Canadian retail sales rose 0.9 per cent in December to $67.3 billion. Excluding volatile items, sales were up 0.5 per cent month-over-month. In volume terms, retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in December. Retail e-commerce trade fell by 3.6 per cent to $3.7 billion in December, amounting to 5.5 per cent of total retail sales. 

Sales in BC rose 1.5 per cent in December. BC retail sales are up 2.8 per cent from the same time last year. In the CMA of Vancouver, retail sales were up 1.5 per cent from last month and 5.4 per cent from December of 2022.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-retail-sales-december-2023-february-23-2024

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Finance Minister Katrine Conroy introduced the provincial government’s Budget 2024. The budget unveiled several new housing related measures, including the BC Home Flipping Tax and various property transfer tax exemptions.

While BCREA commends the provincial government’s renewed commitment and efforts to improve housing attainability for British Columbians, the budget’s introduction of a “flipping tax” is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on housing attainability.  

Flipping Tax 

The BC Home Flipping Tax is a 20 per cent tax on the gain from sale of a home within a one-year time horizon and a pro-rated tax on sales up to within a two-year period. The tax will apply to both properties and assignments of contracts and is in addition to any existing federal or provincial income taxes incurred from the sale of the property, including the federal anti-flipping tax. Exemptions will be available for certain life circumstances that might motivate the sale of a property within two years, including for added supply through the creation of rental accessory dwelling units. 

The BCREA Economics Department’s preliminary analysis estimates the flipping tax will decrease home sales by between 1-2 per cent over a three-year period. Given the relatively small impact, prices and housing attainability are essentially unchanged by the tax. This is unsurprising, given that short-term flipping represents a low share of sales activity (less than 2 per cent in both Vancouver and Victoria). 

However, because the government has now implemented a disincentive to sell within a two-year period after purchasing, there will be some potential sellers that are prompted to delay listing, resulting in a lower level of listings inventory than without the tax. As a result, home prices may increase with the flipping tax compared to a no-tax baseline. Ultimately, the only way to prevent harmful short-term speculation in the housing market is to ensure housing is abundant. Our team plans to continue to analyze the flipping tax and provide updates when available. 

Property Transfer Tax Exemptions 

In principle, BCREA supports reduced property transfer taxes for first-time home buyers and people purchasing newly constructed homes. However, while we're in favour of measures that increase first-time home buyers’ abilities to purchase properties, it's critically important that housing supply is increased so they aren’t caught in bidding wars to acquire those homes. More detail is needed on property transfer tax exemption for purpose-built rentals to understand its impact on housing attainability for British Columbians. 

BCREA will continue to advocate for more thoughtful and evidence-based policies that can genuinely move the needle on housing attainability and alleviate the housing crisis facing British Columbians. 

In early March, BCREA and delegates from real estate boards across the province will be taking part in our annual Government Liaison (GL) Days in Victoria. During this time, we will be meeting with MLA’s representing all parties and advocating for the establishment of a permanent housing roundtable where stakeholders such as BCREA can advise on housing policy prior to its introduction and implementation. Stay tuned to BCREA channels for more details about GL Days. 

If you have any questions or comments, please please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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March 8, International Women's Day: Celebrates women's achievements globally.

March 14, National Pi Day: Celebrated with pie and math activities.

March 17, St. Patrick's Day: An Irish cultural and religious celebration.

March 20, Spring Equinox: Marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

March 23: National Puppy Day: A day to appreciate and promote puppy adoption.

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Canadian prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 2.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis in January, down from a 3.4% increase in December. Month-over-month, on a seasonally adjusted basis, CPI declined by 0.1 per cent in January, the first decline since May of 2020. Gasoline base-year effects contributed to the decline. Excluding energy costs, CPI rose 3.3 per cent year-over-year in January, down from 3.7 per cent in December. Decelerating food costs also contributed to the slowing in the CPI, with food prices rising by 3.4 per cent in January compared to 4.7 per cent in December. Shelter costs, however, continue to be a major driver of inflation, with mortgage interest costs up 27.4 per cent and rent up 7.9 per cent from last year in January. Excluding shelter, consumer prices rose 1.5 per cent, year over year. In BC, consumer prices rose 3 per cent year-over-year. The Bank of Canada's preferred measures of core inflation, which strip out volatile components, fell to between 3.3 and 3.4 per cent per cent year-over-year in January. 

