Forecast shows demand for housing will increase as the city’s population increases

A new report released by the city of Winnipeg indicates that the city’s population is expected to chart strong and steady increases over the next 25 years, announced Mayor Brian Bowman.

“As population increases in our city, as does the demand for dwelling types ...,” according to the 2016 City of Winnipeg Population, Housing, and Economic Forecast.

“From 2002 to 2015, the number of households in the city of Winnipeg has increased from around 249,000 to around 291,900, or by 17 per cent.

“Over the forecast horizon to 2040, the number of households is expected to increase by around 32 per cent, or approximately 100,000 units to 391,100.”

The forecast indicated that changes in numbers and types of homes, especially new homes and new neighbourhoods, will increase demand on municipal services and infrastructure, putting pressure on future city budgets.

The forecast indicated that Winnipeg’s average annual population growth over the next 25 years is estimated to increase by 8,200 people per year, and that the Winnipeg’s Census Metropolitan Area population will exceed one-million people by 2034-35 and is projected to surpass 1,055,000 by 2040.

The city, itself, is expected to grow from a population of approximately 718,400 to 922,600 by 2040, an increase of over 200,000 people, representing a 28 per cent increase.

“Winnipeg is growing, our capital region is growing, and this report underscores the extent to which steady and strong population growth is projected to continue,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.

 “As a city, we need to be thinking about and planning today for a future we know is going to create increased demand on existing city infrastructure and services, as well as for new infrastructure and expanded services.

“It is not enough to only be building Winnipeg for today,” he added. “We need to be building Winnipeg for the future.”

According to the forecast, the number of total housing starts in the city is expected to remain steady at an annual rate of 4,000 units.

Cumulatively, the number of multiple-family starts is expected to reach 60,000 units by 2040, and single-family starts will reach about 40,000 units. The forecast indicated there is a growing trend from primarily single-family construction to primarily multiple-family construct.

“This forecast demonstrates a strong correlation between population growth and the need for new housing,” said Bowman. “When our rate of population growth stagnated in the early 1980s, and then dipped into negative growth in 1997 and 1998, Winnipeg recorded its two lowest levels of annual housing starts in over 25 years.

“When a city’s population steadily grows, demand for new housing remains strong, and we need to be planning for this level of growth.”

 In addition to containing population and housing data, the forecast indicated that the annual growth in real Gross Domestic Product will be maintained at about 2.1 per cent per year, and that employment and disposable income are both projected to remain steady and strong.

 It also illustrated how immigration will continue to be the largest single contributor to population growth in Winnipeg, and how immigration will continue to contribute to the diverse and multicultural fabric of the city.

“At the same time, interprovincial migration which has historically been a major source of population loss, is projected to improve and stabilize over the next 25 years. Winnipeg’s diversity will continue to grow,” added Bowman. “It is essential that as a community we welcome new people to our city, and recognize the strength they provide.”

The 2016 forecast is intended to guide and support the city in its planning efforts.

Bowman said, by providing a common basis and foundation for decision making, the forecast can help identify economic and planning opportunities and challenges within the city.

It also provides fundamental information and data on which the next review of OurWinnipeg, the city’s long term planning document, will be based. The next OurWinnipeg review is scheduled to begin the fall.

 The forecast used data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Conference Board of Canada.