Steve Flynn  RE/MAX Crest Realty- Burnaby 

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Retail sales rose for the sixth consecutive month in October by 0.4% on a seasonally-adjusted basis, which is higher than Statistic Canada's preliminary estimate of no change. Sales were up in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 50.9% of retail sales. The increase was led by higher sales at auto and parts dealers. Compared to the same time last year, retail sales were up by 7.5%.    

Sales were up in seven provinces in October. In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were up by 2.1% ($8.0 billion) and by 2.8% ($3.7 billion) in Vancouver. Contributing the most to the increase were sales at health and personal care stores. Compared to the same time last year, BC retail sales were up by 11.5%.   

In October, e-commerce sales totaled $3.1 billion, accounting for 5.2% of total retails sales, which is down from 5.6% in the previous month. Meanwhile, e-commerce sales were up by 68% from a year ago. This excludes Canadians purchasing from foreign e-commerce retailers.  
    
Despite the rising cases of COVID-19 and stricter lockdown measures in many provinces, positive retail sales are expected going into the holiday season, especially in e-commerce.    



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Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.0% in November year-over-year. This is the largest increase since the pandemic started in March. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose by 1.4%. Prices rose in six of eight components year-over-year in November, with the recreation, education, and reading index contributing the most to the increase. Growth in the Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation remains unchanged from the previous month, averaging 1.7%. 

Regionally, the CPI was positive in eight provinces. In BC, CPI rose by 1.1% in November year-over-year, up from October's increase of 0.5%. Strong price growth continued for health and personal care (3.3%) and shelter (2.4%). In contrast, gas prices continue to be a drag on BC's inflation (-12.3%). 

Costs for shelter continue to increase, as rental rates rise and record-low interest rates put downward pressure on mortgage costs, making single-family homes more attractive to households demanding more space. As containment measures expand in many provinces, consumers are spending more on furniture and household appliances, which remain above pre-pandemic levels. Canadian inflation is expected to remain subdued in the near future. In this environment, the Bank of Canada will continue to keep interest rates low.



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Canadian housing starts increased by 14% m/m to 246,033 units in November at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), following an increase in the previous month. Housing starts increased in 9 of 10 provinces with the strongest gains in BC and the Atlantic. Building activity in the multi-unit segment rebounded after two consecutive months of decline. November's strong performance increased the six-month moving average to a historic high of 231,491 units SAAR.  

In BC, housing starts increased by 53% m/m to 46,608 units SAAR in November, following two consecutive months of decline. Building activity was up by 76% in the multi-unit segment, while single-detached starts were down by 1%. The increase in the multi-unit segment was concentrated in Vancouver. In the near term, we can expect housing activity to continue to be supported by strong demand and historically low borrowing rates but are not expected to remain at elevated levels. The value of BC residential building permits was down by 12% in October. Compared to the same time last year, housing starts were down by 2% in BC.



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Vancouver, BC – December 14, 2020. 


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 9,416 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November 2020, an increase of 42.1 per cent from November 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC set a record of $816,074, a 9.3 per cent increase from $746,310 recorded the previous year. 


“Home sales were once again unseasonably strong in November with several markets setting records for the month,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While demand continues to be strong, the supply of listings has reached near-record lows in several parts of the province, with prices rising sharply as a result.”

Active listings were down close to 14 per cent year-over-year in November, which contributed to a 34.8 per cent sales-to-active listings ratio. Consequently, the provincial average price rose 9.3 per compared to this time last year with many markets seeing even stronger price growth.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 32.3 per cent to $66.43 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. Residential unit sales were up 18.7 per cent to 85,625 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 11.4 per cent to $775,845.



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Highlights:

  • Bank of Canada actions have pushed mortgage rates to record lows
  • Canadian economy bounced back in the third quarter, but the second
    wave looms
  • Bank of Canada on hold, but when will quantitative easing end?


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The Bank of Canada maintained its overnight rate at 0.25 per cent this morning, a level it considers its effective lower bound. The Bank is also continuing its quantitative easing (QE) program, purchasing at least $4 billion of Government of Canada bonds per week and re-affirmed its forward guidance on future interests moves, committing to holding the policy rate at 0.25 per cent until slack in the economy is absorbed and inflation is sustainably trending at 2 per cent.   In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the recovery underway will be choppy due to rising cases of COVID-19 and will continue to require extraordinary monetary support from the bank.

