A bright spot in BC’s economy
Along with Southwest BC, the Vancouver Island/Coast Development Region was the other bright spot in BC’s economy in 2016, and it is expected to grow in 2017:
1. The region added 9,200 jobs in 2016, its greatest job creation since 2010. Southwest BC was the only other development region to experience job growth in BC. The service sector accounted for 70% of this growth. An increase in population, tourism activity, and housing activity could be attributed to employment growth in the service sector.
2. The Capital Regional District and Nanaimo attracted approximately 80% of the 10,319 new residents in 2016. This stimulated a 27% increase in housing sales and a 12% increase in prices, drawing down existing inventories. Housing starts increased accordingly, particularly in Victoria, where they increased by 46%. And while housing activity has slowed relative to early 2016, residential construction in the region will likely remain busy, creating additional jobs in the construction industry.
3. The low Canadian dollar encouraged more US visitors and Canadian tourists. Airport, ferry, and cruise ship passengers to the region increased, which helped to increase hotel occupancy. This trend has continued into 2017, and it will generate more economic activity. In fact, this year’s cruise season is expected to bring almost $100 million in economic value to the region.