With COVID-19 vaccines now available and society seemingly reopening for business, at least some of us are ready to say that things are going back to normal after the pandemic year.

According to Gallup, 66% of adults in the U.S. say their lives have “somewhat” or “completely” returned to normal, while 34% say normal life has yet to come back.

Complicating the return to normalcy is the finding that 52% of respondents say their life is still being disrupted because of the pandemic—14% say “a great deal” and 38% say “a fair amount”. That might not change soon, as 39% expect the disruption to continue through the end of the year, and 16% feel the impact will last longer.


The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) rose from 150 to 155 in the second quarter of 2021, representing the fourth consecutive increase as the economy recovered from the COVID-19-induced recession. Compared to the same time last year, the index was up by 25 per cent.

It is important to note that while the economy is posting a very strong recovery, we are still in a very abnormal and uncertain environment for commercial real estate. Normally, the type of growth we see reflected in the CLI would imply an improvement in demand for retail and office space. However, the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health restrictions are driving a wedge between what we see in the data and what is being experienced on the ground.

Overall manufacturing sales rose 5 per cent in Q2 on higher sales in the wood products, food manufacturing, and chemical products sectors. The economic activity component of the CLI was also positively driven by a 4.8 per cent increase in wholesale trade, while retail sales were flat on continued non-essential retail lockdowns in the quarter and considerable quarterly declines in motor vehicle sales due to the ongoing semiconductor chip supply shortage.

Employment in key commercial real estate sectors such as finance, insurance, real estate (FIRE) and leasing increased by about 13,800 jobs in Q2. For a second consecutive month the office employment component of the index has hit an all-time high. However, the effect of this strong employment growth on the demand for office space remains unclear as many nominal “office workers” continue to work remotely. Manufacturing employment also jumped by 9,200 workers as quarterly manufacturing sales figures continued to hit all-time records.

The CLI’s financial component was positive in Q2 of 2021 for the third consecutive month. REIT prices approached all-time records and risk spreads between corporate and government debt continued to narrow.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


The Canadian economy contracted in the second quarter with output falling 1.1 per cent on an annualized basis. That decline follows three prior quarters of very strong growth. Most of the decline in real GDP was driven by slowing home sales and lower exports. After rising to record levels, home sales activity across the country have moderated. However, the downshift from record activity to lower, but still strong sales was significant enough to negatively impact economic growth.  That shift in the housing market was compounded by lower exports , which fell 4 per cent largely due to supply chain disruptions, as well as flat household spending due to COVID-19 restrictions put in place in the second quarter in large eastern provinces.  Household incomes grew 2.2 per cent in the second quarter, well outpacing just 0.7 per cent growth in spending. As a result, the Canadian savings rate remains in double digits for the fifth straight quarter. The eventual spending of at least some of the accumulated savings across the Canadian economy will be a key determinant of how the recovery unfolds from here.

Most of the factors that led to a decline in GDP over the second quarter were either one-time changes or due to what should be temporary supply chain disruptions.  Early data for June is showing strong growth, but the pace of the recovery remains uncertain due to the pandemic and especially the Delta variant driven rise in cases around the country.  While Inflation continues to run ahead of the Bank of Canada's 2 per cent target, the fourth-wave of COVID-19 cases is inserting a significant amount of uncertainty into the outlook and may cause a delay in the Bank of Canada's plans, pushing monetary tightening further into 2023.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-real-gdp-growth-q22021

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


Did you know that Ellis Island closed as an immigration facility in 1954 and reopened as a museum in September, 1990? Annie Moore, a 17-year old girl who arrived with her two younger brothers from Ireland, was the first arrival processed through the station in 1892, followed by more than 12 million other immigrants before the station was closed in 1954.

Around 2.3 million people came through the Island just between 1924 and 1954, although the busiest day at the former immigration center was on April 17, 1907 when 11,747 people were processed. Over the years, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Irving Berlin and Frida Kahlo all passed through the immigration station during its useful years. At its peak, the station had its own power station, hospital, laundry facilities, and cafeteria.

Today, the Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island is home to a vast archive of approximately 65 million searchable records of immigration documents. People can locate connections to their own ancestry there, as well as add their contributions to an ongoing catalog of family stories.


According to the COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard, in July most BC housing markets continued to calm from a peak in March. While sales and new listings continued declining, the seasonally adjusted 6-month moving-average for housing starts hit a record level in the province for a second consecutive month. Rents are also beginning to rise sharply in major centers across the province. The average rate for a 1-bedroom apartment rose 6.5% in Vancouver and 8.9% in Victoria in July.

