An Exciting Finish

Two of the more experienced bass players performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony knew from experience that at the end of the piece, the bassists play nothing for quite some time. Quietly, they decided to sneak off the stage for a quick snack at the lounge in the lobby.

After quickly downing a sandwich and a soda, one of them checked his watch. “Uh-oh, we play in about two minutes.”

“Don’t worry.” His friend ordered a second plate of fries. “I tied down the last page of the conductor’s score, so they’ll keep playing the same part over and over.’ ‘No one will ever notice.”

Taking the plate of fries with them, they tiptoed backstage and made their way back to their chairs. They slid by, mostly unnoticed, as the conductor struggled to untie his music score with one hand while still conducting the orchestra. However, an usher at the rear of the auditorium noticed that the musician was balancing a plate of fries and whispered, “What’s going on?”

The other usher answered, “Well, it’s pretty exciting.’ ‘It’s the bottom of the Ninth, the score is tied, and the bassists are loaded!”

Canadian Employment – March, 2019

Canadian employment posted a second straight month of strong growth, adding 56,000 jobs in February. Overall, total employment was up 2 per cent over the past 12 months, with gains concentrated in full-time work. The national unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent.

In BC, employment grew by 3,600 jobs in February, most of which were full-time jobs.  On a year-over-year basis, employment was up 2.8 per cent. The provincial unemployment rate moved 0.2 points lower to 4.5 per cent, the lowest rate of unemployment in Canada.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Building Permits – March, 2019

The total value of Canadian building permits fell 5.5 per cent on a monthly basis in January to $8.4 billion. A decline in construction intentions for commercial buildings was the primary driver of the decline.

In BC, the total value of permits fell 24 per cent to $1.6 billion after reaching a milestone of $2 billion in December. A decline in Vancouver commercial building permits was largely responsible for the overall drop in the value of permits, falling 56 per cent on a monthly basis. Total non-residential permits were down 52 per cent on a monthly basis and were essentially flat year-over-year. Residential permits fell 4.3 per cent compared to December but were up 4.5 per cent year-over-year to $1.19 billion.

Construction intentions in January were mostly down in BC’s four census metropolitan areas (CMA):
• Permits in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 49 per cent on a monthly basis to $33.5 million. Year-over-year, permit values were down 48 per cent.
• In the Victoria CMA, total permit values were up 19 per cent on a monthly basis to $110.2 million, but were down 28.5 per cent over last year.
• In the Kelowna CMA, permits values fell for a third straight month, declining 4.5 per cent on a monthly basis to $81.1 million. However, the value of permits was up 42 per cent compared to January 2018.
• In the Vancouver CMA, the value of permits fell 28 per cent to just over $1 billion. On a year-over-year basis, the value of permits was 15 per cent higher.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Stats Centre Reports February January 2019 for Housing in Great Vancouver

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Brainstorming With Your Best Collaborator: You

You can’t always call a meeting of your colleagues or employees to brainstorm ideas. Sometimes you have to generate solutions or options on your own. Here are a few techniques to get your brain into a creative mode:

  • Time machine. Imagine you’re facing the same problem or situation 100 years ago. What would your alternatives look like? Or send yourself 100 years into the future: What tools might be available for your use? Can you create them now?
  • Reversal. Turn your problem around for a fresh perspective. Think about what a reasonable person would do with the situation, and consider what would happen if you tried the exact opposite.
  • Gap analysis. Look at where you are and where you want to be. What steps are missing between those two points? Identify what would bridge the gap.
  • Free writing. Sit down at the computer and start writing about the problem. Don’t censor yourself: Put down anything that comes into your mind, regardless of how alien to the topic it seems. After 15 minutes, take a look at what you’ve written. Much of it may be unusable, but you could find a good idea or two hidden in your words.

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – March , 2019

The Bank of Canada left its target for the overnight rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that while it had expected weak energy investment and exports due to low Canadian oil prices, lower consumer spending and housing market activity in spite of a strong labour market led to a more broad based slowdown than it had forecast. On inflation, the Bank expects CPI inflation to run below its 2 per cent target in 2019 due to the drag from lower energy prices and other temporary factors.

The Canadian economy sputtered to the finish line in 2018, growing just 0.4 per cent in the final quarter of the year and actually contracting in the final month. Given that weak hand-off to the first quarter, the drag from lower Alberta oil production and the ongoing negative impact of the mortgage stress test, slow growth will continue into the first half of 2019. That places any further tightening this year by the Bank of Canada in doubt, and raises the possibility of a rate cut should the outlook deteriorate further. We expect to see further downward movement in mortgage rates, which will help to soften the hit to affordability from the stress test and move some buyers off of the sidelines this spring.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

JUST LISTED!! 2231 Oak Street, Vancouver

Keep Going

If you’re looking for inspiration that will keep you working on your fitness goals this year, remember the name Jeannie Rice. She’s an Ohio woman and an avid runner at age 70!

What Rice likes most about running is that it “is a sport that you can pause and resume at any point throughout your life, and it’s not dependent on other people.”

Rice started running several years ago to lose the weight she had gained during a trip abroad. The following year, she ran a marathon and finished with a time of 3:45. Rice finished her second marathon in 3:16 and has run races worldwide since then.

She runs each morning at 5:30 a.m. with a group of younger runners. She says training with them makes her a stronger, faster runner. She also runs shorter races such as 5Ks and 10Ks to work on her speed.

In October 2018, Rice ran the Chicago marathon. By her tally, it was the 116th time she’d participated in such an event. When she reached the finish line, she’d set a new world record of 3:27:50 for her age group. Jeannie Rice knows she may not be running at her current speeds when she’s 80, but she’ll keep going for as long as she can.

BC Housing Market – Residential Sales 2018 Summary

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Canadian Real GDP Growth (Q4’2018) – March, 2019

The Canadian economy slowed in the fourth quarter of 2018, expanding at just a 0.8 per cent annual rate. That was the slowest pace of growth since the second quarter of 2016. Growth was dragged lower by a nearly 3 per cent decline in private investment spending and a slowing of household consumption growth. The impact of the mortgage stress test is being felt across the country as housing investment was down close to 4 per cent. New home construction, renovations, and ownership transfer costs all fell in the fourth quarter.

For all of 2018, the Canadian economy grew 1.8 per cent, a significant deceleration from 3 per cent growth in 2017. The Canadian economy is currently at or very near its full-employment level, meaning that growth will probably continue in a range of 1.5-1.8 per cent in 2019, though with some downside risk due to the mortgage stress test and cuts to Alberta oil production. For those reasons, it is unlikely that the Bank of Canada will raise its overnight rate again this year, though it does still have a bias toward returning its policy rate back to its long-run “neutral” level of 2.5 to 3 per cent.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.