February 25, 2013
Saskatoon tops list of fast growing Canadian cities
Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver will be the leading Canadian cities for growth in the next five years, as Western Canada maintains its position as the regional economic leader in the country.
“Both Regina and Saskatoon attracted record numbers of newcomers in 2012,” said Mario Lefebvr, the director of the Centre for Municipal Studies at the Conference Board of Canada.
“Migration is arguably one of the greatest success stories for these cities, with more and more Canadians choosing to call them home.”
The Conference Board of Canada recently released its Metropolitan Outlook-Winter 2013, which is an annual forecast for 28 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs).
According to the report, the Canadian cities with the best economic performance in 2013 will be Saskatoon (3.7 per cent), Regina (3.5 per cent), Calgary (3.3 per cent), Edmonton (3.2 per cent) and Vancouver (2.9 per cent).
Real gross domestic product (GDP) in Saskatoon is forecast to expand by 3.7 per cent this year and the city is also expected to have the strongest growth rate over the 2014-2017 period.
An increase in Saskatoon’s net in-migration, which hit a record estimate at nearly 6,100 people in 2012, is driving the overall pace of economic activity.
“The new settlers are also finding work quickly, since employment jumped an estimated 4.6 per cent in 2012, the most since 2007, and is expected to rise by 2.8 per cent in 2013,” said the report.
“The combination of healthy population growth and strong employment creation has lifted housing demand, with housing starts soaring to nearly 3,400 units in 2012 and a similarly strong level expected in 2013.”
Saskatoon’s construction industry is forecast to experience strong growth (5.1 per cent) in 2013. Construction output increased by 8 per cent in 2012, compared to 9 per cent rise in 2011.
Highlights from 2012 include construction of a $2.2 million mineral processing pilot plant by the Saskatchewan Research Council, which is designed to research processes for recovering valuable metals and minerals.
This plant is expected to be fully operational by spring 2013.
Regina’s economy is to expand by 3.5 per cent in 2013, compared to real GDP growth of 4.2 per cent in 2012. Regina’s economy is expected to grow by 3 per cent between 2014-2017.
Regina’s net in-migration hit a record high estimated to be more than 4,400 people in 2012, which is expected to contribute to persistent skill shortages.
Population growth is forecast to stay near 2 per cent in 2013 and 2014, which is boosting housing starts. There was an estimated surge in housing starts of 70 per cent to nearly 2,900 units in 2012.
Construction output increased by an estimated 5.1 per cent in 2012, compared to 6.2 per cent expansion in 2011.
Construction activity in Regina is expected to expand sharply in the next few years as work on a new $278 million football stadium to house the Saskatchewan Roughriders and related urban development gets under way in late 2013.
The stadium is just the first step in the $1 billion Regina Revitalization Initiative, which includes a housing development on the site of the existing stadium.
To make all this possible, the City of Regina has bought 17.39 acres of Canadian Pacific Railway land along Dewdney Avenue for $7.5 million and will spend a further $2.1 million to prepare this land for future development.
Saskatchewan’s GDP is forecast to grow 3.4 per cent in 2013 and 3.5 per cent in 2014, which represents the fastest expansion among Canada’s provinces.
Construction output in Saskatchewan will jump 7.6 per cent in 2013 before slowing to 1.7 per cent growth in 2014.
The 2013 advance will be driven by large increases in public sector investment and business non-residential investment spending. This includes investment on major potash mining projects, such as K+S’s Legacy Mine and BHP Billiton’s Jansen Mine.
It also features energy-related projects like the construction of the $1.25 billion Boundary Dam carbon capture and storage facility and new pipelines, along with spending on new well drilling and existing well maintenance.
Real GDP in Calgary grew by 3.3 per cent in 2012, and is forecast to grow at a similar pace in 2013. Calgary’s economy is expected to grow by 3 per cent between 2014 and 2017.
Edmonton’s economy is forecast to expand by 3.2 per cent in 2013 and by 2.8 per cent between 2014 and 2017.
Vancouver’s economic growth is expected to increase slightly from 2.5 per cent last year to 2.9 per cent in 2013. For the period 2014-2017, Vancouver’s economy is expected to grow by 3 per cent.
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