Great package, just listed. Three level, 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, corner townhome. 4 unit complex that is child and pet friendly, and investor alert: rentals are OK. Nicely finished with an open floorplan on the main, 9’ ceilings, and lots of natural light. Kitchen with breakfast bar opens to living and dining areas, warmed by a featured gas fireplace. Powder room on main level too. Upstairs: 3 good sized bedrooms and a 4 piece b...ath. Downstairs: big multipurpose room suitable for bedroom, media room or family room. Full height ceiling. Laundry, 3 piece bath. Note: gas heat, central air, built in vac, security system. Private NW corner allows afternoon sun. Fenced flat yard. Central location near the College and SOEC, and just a short drive to downtown and the beach. Please call Geoff Cowling 250.490.7272 or TF at 1.800. 734.0457 or visit GeoffCowling.com


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The Canadian economy posted blockbuster growth in May, expanding 0.6 per cent on a monthly basis and 4.6 per cent year-over-year.  This was the seventh consecutive month of positive growth for the Canadian economy. Moreover, growth was broad based with output increasing in 14 of 20 industrial sectors.  Given the first two months of GDP data, the Canadian economy is on track to post a second consecutive quarter of growth close to 4 per cent.

Strong economic growth further solidifies the Bank of Canada's case for raising interest rates one more time this year, likely at its October meeting. However, the path of interest rates beyond that rests heavily on the evolution of Canadian inflation, which has been trending well below the Bank's 2 per cent target. 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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A further sign of momentum in the Canadian economy this morning as Canadian manufacturing sales increased 1.1 per cent in May, the third consecutive monthly increase.  Overall, sales were higher in 16 of 21 manufacturing sub-sectors, reflecting broad-based strength in the Canadian economy.  Continued strong economic data will likely push the Bank of Canada closer to a second rate increase this fall.
 
In BC, manufacturing sales increased 1.8 per cent on a monthly basis and were up 8.2 per cent year-over-year. A strong manufacturing and trade sector has been a key contributor to economic growth in the province this year, which is on track to record a fourth consecutive year of 3 per cent or more growth in real GDP, the best performance for the provincial economy since 2007. 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is raising its target for the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 0.75 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that Canada's economy has been robust and a significant amount of economic slack has been absorbed. While inflation data has been soft, the Bank expects that this is temporary and that inflation will return to its 2 per cent target by mid-2018.

The motivation for today's rate increase seems primarily to be that the Bank feels that the stimulus it injected into the Canadian economy in 2015 through two rate cuts is no longer required given a recent trend of strong economic and employment growth. If that is the case, a further 25 basis point increase before the end of the year will likely follow.  After that, the pace of rate increases relies heavily on the trend in Canadian inflation, which to date has been well below the Bank's 2 per cent target. If that trend does not reverse by early next year, the Bank may decide to stop at a 1 per cent overnight rate until higher inflation emerges. 

As bond markets reprice rate expectations, Canadian mortgage rates have returned to levels observed at the beginning of the year. We expect that mortgage rates will rise further in the second half of 2017, finishing near 3 per cent for a five-year fixed rate. 


 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

 

 

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Canadian housing starts increased 9 per cent in June to 212,695 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts continues to trend higher at about 215,459 units SAAR, the highest level in almost five years.

In BC, total housing starts declined 19 per cent on a monthly basis to a still robust 37,279 units SAAR and were down 22 per cent on a year-over-year basis.  Single detached starts fell 2 per cent month-over-month but were 14 per cent higher year-over-year. Multiple unit starts fell 24 per cent month-over-month and were down 31 per cent year-over-year.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were actually down 34 per cent year-over-year with a 2 per cent decline posted in single units starts and a 40 per cent drop in multiple units starts compared to last year. The record level of units currently under construction is likely putting downward pressure on new starts as the industry is close to capacity.
  • In the Victoria CMA market, housing starts declined 42 per cent year-over-year with multiple unit starts at only half the level of June 2016. Single unit starts increased 5 per cent.  
  • New home construction in the Kelowna CMA was up 80 per cent year-over-year but fell by half on a monthly basis compared to a big increase in new home construction in May. 
     
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA more than doubled on a both a monthly and year-over-year basis due to more than 230 new multiple units starts in June. 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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Canadian employment increased by 45,000 jobs in June and is up by almost 100,000 jobs over the past two months. The national unemployment rate ticked lower by 0.1 points to 6.5 per cent and total hours worked was up 1.4 per cent over the past 12 months.  While the majority of June's employment gains were in part-time work, Canada has added 250,000 full-time jobs in the past year.  Today's strong jobs number provides the Bank of Canada with supporting evidence that the Canadian economy no longer needs the extra stimulus put in place in 2015. That likely pushes the Bank closer to raising its overnight rate as early as next week.
 
