York Region’s population grew by 11,300 in 2022 to 1,239,500 residents – a 0.9 per cent increase over 2021 and comparable to pre-pandemic growth.
Construction value for all sectors, meanwhile, totalled $4.3 billion last year. That dollar figure is down compared to 2021 but the industrial sector has increased strongly, according to the Region’s annual Growth and Development Review.
“Many of York Region’s employment sectors are recovering well after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Regional Councillor Joe DiPaola, Chair of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development. “Continued development in all areas strengthens the Region’s economic vitality by retaining and growing businesses and top talent showcasing our diverse and vibrant economy.”
Non-residential building permit construction value increased by 4.9 per cent since 2021, hitting a 20-year high of $1.7 billion. Those permits include industrial, commercial and institutional developments. Residential permits account for $2.6 billion of the total construction value with 7,120 units. That’s a decrease from 2021 but on par with the 10-year average, the Region reports.
A total of 5,264 homes were completed in 2022 and include apartments (39 per cent), single detached (38 per cent) and semi-detached and townhomes (23 per cent). The total number of resales for all unit types, meanwhile, decreased by 42 per cent in 2022, a shift the Region attributes to the mid-year rise in interest rates.
Development charges in 2022, the highest in the last five years, increased by 24 per cent since 2021. The charges are collected when a building permit is issued or when a subdivision plan is registered and are a major source of funding, helping York deliver critical services and infrastructure such as water and wastewater, roads and transit.
But the amount of development charges collected could decrease dramatically once the provincial government’s controversial Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 is implemented, the Region warns. Intended to spur development, the bill proposes several exemptions and discounts for attainable, affordable, non-profit and rental housing, the Region notes.
When it comes to employment, the Region continues to recover from losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Employment Survey in 2022 found York is home to more than 33,000 businesses and 615,760 jobs. While unemployment rates had improved by 4.2 per cent as of December 2022, they were still down from 6.4 per cent compared to the middle of that year. The Region says those numbers supports the goal of one job for every two residents, as set out in its Official Plan.
The Growth and Development Review provides an update on population, building activity, construction value and other important indicators of economic vitality and community building and helps inform how York plans for provided services and infrastructure to ensure all residents are accommodated.
The review also supports policy development, research, population targets and housing initiatives. “Strategically planning for York Region’s growth is a priority and focus for York Regional Council,” York Region CEO Wayne Emmerson says. “With our population and development activity continuing to increase, it reinforces York Region remains a destination of choice to live and invest.”