Thanks for your suggestions chenjc. My game project is in debug mode, e.g. _DEBUG is set in pre-processor. I do not get any additional error output. Because Direct3DBase.cpp is external setting a breakpoint in CreateDeviceResources() has no effect so I'm unable to step through the DX related code to see exactly where this happens.
But, from what I can see there is only one place in Direct3DBase.cpp where a swap chain is created, at line 148 in Direct3DBase::CreateWindowSizeDependentResources():
Windows::UI::Core::CoreWindow^ window = m_window.Get();
nullptr, // Allow on all displays.
I also just discovered that this issue occurs in the HelloCpp project too. Run it on a WP8 device in VS2012 debug mode. Press and hold the back button until the app window is zoomed out then re-activate the app again by clicking on its window. This may have to be repeated several times but at some point this error message message should pop up in the console output window.