The Central Okanagan’s population jumped up by 1.9 per cent in 2019 from 2018, and now sits at 217,214.
“We were the second-fastest growing census metropolitan area in the province, fastest being Chilliwack,” said Krista Mallory, manager for the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC).
And the population is expected to continue growing over the next two decades.
“Economists are widely forecasting that this region will continue on a similar trajectory for the next 20 years, with some forecasting up to another 64,000 residents by 2040 in the region,” Mallory said.
The Central Okanagan’s population growth is just one of the economic indicators released in the COEDC’s latest quarterly report comparing 2019 to 2018.
According to the COEDC, the Central Okanagan’s economy continued its upward trajectory in 2019.
“We had incredible high growth years in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 continued that trajectory, albeit a bit more subdued in certain areas, which we see more sustainable,” said Mallory.
While many areas showed growth, one in particular revealed a decrease.
The report showed that housing starts in the region were down by 12.9 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018.
But Mallory suggested the drop has to be put in perspective.
“That was primarily driven to the record-breaking years that we had in 2016 and 2017. We still sit way above the 10-year average,” she told Global News.
While housing starts were down, the price of those new homes went up, with the median price of a newly built single family home now pegged at $950,000, an increase of 5.6 per cent from 2018 to 2019.
Rents also jumped up by 9 per cent, with the average cost for a two-bedroom apartment sitting at $1,363.
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The report also revealed that the region’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 20 years. It decreased by one per cent in 2019 and sits at four per cent.
“That is very encouraging, strong labour markets, approximately 4,000 more people employed in the region in 2019 compared to 2018,” Mallory said.
The report indicated that job postings were up by seven per cent.
Of those, 29.9 per cent of those positions were in sales and service occupations; 13.4 per cent were in business, finance and administration; 10.5 per cent were managerial positions; 10.4 per cent were in trades, transport and equipment operations; and six per cent in health related occupations.
Click here to read the full report.