Steve Flynn  RE/MAX Crest Realty- Burnaby 

Cell: 604.785.3977 |


Economic output in Canada was slower than expected in October, as real GDP was unchanged after a 0.5% decline in September. Both the Goods and Service sectors recorded zero growth in October, below an expected 0.2% increase overall. It is now unlikely that GDP growth will reach the Bank of Canada's forecast of 1.5% this year. However, Canada's relative weak performance is tied to temporary factors concerning oil and gas extraction and global commodity demand.

In related releases, retail sales in Canada rose at an unexciting 1.9% annual pace in October, while the Survey of Employment Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) indicated employment rose a marginal 0.8% annual rate. 

In contrast to these national figures, retail sales in BC climbed an impressive 6.3% over the past 12 months, while the SEPH recorded employment rising by 2.5% in the province.

While the Canadian economy continues to grapple with the fallout from a collapse in oil prices, the BC economy has been largely unscathed and is leading the country in these key indicators.

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.4 per cent in November compared to the same month last year. While the transportation component, which contains gasoline prices, edged lower, prices were up in seven of the eight major index components. The largest increase came from food prices, which rose 3.4 per cent. The Core CPI, which excludes the volatile components like food and gasoline, was right on the Bank of Canada's target of 2 per cent.

Wholesale trade in Canada declined for the fourth consecutive month in October, down by 0.6 per cent. Wholesales sales in BC were down 1.2 per cent in October and it was the second consecutive month of decline in BC. The inventory-to-sales ratio in Canada during October was 1.34 per cent, reaching its highest level since June of 2009.

These tepid indicators suggest the Bank of Canada will continue its sideline stance and will likely not change its trend-setting target overnight interest rate at its next announcement. 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


The Canadian government announced today that it is increasing the minimum down payment on insured mortgages from 5 per cent to a two tiered system under which the minimum down payment on houses priced above $500,000 will remain at 5 per cent, but there will be an additional 10 per cent required on the portion of the house price above $500,000. 

As an example, for a house priced at $700,000, the minimum down payment for mortgage insurance purposes under the status quo would be $35,000. Under the new system, the minimum down payment would be 5 per cent x $500,000 + 10 per cent x ($700,000-$500,000) or $45,000. It is important to note that the homes priced at or above $1 million already require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. 

The changes to minimum down payments will take effect on February 15, 2016 and apply to new mortgage loans where a mortgage insurance application is received on February 15, 2016 or later. 

Market Impact 

The increase in minimum down payments on homes above $500,000 is designed to target excess risk taking in Canada's most expensive housing markets. Most homes in BC are priced below $500,000 and therefore this change will have limited impact in much of the province. However, 35 per cent of homes sold in Metro-Vancouver are priced between $500,000 and $1 million and so this change could adversely affect or delay demand in those markets, particularly for first-time homebuyers. That said, given the incremental nature of the change, and since minimum down payments are less frequent at higher home prices, we expect the overall impact to be relatively minor. 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


Employment in Canada declined by 36,000 jobs in November, largely as the result of losses in part-time work. The national unemployment rate edged 0.1 points higher to 7.1 per cent.  Total hours worked, which is strongly correlated with economic growth, is up 1.1 per cent over the past 12 months while total employment is up 0.7 per cent over that time period. 
In BC, employment fell by 1,400 jobs following strong gains in October. The provincial unemployment rate declined 0.1 points to 6.2 per cent . Year-to-date, employment in BC is up 1.2 per cent but has risen at a rate of 2.5 per cent over the past three months. 

In the US, payrolls expanded by a robust 211,000 jobs while estimates of job growth in previous months were revised higher by 35,000 jobs. The US unemployment rate was unchanged at 5 per cent. 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation is in line with its outlook with total CPI inflation near the bottom of the Bank's 1 to 3 per cent target range while core inflation remains close to 2 per cent.  On growth, the Bank cited ongoing and complex adjustments in the Canadian economy to low commodity prices, but expects growth to move above potential (usually estimated to be about 2 per cent) in 2016. 
Absent a substantial recovery in global commodity prices, the Canadian economy will more than likely grow near its long-term trend rate over the next two years. That rate of growth will keep inflation relatively anchored at or below its 2 per cent target.  A baseline scenario of economic growth above 2 per cent, paired with low inflation and steady job growth should keep the Bank of Canada sidelined over the medium run. However, several quarters of steady growth following the oil price shock of late 2014 may convince policymakers that the economy is no longer in need of the monetary stimulus injected into the economy via two rate cuts in early 2015. If so, the Bank may shift back to a tightening bias with a potential rate increase late next year or in early 2017.

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


Home sales reached near record levels in November even as home listings began the traditional year-end decline.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 3,524 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November 2015. This represents a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the 2,516 sales recorded in November 2014, and a 3.3 per cent decrease compared to the 3,646 sales in October 2015.

Last month’s sales were 46.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the second highest November on record for residential property sales. “November is typically one of the quietest months of the year in our housing market, but not this year,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “The ratio of sales to home’s available for sale reached 44 per cent in November, which is the highest it’s been in our market in nine years.”


New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 3,392 in November. This represents a 12.5 per cent increase compared to the 3,016 new listings reported in November 2014. The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 8,096, a 35 per cent decline compared to November 2014 and a 15.4 per cent decline compared to October 2015. 


“Demand remains strong and there are housing options at different price points throughout the region,” McLeod said. “It’s important to work with your REALTOR® to understand your options before you embark on your home buying journey.” The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $752,500. This represents a 17.8 per cent increase compared to November 2014.


The sales-to-active-listings ratio in November was 43.5 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular community for a sustained period of time. 

Sales of detached properties in November 2015 reached 1,335, an increase of 31.9 per cent from the 1,012 detached sales recorded in November 2014, and a 44.2 per cent increase from the 926 units sold in November 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 22.6 per cent from November 2014 to $1,226,300. 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,553 in November 2015, an increase of 47.6 per cent compared to the 1,052 sales in November 2014, and an increase of 60.3 per cent compared to the 969 sales in November 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 14 per cent from November 2014 to $435,000. 

Attached property sales in November 2015 totalled 636, an increase of 40.7 per cent compared to the 452 sales in November 2014, and a 49.3 per cent increase from the 426 attached properties sold in November 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 11.3 per cent between November 2014 and 2015 to $536,600.

If you would like detailed statistics for a specific kind of property in any REBGV city and/or neigbourhood please contact me and I can easily send to you at your convenience.

*Note: Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.


The Canadian economy rebounded from a first half contraction, growing 2.3 per cent in the third quarter in spite of a slowdown in the month of September. Economic growth was led by a 2.3 per cent gain in exports of goods and services, more than four times the rate of export growth recorded in the second quarter. Household consumption rose 0.8 per cent and residential investment grew 0.6 per cent. Business investment in machinery and non-residential structures continued to feel the effects of low commodity prices, falling 1.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively. Growth for all of 2015 will likely register a paltry 1.2 per cent with stronger second half growth offsetting consecutive negative quarters in the first half of the year. 

The outlook for growth in 2016 remains weighed down by low oil prices and the associated struggles in Canada’s energy producing provinces. Higher oil prices would provide a welcome boost to economic growth, but increasing prices are contingent on more robust global demand which may not materialize. In addition, the economy may have to adjust to a slight increase in mortgage rates which could temper the pace of residential construction and home sales. Offsetting these downside risks is that the low Canadian dollar should continue to provide a boost to the trade and manufacturing sector. Overall, we forecast growth in the Canadian economy will pick-up next year to 2.4 per cent.

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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