Realtors say millennial population in Vancouver continues to grow
The head of the organization representing British Columbia realtors is throwing cold water on theories millennials are bolting Vancouver because of housing affordability issues.
“The narrative that there is an exodus of millennials from Vancouver is not based in fact, but rather supposition,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, which represents about 20,000 agents in the province.
“Unaffordability, or the inability to own housing, has been the key driver of the retreating millennial hypothesis,”
In a report released Friday, he said the percentage of the population aged 20-34 continues to grow. He said in the city of Vancouver, the percentage of the population made up of millennials has grown by 9.5 per cent while the figure is 18 per cent for Metro Vancouver.
“Numerous media stories lament their exodus and the potential economic impact, particularly in the high-tech sector,” Muir said. “Even a local credit union produced a report speculating that millennials are disengaging from the Vancouver economy, largely the result of high housing costs.
“An examination of population estimates for the region reveals that millennials are, in fact, not retreating from Vancouver, and that the population aged 20-34 years old has increased significantly. In addition, home ownership rates for the millennial age group were significantly higher during the most recent census than in the previous decades.”
Using population estimates from the B.C. government website, the economist found between 1995 and 2005, the number of 20-34 yearolds in the city of Vancouver rose by more than 5,500, or almost 3.5 per cent, to reach 160,000. From 2005-2015, it grew by 15,800 (9.5 per cent) to 181,000.
“Growth in this age group over the past 10 years has been so strong that they are now the most populace age cohort in the city by a wide margin,” Muir said in the report.
Looking at the metro region of Vancouver, the economist found between just 2005 and 2015, 86,000 people aged 20-34 were added to the Metro Vancouver population, an 18-per-cent increase.
As of 2015, there were an estimated 569,000 millennials in the metro region.
Muir said millennials are a key demographic in large cities across North America and it only makes sense they would be attracted to Vancouver’s lifestyle.
“The millennial generation has bolstered the population of 20-34 year-olds dramatically over the past 10 years,” Muir said. “Both the City of Vancouver and the larger Metro Vancouver region, have experienced a significant increase in this population. Millennials are being attracted to the City of Vancouver and the region, not retreating from it.”