Steve Flynn  RE/MAX Crest Realty- Burnaby 

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A slightly frightening Halloween release of Canadian GDP data showed that the Canadian economy edged down 0.1 per cent in August. Declines in the manufacturing, mining and oil and gas sectors offset increases in the other 12 of 20 industrial sub-sectors that posted positive growth. Given today's release,  growth in the Canadian economy is tracking at about 2 per cent for the third quarter.
     
Today's disappointing GDP data should be the final nail in the coffin for further Bank of Canada rate increases this year.  The economy is showing real signs of slowing with no inflation in sight. We expect the Bank will hold its key policy rate at 1 per cent until mid-2018. 


 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

 






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The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation has edged up slightly and is expected to return to its target of 2 per cent in the second half of 2018 while economic growth is forecast to slow in the final six months of this year following a very strong first half.  The Bank emphasized that it will be cautious in making future adjustments to its policy rate as it assesses the sensitivity of the economy to higher interest rates.

There are several factors influencing the Bank's decision to move to the sidelines. Recent economic data points to a slowing of growth from the soaring heights of the first half of 2017. Moreover, inflation remains muted and newly announced tightening of mortgage regulations will have a significant impact on households, particularly in a rising mortgage rate environment. We expect that the Bank will take a wait and see approach over the next few months as the impact of its previous rate tightening takes hold. 



 Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

 


 


 

 

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Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), registered 1.6 per cent in the 12 months to September, up from 1.4 per cent in August.  The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation were largely unchanged, averaging 1.6 per cent.   In BC, provincial consumer price inflation was 2.0 per cent in the 12 months to September

Canadian retail sales declined 0.3 per cent on a monthly basis in August but were 6.9 per cent higher year-over-year. Sales were down in 8 of 11 retail sub-sectors and excluding the impact of higher gas prices and rising motor vehicle sales, the retail sector was down 1.3 per cent. In BC, after five straight monthly increases, sales fell 1 per cent on a monthly basis, but were up more than 10 per cent compared to September last year.

Given that incoming economic data has been signalling a slowing of the economy and inflation is still essentially treading water below the Bank's 2 per cent target, not to mention the tightening of mortgage regulations by OSFI, we expect that the Bank of Canada will stay on the sidelines at its upcoming October 25th meeting.  



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

 



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Canadian manufacturing sales rebounded 1.6 per cent in August following two consecutive months of falling output.  Sales were up in only 8 of 21 manufacturing sub-sectors, with the majority of growth arising due to higher sales in the transportation equipment and energy sectors.
 
In BC, manufacturing sales increased 0.8 per cent on a monthly basis and were up 5.2 per cent year-over-year. Strong gains continued in the wood products sector, along with very strong growth in machinery, and transportation equipment manufacturing. A growing manufacturing base has helped push employment higher across the province, supporting housing demand making strong contributions to BC's economy in 2017.



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

 




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Vancouver, BC – October 12, 2017.

 

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,340 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in September, an increase of 9.9 per cent from the same period last year.

 

Total sales dollar volume was $5.8 billion, up 30.2 per cent from September 2016. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $693,774, up 18.5 per cent from September 2016. “BC home sales rose nearly 5 per cent from August on a seasonally adjusted basis," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "Total active listings on the market continue to trend at ten-year lows in most BC regions, limiting unit sales and pushing home prices higher. While the economic fundamentals support elevated housing demand, rising home prices are eroding affordability, particularly for first-time buyers."

 

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 12.8 per cent to $57.6 billion, when compared with the same period in 2016. Residential unit sales declined 13 per cent to 81,608 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 0.2 per cent to $705,501.

 

 

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The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced new restrictions on uninsured mortgages today. Effective January 1, 2018, all home-buyers with a down payment of more than 20 per cent will have to qualify at the higher of the posted 5-year qualifying rate and their contractual rate plus 200 basis points (2 per cent).  This is in addition to policy announced in October of 2016 that required all insured borrowers qualify at the posted 5-year qualifying rate.

In addition to the new stress test for uninsured mortgages, OSFI is also requiring lenders to establish and adhere to appropriate loan-to-value limits reflective of risk and the current economic environment and is prohibiting lending arrangements designed to circumvent loan-to-value limits such as combing mortgages with other lending products.

These new residential mortgage underwriting requirements will apply to all Federally regulated financial institutions.
 
