News / Calgary

Calgary's 10-year financial forecast predicts smoother sailing

Councillor says a slower paced growth will allow for more strategic city planning

Calgary's skyline on July 20, 2017.

SYSTEM / Calgary Freelance

Calgary's skyline on July 20, 2017.

The City of Calgary's latest economic forecast isn't predicting a return to the boom times in the next decade, but that's quite all right for at least one city councillor.

The Calgary and Region Economic Outlook is published every spring and fall by the city's top financial minds.

The 50-page report delves deep into all sorts of economic indicators, including population, housing prices, residential rentals and office vacancy.

Gazing into their crystal ball, the city's economists made some key predictions including a slow rise in oil prices to $65 per barrel by 2026, a steady climb in interest rates, and a growth of Real GDP in Alberta by 2.4 per cent each year until 2022.

Calgary's population is expected to keep growing at a steady pace of around 1.3 per cent per year. That means an extra 15,000 to 20,000 residents joining the city every year.

However the makeup of the city's population is expected to skew older. Currently, Calgary is one of the youngest cities in Canada. The number of seniors 65 or older is forecast to climb from 148,600 today to 206,000 by 2026.

People aged 40-50 will also make up a greater share of the population, putting more demand on single-family homes. Meanwhile, young adults aged 20-34 is expected to drop from 293,000 to 267,000 in nine years.

The authors caution that they aren't expecting young adults to leave en masse, but rather to have fewer young people moving to the city, and those who are here to age in place.

The job market is expected to improve. The city expects to see an average of 19,700 jobs added each year between now and 2026.

However, Calgarians can expect to pay a bit more for necessities as those jobs reappear. The consumer price index is expected to jump 2.3 per cent in 2018, and then 2.1 per cent over the remaining eight years.

In the downtown core, office vacancies is at historic highs, but with steady growth, the city ex expected to return to long-term average vacancy rates by 2025.

Ward 12 councillor Shane Keating said he's pleased to hear a slower and steadier predicted growth in the next decade.

He said before the economic downturn at the end of 2014, the city was growing so fast council could hardly keep up with pent up demand for services and infrastructure.

"It allows us to take a breath and really sit back and plan for the future very strategically– as well as look at the services," said Keating.

He said there are probably some services that should be eliminated, while others should continue, although council needs to find ways to deliver them more efficiently.

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