January's CPI report contained unexpectedly good news, with the annual change in prices technically falling within the Bank of Canada's 1 to 3 per cent target range and declining month-over-month on a seasonally adjusted basis for the first time since the start of the pandemic. While volatile gas prices contributed to the decline, easing price pressures in other areas also reduced pressure on the CPI. Food price appreciation has been easing over the past 12 months and is now not far above historical norms. The category that remains the most challenging is shelter, with rents in particular so far showing no sign of slowing. Overall, January was an encouraging report, and markets shifted their expectations of rate cuts forward slightly, with cuts expected to begin in Q2. However, the Bank of Canada will be looking to see a sustained trend in inflation in the coming months before they will be comfortable initiating rate cuts.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-inflation-january-2024-february-20-2024

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Canadian housing starts fell 10 per cent to 223,589 units in January at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). Starts were up 7 per cent from the same month last year. Single-detached housing starts rose 4 per cent from last month to 54,248 units, while multi-family and others fell 14 per cent to 169,341 units (SAAR). 

In British Columbia, starts fell 50 per cent from last month to 31,088 units SAAR in all areas of the province. In areas in the province with 10,000 or more residents, single-detached starts rose 3 per cent to 4,742 units while multi-family starts shrank 56 per cent to 24,206 units. Starts in the province were 39 per cent below the levels from January 2023. Starts fell from last month by 22.3k units in Vancouver, 5.5k in Victoria, and 2.8k in Kelowna while rising by 1.0k in Abbotsford. The 6-month moving average trend in BC fell by 5.8 per cent from last month to 46,902 SAAR. 

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-housing-starts-january-2024

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Vancouver, BC –  February, 2024. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 3,979 residential unit sales were recorded in Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) systems in January 2024, an increase of 29.4 per cent from January 2023. The average MLS® residential price in BC in January 2024 was up 10.5 per cent at $957,909 compared to an average price of $866,922, the low-point for average prices over the past two years. The total sales dollar volume was $3.8 billion, an increase of 42.9 per cent from the same time in the previous year. 


"Home sales are on a clear uptrend to start 2024," said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. "A sharp decline in fixed mortgage rates and expectations for future Bank of Canada rate cuts is driving sentiment in the market and bringing pent-up demand off the sidelines."   The total number of active listings, though up year-over-year, remains relatively low by historical standards. New listings activity has shown signs of normalizing following a down year in 2023. A steady pace of new inventory will be crucial in keeping markets balanced as sales accelerate. 

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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On Valentine's Day, gestures of love come easily. The ambiance, awash in red and pink, encourages even hesitant hearts to speak up. Streets brim with flowers, chocolates, and myriad gifts, tempting us to demonstrate our feelings in tangible ways. And that's a heartwarming tradition.

But let's not forget: Valentine's Day is not solely about the affection between couples. It's a tribute to every bond we cherish, to the families we're born into, and to the families we choose.

Consistent love, however, isn’t just about the grand gestures on one special day. It’s about the thousand little things we do throughout the year. Anyone can pick out a bouquet or a card, but navigating the stormy seas of disagreement, or understanding when to give space, that's where the depth of a relationship truly shines.

Sometimes, it's wiser to let the dust of conflict settle before attempting a resolution. As opposed to the age-old advice of "never going to bed angry," many have found clarity in taking a moment of pause. A break can often offer perspective, turning mountains back into molehills. But once you have that clarity, approach the issue head-on and seek understanding.

Embrace your loved ones — literally. When words fall short, a heartfelt hug or a tender kiss can bridge gaps like nothing else can. We're beings driven by emotions and chemistry, not just logic. When stress levels peak, our bodies produce stress hormones. But a simple embrace? It floods us with feel-good chemicals, soothing frayed nerves and melting away trivial disagreements.

The essence of growing in a relationship is not to sidestep conflicts, but to understand which battles are worth fighting and which aren't. To differentiate between the fleeting moments of discord and the enduring love that's worth nurturing.

As the years go by, love evolves. The ways you've celebrated it in the past may not resonate now. And that's okay. Keep rediscovering love, and keep celebrating it in ways that are authentic to you.

Wishing you a Valentine’s Day filled with love, today and always!

Gino Pezzani

RE/MAX Heights Realty

www.vanhomesales.com

604-418-9366

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  • I'm not alive, but I can grow. I don't have lungs, but I need air. I don't have a mouth, but water kills me. What am I?

  • The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?

  • I have keys but no locks. I have space, but no room. You can enter, but you can't go outside. What am I?

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