The impact of the new stress test requirement will be to lower the purchasing power of households by up to 20 cent. Like past tightening of mortgage regulations, we anticipate that the market impact will be sharp but temporary. In the past, we have seen home sales decline in the 3 to 9 months following the implementation of tighter mortgage lending standards, with the severity of the impact fading within one year.  However, these new regulations impact a larger pool of mortgages and so the impact could be more significant than in the past.

 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

 

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Canadian housing starts decreased by 4 per cent in September to 217,118 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts also declined to 214,821 units SAAR.

New home construction in BC rose 6 per cent on a monthly basis to 37,470 units SAAR but was down 18 per cent on a year-over-year basis.  Single detached starts were flat compared to one year ago while multiple unit starts declined 24 per cent year-over-year.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA fell 13 per cent from August and were down about half compared to September 2016. Multiple unit starts were down 58 per cent from one year ago as record levels of units under construction weigh on new projects.

  • In the Victoria CMA market, housing starts continue to surge, rising 127 per cent year-over-year. Multiple unit starts continue to drive new home construction, with starts more than triple levels seen last September.

  • New home construction in the Kelowna CMA jumped more than 200 per cent year-over-year as close to 350 new multiple unit starts were recorded.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA also more than doubled year-over-year due to strong growth in both single and multiple starts. 

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Canadian employment increased by 10,000 jobs in September while the the national unemployment rate remained steady at 6.2 per cent. In the twelve months to August, employment in Canada is up 1.8 per cent, or 320,000 jobs. Somewhat tepid job growth along with slumping exports and flat real GDP in recent months means the Bank of Canada will very likely hold off on raising rates at its October meeting.
 
In BC, employment declined for a third consecutive month, falling by 6,700 jobs in September. Full-time employment was up by 5,000 jobs but an 11,600 decrease in part-time work more than offset those gains.   Over the past twelve months, the level of employment in BC is up 3.6 per cent.  Despite three months of falling employment, the provincial unemployment rate continued to slide lower due to declining participation in the labour market. The BC unemployment rate fell 0.2 points to 4.9 per cent, the lowest rate since September 2008.  

 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission. 

 





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Home buyer demand continues to differ based on housing type

Apartment and townhome activity is outpacing the detached home market across Metro Vancouver*. This activity helped push total residential sales above the historical average in September.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,821 in September 2017, a 25.2 per cent increase from the 2,253 sales recorded in September 2016, and a 7.3 per cent decrease compared to August 2017 when 3,043 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 13.1 per cent above the 10-year September sales average. “Our detached homes market is balanced today, while apartment and townhome sales remain in sellers’ market territory,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “If you’re looking to enter the market, as either a buyer or seller, it’s important to understand these trends and use this information to set realistic expectations.”


There were 5,375 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in September 2017. This represents a 12 per cent increase compared to the 4,799 homes listed in September 2016 and a 26.6 per cent increase compared to August 2017 when 4,245 homes were listed.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,466, a 1.2 per cent increase compared to September 2016 (9,354) and a 7.5 per cent increase compared to August 2017 (8,807).  “Detached homes made up 30 per cent of all sales in September and represented 62 per cent of all the homes listed for sale on the MLS®,” said Oudil. “This dynamic has slowed the pace of upward pressure that we’ve seen on detached home prices in our market over the last few years.”


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2017 is 29.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.6 per cent for detached homes, 42.3 per cent for townhomes, and 60.4 per cent for apartments. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,037,300. This represents a 10.9 per cent increase over September 2016 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to August 2017.


Sales of detached properties in September 2017 reached 852, a 27.9 per cent increase from the sales recorded in September 2016 (666), a decrease of 33 per cent from September 2015 (1,272), and a decrease of 32.9 per cent from September 2014 (1,270). The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,617,300. This represents a 2.9 per cent increase from September 2016 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to August 2017.


Sales of apartment properties reached 1,451 in September 2017, a 19.1 per cent increase compared from the sales recorded in September 2016 (1,218), a 5.1 per cent decrease from September 2015 (1,529), and a 22.1 per cent increase from September 2014 (1,188). The benchmark price of an apartment property is $635,800. This represents a 21.7 per cent increase from September 2016 and a 1.4 per cent increase compared to August 2017.


Attached property sales in September 2017 totalled 518, a 40.4 per cent increase compared to the sales recorded in September 2016 (369), a 4.8 per cent decrease from September 2015 (544), and an 11.6 per cent increase from September 2014 (464). The benchmark price of an attached home is $786,600. This represents a 14.5 per cent increase from September 2016 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to August 2017.



*Areas covered by the 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, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.



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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.