April 18, 2018


BCREA ECONOMICS NOW



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.

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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.

 


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BCREA ECONOMICS NOW


Canadian Housing Starts - April 10, 2018


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.
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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.