The Canadian economy posted a second consecutive quarter of stellar economic growth, with real GDP expanding by  an annualized 4.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2017.  That is the strongest rate of economic growth since the third quarter of 2011.  Quarterly real GDP growth has averaged a remarkable 3.7 per cent over the past four quarters.  Growth  in the second quarter was was led by strong household consumption, which grew 4.6 per cent, as well as a nearly 10 per cent rise in exports and and and a 7 per cent increase in non-residential business investment.

Today's strong economic data solidifies the Bank of Canada's case for raising interest rates at least one more time this year, likely at its meeting in October rather than at its September meeting next week. While the Bank's primary motivation for increasing rates seems to be withdrawing the stimulus introduced following the 2015 oil shock,  growth in the Canadian economy has been well above the Bank of Canada's estimate for long-run or potential economic growth for the past year which means existing slack in the economy is being eliminated quickly. That should, in turn, lead to inflation rising at or above the Bank's 2 per cent target in coming months. Interest rate increases by the Bank beyond the this year will depend crucially on how the outlook for inflation develops.

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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Vancouver, BC – August 31, 2017. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2017 Third Quarter Housing Forecast update today.
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 10 per cent to 100,900 units this year, after reaching a record 112,209 units in 2016. Strong economic fundamentals are underpinning consumer demand and are expected to keep home sales at elevated levels through 2018. The ten-year average for MLS® residential sales in the province is 84,700 units. “British Columbia’s postion as the best performing economy in the country is bolstering consumer confidence and housing demand,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Strong employment growth, a marked increase in migrants from other provinces, and the ageing of the millennial generation is supporting a heightened level of housing transactions. However, a limited supply of homes for sale is causing home prices to rise significantly in many regions, particularly in the Lower Mainland condominium market”.

Continue reading here: http://www.bcrea.bc.ca/docs/news-2017/2017-08-31forecast.pdf?sfvrsn=2

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Mt Baldy is back! The hill had great success operating in 2016-2017 and is now better than ever. 1994 chalet on 3 levels. Main floor living with open great room combining living room, dining area and kitchen. Cozy fireplace, plus a bedroom, bathroom and laundry all on this level. Up has two large bedrooms and full bathroom. Bunk beds ready to accommodate large families. Lower level walk out features entrance foyer/mud room, games room with fireplace, storage and utility area - flex rooms could be bedrooms too. Mount Baldy is only 20 minutes from Oliver, and a great alternative to city living! Whether you are here for winter fun or year round living, this is a great package! Please call Geoff Cowling 250.490.7272 or TF at 1.800. 734.0457  or visit GeoffCowling.com

 

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Great package! Three level, 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, corner townhome. Small 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 ft 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 bath. Downstairs: big multipurpose room suitable for bedroom, media room or family room. Full height ceiling, and window well allows natural light. Laundry and a newer 3 piece bath. Note: gas heat, central air, built in vac, security system.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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Solid 1959 house, fully finished on 2 levels. 2 beds up with full bath and laundry.s, laundry. 1000 square feet. One bed suite down with full bath and laundry. Character house with a suite, on the edge of downtown & walking distance to shops, Farmer’s Market, beach & close proximity to SOEC, Community Centre, and hospital.  Nice package! Call Geoff Cowling 250.490.7272 or TF at 1.800. 734.0457  or visit GeoffCowling.com

 

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Retail sales in Canada climbed 7.3 per cent to $49 billion in June compared to the same month last year. The month-over-month increase was 0.1 per cent, marking the fourth consecutive month of gains. After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales were up 0.5 per cent by volume. This strong performance supports further upward movement in the Bank of Canada target interest rate as broadening strength in Canadian economy signals an expectation of rising inflation.

BC retail sales posted a phenomenal 12.4 per cent increase year-over-year in June to $7.2 billion. Compared to May, BC retail sales rose 1.9 per cent. This surge in consumer spending is being underpinned by above trend economic growth, rising employment and increased migration. 

 

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Vancouver, BC – August 14, 2017. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 9,275 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in July, down 6.3 per cent from the same period last year. Total sales dollar volume was $6.48 billion, down 1.3 per cent from July 2016. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $698,761, a 5.3 per cent increase from the same period last year.

“Strong economic growth, an expanding population base and a lack of supply continue to drive BC home sales and prices this summer," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "However, home sales have edged back 4 per cent since May, with active listings beginning to bounce back from a 20-year low," added Muir. "If these trends continue, it may signal that more balanced market conditions could emerge before the end of the year."

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 19.3 per cent to $45.6 billion, when compared with the same period in 2016. Residential unit sales declined 17.0 per cent to 64,107 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 2.8 per cent to $710,921.

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Canadian housing starts increased 4 per cent in July to 222,324 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts was also higher at217,550 units SAAR.

New home construction in BC was one of the main contributors to the overall increase in Canadian housing starts. Total housing starts in BC increased 20 per cent on a monthly basis to 45,597 units SAAR and were up 19 per cent on a year-over-year basis.  Single detached starts fell 3 per cent month-over-month and were 1 per cent lower year-over-year. Multiple unit starts rose close to 30 per cent on both a monthly and year-over-year basis.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA bounced back from a decline in June, rising 13 per cent year-over-year in July. The increase was primarily due to an 18 per cent jump in multiple unit starts, with most new construction activity taking place around Burnaby, Coquitlam and New Westminster.
  • In the Victoria CMA market, housing starts more than doubled year-over-year due to a more than 300 per cent increase in multiple unit starts. This represents a much needed boost to the supply of housing in Victoria over the medium term but will do little to address current low inventory levels.
  • New home construction in the Kelowna CMA was down 34 per cent year-over-year and declined 41 per cent on a monthly basis. The decline was likely the result of relative inactivity due to wildfires.
     
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA more than doubled for the second consecutive month as developers broke ground on 157 new multiple unit starts.

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Canadian employment increased by 11,000 jobs in July after adding almost 100,000 jobs over the previous two months. The national unemployment rate declined 0.2 points to 6.3 per cent, the lowest rate since October 2008. In the twelve months to July, employment in Canada is up 2.1 per cent, or 388,000 jobs including 354,000 full-time positions.
 
In BC, employment declined by 5,100 jobs, the first monthly decline since November 2016. However, the decline was entirely the result of fewer part-time positions while full-time employment actually expanded  by 7,000 jobs. The provincial unemployment rate edged up 0.2 points to 5.3 per cent.  Over the past twelve months, the BC economy has added 87,000 new jobs including 99,200 full-time jobs at the expense of part-time employment which has fallen by 12,200.

 

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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.


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