Calgary will see GDP growth of 1.9 per cent this year and post solid growth over the next five years, according to the Calgary and Region Economic Outlook for 2019 to 2024.
The growth rate in 2019 eclipses both the provincial rate of 1.5 per cent and the national rate of 1.7 per cent, the report from the City of Calgary noted.
“The City of Calgary and the Calgary Economic Region should have a third straight year of positive economic growth in 2019,” said Oyin Shyllon, an economist and regulatory lead for the city.
The report noted that $15 billion in major projects were underway in the Calgary region as of April and another $19.9 billion in investments are expected to start this year.
The overall building permit value in the city is forecast to average about $4.8 billion annually for the next five years.
A drag on development is a glut of empty office space: the report estimates that the amount of new office space completed in Calgary over the last decade exceeds the total office space inventory in Winnipeg. The subsequent loss of commercial property assessment values has resulted in a $257 million tax shift out of downtown.
A forecasted rise in the price of oil anchors the city’s bullish outlook.
The city’s report predicts that Western Canada Select (WCS) prices will rise steadily from US$38 per barrel in 2019 to US$52 per barrel by 2024.
As of June 17, WCS was quoted at US$41.511 per barrel by oilprice.com.