Langford is holding on to top spot as the capital region municipality with the highest yearly increase in population, both in numbers and on a percentage basis.
Population climbed by 3.9 per cent from 2013 to 2014, adding 1,287 people for a total of 34,677, B.C. Stats said in a new report.
That’s slower growth than the previous two years, which saw increases of 5.5 per cent and 4.0 per cent.
Even so, Langford ranked fourth among municipalities with the largest percentage population growth after Lake Country in the Okanagan, Fort St. John and Sechelt District Municipality.
B.C.’s total population was 4.6 million as of July 2014, up 1.1 per cent from 2013, B.C. Stats said.
In Langford, the vast majority of home hunters are families, said Cheryl Laidlaw, a real estate agent with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty’s office on Jacklin Road.
Buyers can often find more land, and more square footage for their money, along with amenities such as shopping and parks, she said. Langford is also a family-favourite because of its outdoor activities and expanding recreational facilities. “A lot of my clients are looking for those outdoor activities,” Laidlaw said.
Scott Gillies and Melissa Horner said they were attracted by the parks and recreational offerings. The couple moved to Langford in summer 2013 from New Westminster. Their 2 1Ú2--year-old son, John, “loves to run and that’s part of what we really like about this area,” Gillies said.
The family came to the capital region for Horner’s job and was attracted to Langford’s large lots. Gillies runs his Azara Effect Productions, an animation and video production company, from home.
Lower land prices have fuelled a fury of homebuilding in Langford, where the benchmark price for a house was $409,000 in December, compared with $489,700 for Greater Victoria.
Langford Mayor Stew Young, who has held the job since 1993, said that despite the slightly lower percentage increase in growth, the municipality is flourishing. And he predicted that Langford will maintain its steady pace of growth for many more years.
He attributed the growth to commercial development along major corridors, which brings more investment and businesses. This, in turn, creates jobs and attracts new residents who support those businesses and use the amenities, such as upgraded lake beaches and a recreational facility built in partnership with the YMCA-YWCA.
Langford is known for its swift handling of development projects and cutting red tape. “Something is always going on,” Young said. “The energy is out here.”
Seven of 13 capital region municipalities, plus unincorporated areas, posted year-over-year population growth, while six showed declines.
Oak Bay’s population dropped by one per cent, putting it at 17,448 in 2014. Mayor Nils Jensen said Oak Bay’s population has been relatively stable in the past 10 to 15 years and called the drop a small change. “Certainly, we see families growing up and the children moving out so that contributes to it.” But families are still moving into Oak Bay, he said.