After record setting few years, migrants to Calgary expected to decrease in 2015

After consecutive years of record setting net migration, the number of Canadians making their way to Calgary is expected to ease over the next while.

CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said a pullback in in-migration is expected in part due to record setting numbers set in the past few years.

“[2012 and 2013] were extremely strong; we had over 40,000 migrants into the Calgary CMA, so not just the city of Calgary, but surrounding areas. That’s a very strong number, that is more than double typical levels,” she said.

“So a pullback is expected and it was already expected before this happened and that’s partly because, first of all … as other economies improve, it’s going to be a lot harder for us to attract migrants here. Now, when we add on the fact employment growth is expected to ease, it’s essentially going to be level to what we’ve seen this year so employment levels won’t necessarily gain.”

Court Ellingson, manager of research and community sustainability with Calgary Economic Development agreed there will “probably be a slowing down” of in-migration this year.

“My gut tells me … it’s probably going to be slower than 2014, remembering we’ve just been through banner years where things were just off the charts.”

To the north, Edmonton also saw a large influx of people into the city in 2013 with net migration of 38,511 people, a number they expect to hit around 29,000 for 2014 and decreasing to 15,000 in 2015, the same total for this year expected in Calgary.


“While the pullback seems significant following record numbers, migration levels should continue to support housing demand, albeit and lower levels, which are more consistent with long term averages,” said CREB®’s 2015 Economic Outlook and Regional Housing Forecast.

The outlook referred to migration numbers as of late as acting as a “catalyst” in Calgary’s housing market.
“Migration growth has served as a catalyst to the housing sector – both for new, resale and rental accommodations,” said the outlook. “Strong migration demand resulted in housing demand growth that far exceeded expectations over the past two years.”

Provincially, 34,768 people made their way to Alberta from other parts of the country between the end of the fourth quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2014, said an economic outlook for 2015 released by ATB Financial.

The report found interprovincial in-migration is accompanied by strong international migration resulting in numbers around 35,000 arriving in Alberta yearly.

“But, in-migration to Alberta is certain to slow-both from other parts of the country and internationally,” said the ATB report. “The energy sector slowdown will result in fewer new job openings. As well, better economic results in Ontario and Quebec in 2015 will discourage as much migration from those provinces to the prairies.”