In August, although sales and new listings ticked up slightly from July, the COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard indicates that BC housing markets are continuing their trend of calming relative to peaks in March. The seasonally adjusted six-month moving-average for housing starts hit a record level in the province for a third consecutive month, a positive sign amid housing supply shortages. Rents are also beginning to rise sharply in major centers across the province. Although rents were unchanged in Vancouver from July, they remain elevated.
Retail sales declined slightly from June but continue to post strong figures, with July sales 9 per cent above the same month last year. After recovering over the summer, restaurant reservations have declined sharply in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver in September as additional health restrictions were implemented. Google’s average measure of movement trends in BC have also softened somewhat since the start of September and remain about 13 per cent below the pre-pandemic baseline.
Seasonally adjusted aggregate employment in BC is close to pre-pandemic levels, although high-wage workers are still doing much better than low-wage workers and sectors like food and accommodation continue to lag. Manufacturing sales in BC were down 8.6 per cent in July on lower sales of wood, primary metal and paper products but were still up 20.4 per cent year over year. Imports and exports also contracted in July after hitting record levels in June for a second consecutive month. Consumer confidence contracted in August but is trending towards pre-pandemic levels, while business confidence is well above pre-pandemic levels.
For a more comprehensive overview of BC's economic recovery, click here. here.
BCREA's updated COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard is available here.
For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.