to continue spending on public infrastructure projects in the coming years.