In BC, employment continues to expand rapidly. The province added 20,000 new jobs in June, a 4.4 per cent increase over the past 12 months. The provincial unemployment rate fell 0.5 points to 5.1 per cent.

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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The total value of Canadian building permits jumped 8.9 per cent in April to the third highest value on record. The increase was primarily due to higher residential construction intentions in Ontario. 

The total value of permits issued in BC increased 4.4 per cent on a monthly basis and were up 8.3 per cent year-over-year. Residential permits rose 7.6 per cent on a monthly basis and were 8.3 per cent higher year-over year while non-residential permits declined 3.5 per cent on a monthly basis but were 8.3 per cent higher year-over-year.

Construction intentions were higher in three of BC's four census metropolitan areas (CMA):

  • Permits in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA  fell almost 40 per cent in May to $45 million after a very strong April. Year-over-year, permit values were more than double the value of May 2016.
  • In the Victoria CMA, total construction intentions totaled close to $130 million, a 20 per cent monthly increase and a doubling of permit values from one year ago.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, permits were 39 per cent lower on a monthly basis and 10 per cent down from May 2016 at about $71 million.
  • In the Vancouver CMA, permit activity was up 14 per cent to $722 million.  However, on a year-over-year basis, construction intentions fell 6.1 per cent.

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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US Real GDP Growth (Q4'2016) - January 27, 2017


US real GDP growth registered a weaker than expected 1.9 per cent growth the final quarter of 2016, and 1.6 per cent growth for the year as a whole.  Growth was pulled lower by a widening US trade deficit, while consumer demand and business investment were robust. Most economists expect US economic growth to accelerate to about 2.2 per cent in 2017.

The pace of economic growth in the United States could be a key determinant in the BC housing market this year. While faster US growth is generally positive for the BC economy, a stronger pace of growth along with a possibly significant shift in the fiscal outlook due to the large tax cuts and ramped-up spending plans of the Trump administration, is already translating to rising long-term interest rates as markets anticipate higher inflation and consequent monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve. In turn, that uptrend in rates is putting pressure on Canadian mortgage rates, with many lenders increasing their best offered rates. 

 

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Canadian Retail Sales - January 20, 2017


Canadian retail sales inched 0.2 per cent higher in November.  Sales were higher in just 5 of 11 sub-sectors, with motor vehicle and parts dealers and building materials supplies leading the way.  E-commerce sales accounted for 3 per cent of total retail sales, the highest proportion to date in 2016.  Given today's data,  we are currently tracking fourth quarter Canadian real GDP growth at 1.5 per cent. 

In BC, retail sales were down 0.7 per cent on a monthly basis, but were 5.5 per cent higher year-over-year.  Year-to-date, retail sales in the province are up 6.5 per cent. 


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Canadian Manufacturing Sales - January 19, 2017


Canadian manufacturing sales rose 1.5 per cent in November after posting a moderate decline the previous month.  Sales were higher in 14 of 21 manufacturing sub-sectors. After adjusting for inflation, the total volume of sales was 1.2 per cent higher. 

In BC, where the manufacturing sector is a significant employer and a key driver of economic growth, sales were up 2.4 per cent on a monthly basis and 9.2 per cent year-over-year. The manufacturing sector has been on a significant upswing after a slow first half with sales posting nearly 8 per cent growth over the second half of the year. That growth is adding to already strong momentum in other sectors and supporting housing demand across BC communities where manufacturing, particularly of forestry products, is an important driver of local economic activity. 


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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - January 18, 2017


The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is holding the target for its overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that uncertainty in the global outlook, particularly with regard to policies in the United States, is undiminished. The Canadian economy is forecast to grow 2.1 per cent in both 2017 and 2018, implying the Canadian economy will return to full capacity in mid-2018.  On inflation, the Bank noted that it continued to be lower than expected but should return to it 2 per cent target in coming months.

Political uncertainty in the United States will likely govern the direction of both policy rates and long-term bond yields over the next year. The interest rate on 5-year government of Canada bonds has risen to its highest point in a year, which is adding upward pressure to mortgage rates offered by Canadian lenders.  While the Canadian economy is forecast to post steady growth in 2017, overall slack in the Canadian economy remains persistent.  Without a significant uptick in economic growth, inflation will likely continue to trend at or below the Bank's 2 per cent target.  That, along with lingering uncertainty, will keep the Bank sidelined through 2017 with a chance of lowering its target rate should current downside risks to the economy become realized.


Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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