Current slack in the economy, along with low energy prices, is holding Canadian inflation well below its target of 2 per cent. Total CPI inflation is trending under 1 per cent while the Bank of Canada’s measures of “core” inflation remain below target despite the massive expansion of the Bank’s balance sheet necessary to facilitate its quantitative easing program. With the arrival of viable vaccines, we may see the Canadian economic recovery materially accelerate in the second half of 2021. If that occurs, the first stage of tighter monetary policy from the Bank will be how and when it decides to taper purchases of government bonds over the next year. As it does,  we may start to see a divergence in variable and fixed rates by early summer as bond yields rise and fixed mortgage rates move marginally higher.



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I have sold a property at 2006 1239 Georgia ST W in Vancouver.
Hot Bachelor Unit! At the Venus building in Coal Harbour, excellent starter unit for living or investment! Views: water, mountain, steps away to Robson St & SeaWall, Stanley Park, Marina; great studio suite w/quality built-in furniture; updates in recent years include: w/pull down Murphy bed & lots of closet spaces & built-in office desk, living room feature: floor to ceiling windows w/ gas F/P (incl in mtnce fee), open kitchen w/SS appliances, gas stove & strong hood fan vent. Nice balcony to enjoy scenic downtown, water & mountain views ; (1 locker, 1 parking, 1 pet okay) & rentals min 6 months. Building w/full gym, indoor pool/sauna, concierge, rec area & terrace, guest suites available. School Catchment: Lord Roberts Elementary & King George Secondary.
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I have listed a new property at 2006 1239 Georgia ST W in Vancouver.
Hot Bachelor Unit! At the Venus building in Coal Harbour, excellent starter unit for living or investment! Views: water, mountain, steps away to Robson St & SeaWall, Stanley Park, Marina; great studio suite w/quality built-in furniture; updates in recent years include: w/pull down Murphy bed & lots of closet spaces & built-in office desk, living room feature: floor to ceiling windows w/ gas F/P (incl in mtnce fee), open kitchen w/SS appliances, gas stove & strong hood fan vent. Nice balcony to enjoy scenic downtown, water & mountain views ; (1 locker, 1 parking, 1 pet okay) & rentals min 6 months. Building w/full gym, indoor pool/sauna, concierge, rec area & terrace, guest suites available. School Catchment: Lord Roberts Elementary & King George Secondary.
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Canadian employment gained 62k jobs in November (0.3%, m/m), increasing in Ontario, BC, and the Atlantic provinces. This is the seventh consecutive month of increases, putting national employment within 574k of its pre-COVID February level. The national unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 percentage points to 8.5%, continuing the steady fall from the record high of 13.7% in May. Compared to the same month last year, Canadian employment was down by 2.5% (-482k). 

In BC, employment grew by 24k (1.0%, m/m) in November, following a gain of 34k in the previous month. The province is now at 99% of its pre-COVID February employment level. The unemployment rate fell for the sixth consecutive month, down by 0.9 percentage points to 7.1%. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, employment increased by 18k jobs (1.2%, m/m). Compared to one year ago, employment in BC was down by 1.8% (-47K) jobs. 

Despite the new restrictions introduced and new COVID-related workplace safety requirements, employment still grew in BC but at a slower rate than the previous months. Gains in full-time work were partly offset by losses in part-time employment. Several industries saw increases, including accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing, wholesale and retail trade, and construction. On the whole, we can expect employment growth to continue to slow as COVID-19 cases rise, and some provinces could prolong containment measures well into December and early 2021, as Quebec just announced heightened restrictions around holiday gatherings.



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Following a record contraction of the Canadian economy in the first half of 2020, the third quarter saw a vigorous rebound in economic growth.  Real GDP was up 8.9 per cent in the third quarter, or 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis, bringing the economy back to about 5 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 level.   Household spending rebounded, rising 13 per cent in the quarter, while investment in housing was up 30.2 per cent. Household savings, while down from its record setting second quarter, continues to be elevated through the pandemic and registered 14.6% in the third quarter. That compares to just 2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The distressing second wave of COVID-19, and the restrictions it has necessitated, jeopardizes the recovery currently underway. We still expect the economy to post positive real GDP growth in the fourth quarter, though there is certainly the risk that a renewed fear of public spaces combined with targeted restrictions will prompt a modest retracing of output. The ultimate economic impact of COVID-19 by the end of 2020 will be a Canadian economy producing about 5.5 per cent less output than it did before the pandemic. That said, promising results from vaccine trials should lead the way to very strong growth in 2021 as pent-up consumption spending floods back into the economy. We expect Canadian real will growth by an average of 4 per cent over the next two years. 