Retail sales continue to post strong figures, with July sales 13% above February 2020 levels. Throughout the month of July and most of August, restaurant reservations have trended upward in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Google’s average measure of movement trends in BC are at the highest level since March of 2020.

Seasonally adjusted aggregate employment in BC is now at roughly pre-pandemic levels, although high-wage workers are still doing much better than low-wage workers. Manufacturing and exports continue to post very strong figures in the province, with both hitting record levels in July for a second consecutive month. Consumer confidence is approaching pre-pandemic levels, while business confidence is well-above pre-pandemic levels.

For a more comprehensive overview of BC's economic recovery, click here

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


We’re often told to “follow your passion” in choosing a career, but that’s not necessarily the best advice. Forbes explains why:

You can have more than one passion. Few of us have a single, overriding goal in life—and that wouldn’t necessarily be healthy. Think through what interests you, the kinds of tasks and activities you enjoy, and find one that’s both motivating and appropriate for a long-term career.

Passions change. What dazzles you as a teenager may not interest you as an adult. As you grow closer to retirement, your goals for life may change. Don’t lock yourself into a single path you can’t get free of, should the need arise.

You may not know what your passion is. Most of us have many different interests. Not all of them get us excited, though. You may have to spend some time doing jobs you don’t enjoy before discovering what you really want to do with your life.

• Passion doesn’t automatically translate to skill. You can spend years trying to master what you’re passionate about, only to find you don’t really have the talent to do it professionally. Be realistic about your skills before committing to a lifetime of disappointment.

Passion can fade. Over time, that thing you once loved may turn into just a job; a series of tasks that doesn’t bring you any joy. Be sure your passion can sustain you over the long term, or be prepared to take on something more stable even if you’re less enthusiastic about it. You can always find fulfillment off the job.

Passion may not pay the bills. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that many worthwhile endeavors don’t pay very well. Choose something you can do well, even if you don’t love it, so you don’t have to scramble to make a living forever.


Summer has always been special. Wouldn’t you agree that August is extraordinary?

The heat is omnipresent, but at the end of summer there is a cumulative effect of having worked (and played!) so hard that there is a wealth of memories and joy to keep us warm... even as fall approaches and we begin to cool off.

I hope you are having your best summer ever; filled with friends, family, food, and fun.

For now, as the days burn hotter, I hope you enjoy every moment of free time. As we start to lose the last hot days of summer and look forward to seeing leaves falling all around us, it's a vivid indication that we are turning a corner in life. And as the nights cool off, I hope you collect memories and accomplishments that keep you and the people you care about warm for the rest of the year.


Gino Pezzani


According to an anecdote, Thomas Edison had a summer residence he was very proud of. He enjoyed showing visitors around the property and pointing out various inventions. At one point, people had to pass through a heavy turnstile to get back to the house.

One visitor asked Edison why, with all the other clever gadgets around, he had such a heavy turnstile. Edison replied, “Well, you see, everyone who pushes the turnstile around pumps eight gallons of water into the tank on my roof.”


As health restrictions eased, Canadian retail sales rose 4.2% m/m to $56.2 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in June. Due to declines in April and May, sales remained 3.5% below the March peak. Sales rose in 8 of 11 retail sectors measured by Statistics Canada, with the largest gains occurring in clothing sales (+49.1%), caused by loosening restrictions on non-essential retail. In June, 5.2% of Canadian retailers reported being closed for at least one business day, down from 5.6% in May. Statistics Canada's preliminary retail sales estimate for July, based on just 38% of respondents reporting, is for a 1.7% decline.

In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were largely flat, rising just 0.2% m/m but nonetheless hitting a provincial record for a second consecutive month in June. BC retail sales were up by 12.6% compared to the same month last year. In metro Vancouver, sales were up 1.6% while in the rest of the province sales declined 1%. 

In June, Canadian e-commerce sales declined 10.6% as consumers switched to brick-and-mortar retail. E-commerce accounted for 5.8% of total retail sales in June, down from 7% in May. 

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.
Link:  https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-retail-sales-june-2021


World Water Week is August 23 to 27. In an effort to develop a water-wise world, individuals and organizations from around the globe meet in Sweden annually to brainstorm sustainability issues and preserve access to our planet’s most valuable natural resource.

This year’s theme is Building Resilience Faster. Visit www.worldwaterweek.org/ to learn more.

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