Steve Flynn  RE/MAX Crest Realty- Burnaby 

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US real GDP growth registered 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, the slowest pace in a year due to a pullback in spending by households that saw consumer spending post its lowest growth in five years.  On the positive side, business investment was solid and exports rose nearly 5 per cent. However, US imports of goods and services from other countries grew only 2.6 per cent.

While steady growth in the United States is generally good news for the BC economy, slow growth in US imports and the ad-hoc approach to trade policy under the current administration still present a significant risk for BC's important export sector.

 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


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Canadian retail sales increased 0.4 per cent on monthly in basis in February and were 3.5 per cent higher year-over-year.  Sales were higher in only 4 of 11 sub-sectors representing less than half of total retail trade.  With today's data, and all other data available thus far for the first quarter, we are tracking Canadian economic growth at about 1.6 per cent for the first quarter of 2018.  In BC, retail sales were up 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis and 5.9 per cent year-over-year. Retail sales in the province continue to moderate back to historical trend after growing close to 10 per cent in 2017.

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), increased again in March as prices rose 2.3 per cent year-over-year, up from 2.2 per cent in February. The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation were relatively unchanged at around 2 per cent.   In BC, provincial consumer price inflation was 2.6 per cent in the 12 months to March.  Rising inflation and an economy operating at capacity signals further Bank of Canada tightening, potentially as soon as the next interest rate decision on May 30.



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.



 

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The Bank of Canada decided to leave the target for the overnight policy rate unchanged at 1.25 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation is forecast to be slightly higher in 2018 than originally expected but will return to the Bank's 2 per cent target once the impact of higher gas prices and minimum wage increases dissipate.  While the mortgage stress test has been a contributor to weaker growth in the first quarter of 2018, the Bank expects the economy to be operating at above potential over the next three years, growing at an average rate of about 2 per cent.

Although the Bank held steady today, with inflation rising to the Bank's two per cent target and many Canadian firms operating at or near capacity, interest rates are very likely headed higher this year.  Headwinds from the trade sector have moderated, energy prices are higher and growth for the first quarter appears to be firming after a slow start. Given those trends, the Bank is likely to adjust its policy rate higher in coming months. That will translate to higher mortgage rates which, combined with the erosion of purchasing power from the mortgage stress test, will temper housing demand in 2018.

 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


 

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Vancouver, BC - April 12, 2018.


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,409 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in March, a 24.6 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $726,930, up 5.3 per cent from the previous year. Total sales dollar volume was $5.39 billion, a 20.6 per cent decline from March 2017.

 

More burdensome mortgage qualifications are having the predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand, said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. You simply cannot pull as much as 20 per cent of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand.

 

Despite the decline in consumer demand, the supply of homes for sale remains low in most BC regions. Total active listings on the market are essentially unchanged from March 2017, and are at or near a 12-year low across the province. As a result, home prices are expected to continue an upward trajectory.

 

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 1.7 per cent to $13.9 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 9.4 per cent to 18,927 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 8.5 per cent to $732,243.

 

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

 

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Canadian housing starts fell 3 per cent on a monthly basis in march to 225,213 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts was steady at about 226,000 units SAAR.

In BC, total housing starts jumped 48 per cent on a monthly basis to 46,629 units SAAR with multiple unit starts rising over 60 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, total starts in the province were 4 per cent higher. 

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were up 60 per cent on a monthly basis after falling close to 40 per cent in February. Year-over-year, Vancouver starts were up 6 per cent. The 32,000 unit annual pace set in March was the result of an increase in both condo and rental units in core parts of the Metro area including the City of Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts were down 5 per cent on a monthly basis but were almost double the level of March 2017 due to a surge of new multi-unit starts. Apartment starts were 77 per cent higher than March last year while single detached starts were down 32 per cent.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction bounced back from a slow February with total housing starting rising by over 4 times the previous months activity.  However, starts were down 68 per cent compared to what was a very busy March of 2017.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA  increased 71 per cent on a monthly basis but were down 20 per cent year-over-year, largely due to lower single detached starts. Multiple unit starts were essentially flat compared to last year.

 

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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Canadian employment grew by 32,000 jobs in March, driven by mostly full-time gains while the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 per cent. Over the past 12-months, employment in Canada is up by close to 300,000 jobs while total hours worked is up 2.2 per cent.  For the first quarter, however, employment is down 40,000 jobs due large job losses to start the year.

In BC, employment fell by 3,900 jobs as a surge in full-time employment (up almost 24,000 jobs) was offset by falling part-time employment. Overall, the level of employment in BC has been trending sideways for several months and was up just 1.3 per cent year-over-year in March. The provincial unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7 per cent.



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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,517 in March 2018, a 29.7 per cent decrease from the 3,579 sales recorded in March 2017, and a 14 per cent increase compared to February 2018 when 2,207 homes sold. Last month’s sales were 23 per cent below the 10-year March sales average.


There were 6,542 home sales on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver during the first quarter of 2018, a 13.1 per cent decrease from the 7,527 sales over the same period last year. This represents the region’s lowest first-quarter sales total since 2013.


“We saw less demand from buyers and fewer homes listed for sale in our region in the first quarter of the year,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “High prices, new tax announcements, rising interest rates, and stricter mortgage requirements are among the factors affecting home buyer and seller activity today.”


There were 4,450 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale in Metro Vancouver in March 2018. This represents a 6.6 per cent decrease compared to the 4,762 homes listed in March 2017 and a 5.4 per cent increase compared to February 2018 when 4,223 homes were listed.


There were 12,469 homes listed for sale in Metro Vancouver during the first quarter of 2018, a 0.8 per cent decrease from the 12,568 sales over the same period last year. This represents the region’s lowest first-quarter new listings total since 2013.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,380, a 10.5 per cent increase compared to March 2017 (7,586) and a 7.1 per cent increase compared to February 2018 (7,822). “Even with lower demand, upward pressure on prices will continue as long as the supply of homes for sale remains low,” Moore said. “Last month was the quietest March for new home listings since 2009 and the total inventory, particularly in the condo and townhome segments, of homes for sale remains well below historical norms.”


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for March 2018 is 30 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.2 per cent for detached homes, 39.9 per cent for townhomes, and 61.6 per cent for condominiums. 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 $1,084,000. This represents a 16.1 per cent increase over March 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to February 2018.


Sales of detached properties in March 2018 reached 722, a decrease of 37 per cent from the 1,150 detached sales recorded in March 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,608,500. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase from March 2017 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to February 2018.


Sales of apartment properties reached 1,349 in March 2018, a decrease of 26.7 per cent compared to the 1,841 sales in March 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $693,500. This represents a 26.2 per cent increase from March 2017 and a 1.6 per cent increase compared to February 2018.


Attached property sales in March 2018 totalled 446, a decrease of 24.1 per cent compared to the 588 sales in March 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $835,300. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from March 2017 and a two per cent increase compared to February 2018.



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.




Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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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.