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Housing demand in Metro Vancouver* continues to outpace historical averages with November sales eclipsing 3,000 for the first time since 2015. 

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,064 in November 2020, a 22.7 per cent increase from the 2,498 sales recorded in November 2019, and a 16.9 per cent decrease from the 3,687 homes sold in October 2020. 

 

Last month’s sales were 24.6 per cent above the 10-year November sales average and was the second highest total in this period. “Home buyer demand has been at near record levels in our region since the summer,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “This is putting upward pressure on home prices, particularly in our detached and townhome markets." 

 

There were 4,068 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in November 2020. This represents a 36.2 per cent increase compared to the 2,987 homes listed in November 2019 and a 27 per cent decrease compared to October 2020 when 5,571 homes were listed. 

 

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,118, a 3.2 per cent increase compared to November 2019 (10,770) and a 10.5 per cent decrease compared to October 2020 (12,416). "The supply of homes for sale are a critical factor in understanding home price trends," Gerber said. "The total number of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver is lagging behind the pace of demand right now. This trend favours home sellers in today's market." 

 

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for November 2020 is 27.6 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 27.9 per cent for detached homes, 40.1 per cent for townhomes, and 23.9 per cent for apartments. Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months. 

 

Within the region, the Sunshine Coast saw the largest increase in year-over-year demand with 106 home sales in November 2020, an 82.8 per cent increase over November 2019 (58). “While demand remained elevated across the region, home buyer activity was particularly focused in more remote areas like the Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands and Squamish,” Gerber said. “The rise of work-from-home arrangements and physical distancing policies is causing some home buyers to opt for less densified areas.” 

 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,044,000. This represents a 5.8 per cent increase over November 2019 and a 0.1 per cent decrease compared to October 2020. 

 

Sales of detached homes in November 2020 reached 1,061, a 28.6 per cent increase from the 825 detached sales recorded in November 2019. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,538,900. This represents a 9.4 per cent increase from November 2019 and a one per cent increase compared to October 2020. 

 

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,371 in November 2020, a 12.2 per cent increase compared to the 1,222 sales in November 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $676,500. This represents a 3.4 per cent increase from November 2019 and a one per cent decrease compared to October 2020. 

 

Attached home sales in November 2020 totalled 632, a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the 451 sales in November 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $814,800. This represents a 5.6 per cent increase from November 2019 and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to October 2020. 



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



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Retail sales rose for the fifth consecutive month in September by 1.1% on a seasonally-adjusted basis, which is higher than Statistic Canada's preliminary estimate of no change. Sales were up in 9 of 11 subsectors, representing 93.2% of retail sales. The increase was led by higher sales at auto dealers. General merchandise stores increased for the first time in three months, while sales bounced back at furniture and home furnishing stores. Compared to the same time last year, retail sales were up by 8%.    

Sales were up in eight provinces in September, with notable increases in PEI (4.4%), New Brunswick (3.8%) and Alberta (2.5%). In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were up by 1.7% ($7.8 billion) and by 0.9% ($3.6 billion) in Vancouver. Retail sales were up in almost half of the subsectors, driven by increased sales at auto dealers, while a notable decline was reported at grocery and liquor stores. 

Growth in e-commerce was back up in September by 74% year-over-year, after two consecutive months of declines. In September, e-commerce sales totaled $3.2 billion, accounting for 5.6% of total retails sales, up from 5.1% in August. This excludes Canadians purchasing from foreign e-commerce retailers.  
    
This was a good news report. Nonetheless, rising cases of COVID-19 have led some provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and BC to tighten restrictions, which includes discouraging non-essential travel. This could put a damper on brick and mortar retail sales as we enter the holiday season, while e-commerce could see another boost. Early estimates provided by Statistics Canada suggest that retail sales were unchanged in October.  



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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.



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Canadian housing starts increased by 3% m/m to 214,875 units in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), following a decline in September. Housing starts increased in 6 of 10 provinces with strong gains in Manitoba and Alberta. Building activity gained momentum in the single-detached segment, while multi-unit starts declined slightly. October's healthy number increased the six-month moving average to 222,734 units SAAR.  

In BC, housing starts decreased by 6% m/m to 30,381 units SAAR in October, following a decrease of 26% in September. Building activity was up by 6% in the single-detached segment, while multi-unit starts were down by 11%. In the near term, we can expect housing activity to continue to be supported by strong demand and historically low borrowing rates. Meanwhile, the value of residential building permits was up in September by 34%. Compared to the same time last year, housing starts were down by 11% in BC.  



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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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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.