Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.7% in October year-over-year, up from the previous month's increase of 0.5%. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose by 1.1%. Prices rose in five of eight components year-over-year in October, with food contributing the most to the increase due to rising prices for lettuce as a result of disease and inclement weather. Growth in the Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation rose by 0.1 percentage points in October, averaging 1.8%. 

Regionally, the CPI was positive in all provinces. In BC, CPI rose by 0.5% in October year-over-year, up from September's increase of 0.4%. Strong price growth continued for health and personal care (3.1%), shelter (2.2%), and food (2.0%). In contrast, downward price pressures were ongoing in gas (-18.0%), clothing and footwear (-3.8%), and transportation (-1.7%). 

Costs for shelter continue to increase, as record-low interest rates put downward pressure on mortgage costs. This has made single-family homes more attractive to households demanding more space. As provinces such as Ontario and Quebec expand their containment measures, and with new restrictions in BC, Canadian inflation is expected to remain subdued. In this environment, the Bank of Canada will continue to keep interest rates low.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-inflation-oct-november-18-2020

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Vancouver, BC – November 12, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 11,051 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2020, an increase of 43.8 per cent from October 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC set a record of $812,960, a 12.5 per cent increase from $722,333 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in August was $8.98 billion, a 61.8 per cent increase over 2019.

“The provincial housing market sustained its blistering pace of activity in October,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While pent-up demand may be starting to fade, record low interest rates and a recovering job market are supporting strong sales.”

“A pandemic-driven shift in buyers’ preference for extra space is pushing average prices to record highs as larger value transactions account for a higher share of sales,” added Ogmundson. Prices are also being pushed higher by a lack of inventory. Total provincial active listings continue to trend lower and were close to 14 per cent lower in October 2020 compared to 2019.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 29.7 per cent to $58.7 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. Residential unit sales were up 16.3 per cent to 76,140 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 11.5 per cent to $771,085.   

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Canadian employment gained 84k jobs in October (0.5%, m/m), following a gain of 378k in September. This is the sixth consecutive month of increases, putting national employment within 636k of its pre-COVID February level. The national unemployment rate was little changed at 8.9%, as some provinces reinstated containment measures targeted at restaurants and bars, and recreational facilities. Compared to the same month last year, Canadian employment was down by 3.1% (-598k).

Regionally, employment increased in five provinces, with the largest gains in BC and Ontario. In BC, employment grew by 33.5k (1.4%, m/m) in October, following a gain of 55k in September. The province is now at 97% of its pre-COVID February employment level. The unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month, down by 0.4 percentage points to 8.0%. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, employment increased by 52k jobs (3.8%, m/m). Compared to one year ago, employment in BC was down by 3.3% (-86K) jobs.

As expected, employment recovery was slower in October than the jumps we saw earlier on. Gains in industries that were hardest hit reported some backpedaling in October, as a few provinces reinstated containment measures. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the path to recovery will be tougher, especially if containment measures in Ontario and Quebec are prolonged, and if other provinces/territories decide to follow suit.

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Vancouver, BC – November 4, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2020 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to rise 16.9 per cent to 90,450 units this year, after recording 77,350 residential sales in 2019. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase 9.7 per cent to 99,240 units in 2021.

 “The housing market had a record fall season and prices are rapidly rising as pent-up demand floods into an under-supplied market,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Chief Economist. “As that pent-up demand fades, sales will likely come down from their current record pace, albeit to a still robust level of activity as record-low mortgage rates and a recovering economy continue to drive sales.”

On the supply side, active listings remain low due to hesitation on the part of sellers to list during the pandemic. Some additional supply may come online following the end of mortgage deferral programs, but given the tightness of market conditions, that supply is unlikely to be disruptive. We are forecasting the provincial MLS® average price to finish the year up 9.9 per cent and to increase a further 2.6 per cent in 2021.

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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. 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.



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. 


Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


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. 


Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


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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