The BCREA Economics team has created the Housing Monitor Dashboard to help REALTORS® monitor BC’s housing market. This dashboard, which is updated monthly, provides up-to-date data on key variables for public education and use. Focuses include:

Resale Home Market

Construction

Rental Market

Borrowing Costs

Other BCREA Data

In the dashboard, the image and data are available for download under each chart, where possible.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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To view the September 2023 Mortgage Rate Forecast PDF, click here.

Highlights:

1. Bank of Canada tightening sends mortgage rates to 15-year highs

2. Are high rates finally impacting economic growth?

3. How far will fixed mortgage rates fall once the Bank of Canada lowers its policy rate?

Additional economics information is available here on BCREA's website. 

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Canadian prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 4 per cent on a year-over-year basis in August, up from 3.3 per cent in July. Excluding gasoline, CPI rose 4.1 per cent year-over-year in August, the same rate as July. Shelter costs were up 6 per cent year over year, up from 5.1 per cent in July, driven by mortgage interest costs (up 30.9 per cent from last year) along with rents (up 6.5 per cent). Grocery prices were up 6.9 per cent year over year in August, down from 8.5 per cent in July. Month over month, seasonally adjusted CPI rose 0.6 per cent. In BC, consumer prices rose 3.8 per cent year-over-year.

The annual change in CPI continued rising in August as gasoline base year effects ended (the year-over-year change in gasoline prices was positive for the first time since January). Although food price inflation continued to gradually ease, shelter and rent inflation rates rose from July. Moreover, the Bank of Canada's measures of core inflation, which strip out volatile components, remained stubbornly high; all three measures were flat or rose in August. With softening labour markets and a flat preliminary July GDP estimate following a small contraction in June, the Bank of Canada opted not to raise rates again in September. However, bond yields jumped following the unexpectedly hot August CPI release, suggesting markets think the Bank could change course again. Guiding inflation back down to 2 per cent was sure to be a bumpy ride and the possibility of another rate hike at the next meeting on October 25th or before the end of the year appears to be still on the table. 

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-inflation-august-2023

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Canadian housing starts fell 1 per cent to 252,787 units in August at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). Starts were down 6 per cent from the same month last year. Single-detached housing starts rose 2 per cent to 55,665 units, while multi-family and others fell 2 per cent to 197,121 (SAAR).

In British Columbia, starts were unchanged in August at 50,687 units SAAR in all areas of the province. In areas in the province with 10,000 or more residents, single-detached starts rose 34 per cent m/m to 6,314 units while multi-family starts fell 4 per cent to 41,115 units. Starts in the province were 4 per cent above the levels from August 2022. Starts declined by 4.2k in Vancouver and rose by 2.6k in Victoria and 0.2k in Kelowna, while remaining unchanged in Abbotsford from the previous month. The 6-month moving average trend in BC rose by 4.1 per cent to 53,512 SAAR. 

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-housing-starts-august-2023

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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How Auckland’s housing policy success can inspire BC’s new Homes for People housing action plan

Vancouver, BC – September, 2023. As British Columbia continues to grapple with an ongoing housing crisis, a new economic report reveals how the province’s Homes for People housing plan can expand housing supply and improve housing affordability by following the blueprint of New Zealand’s Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP).

According to the latest Market Intelligence report from the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA), following the aggressive housing liberalization and upzoning policy in Auckland would eventually improve affordability in BC by slowing home price growth and allowing incomes to catch up. Additionally, expanding the housing stock would lead to healthier resale inventories and balance markets while shifting the distribution of sales toward principal owners by reducing speculative activity.

Summary Findings:

New evidence from Auckland shows that policy change can achieve a 50 per cent increase in housing permits in less than a decade and successfully soften housing costs.

BC is currently experiencing historically low per capita housing starts, and a 50 per cent boost in starts by the end of this decade would bring activity back to the level of the early 90s, but still far below the levels of the 70s.

BCREA’s Real Estate Policy Analysis Model (REPAM) predicts that such a boom in housing starts would increase home completions by 37 per cent per quarter relative to a status quo baseline by Q4 of 2030, while the total housing stock would be 2 per cent higher.

The model predicts that the increase in housing supply would pull average prices down by 4 per cent relative to a status quo baseline by Q4 of 2030, and slow long-run price growth, modestly improving affordability.

Read the Report

“While it is promising to see that steps can be taken, affordability in BC deteriorated due to chronic underbuilding for decades, and will not quickly be remedied,” says BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “Still, if policymakers can increase housing supply quickly and extensively through a combination of measures, there is hope that affordability can improve in the province again.”

“These results are encouraging, but the scale and immediacy of the problem are considerable,” Ogmundson adds.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, average home prices in BC have risen nearly 40 per cent, with new rental costs up by a similar amount. Listings on the MLS® system have plummeted by nearly a quarter. However, the report shows that BC’s forthcoming housing plan has the potential to enable a building boom similar in magnitude to the AUP through a policy of re-zoning and incentives for new home construction. By bringing per capita starts back to a more historically normal level, the affordability ratio can gradually be bent in the right direction.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

The link: 2023-09-25-market-intelligence.pdf (bcrea.bc.ca)

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For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, click here.

Vancouver, BC – September, 2023. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,608 residential unit sales were recorded in Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) systems in August 2023, an increase of 15.7 per cent from August 2022. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $958,424, up 5.2 per cent compared to August 2022. The total sales dollar volume was $6.3 billion, representing a 21.7 per cent increase from the same time last year.

“Home sales are starting to settle back into a trend of below-normal activity following an unexpected surge in the spring,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “However, sales are in a much stronger place than expected given current mortgage qualifying difficulty.”

Active listings in the province were flat month-over-month at just over 31,000 total listings and up slightly year-over-year.

Year-to-date BC residential sales dollar volume was down 17.4 per cent to $52.7 billion, compared with the same period in 2022. Residential unit sales were down 13.4 per cent to 54,126 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 4.6 per cent to $973,011.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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To view the full Commercial Leading Indicator PDF, click here.

The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) rose 0.6 points to 147 in the second quarter of 2023, while the six-month moving average fell to 147. Compared to the same quarter in 2022, the index was down by 4.7 per cent.

It is important to note that the environment for commercial real estate remains highly abnormal and uncertain. The CLI is designed to interpret economic and office employment growth as positive indicators for commercial real estate demand. The recent strong growth in these indicators may not translate as readily into improved commercial real estate market conditions due to structural changes in the economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CLI rose slightly in the employment and financial categories while declining in the economic category. An increase in real retail sales was offset by a decline in manufacturing sales. Meanwhile, a drop in inflation-adjusted wholesale trade pulled the economic component into negative territory. Spreads between corporate and government borrowing costs declined slightly in the second quarter, offsetting the impact of a slight weakening in prices of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT). This resulted in a net positive contribution from the financial component of the index. Finally, a rise in office employment (finance, insurance, and real estate) more than counteracted a drop in manufacturing employment, causing a net increase in the index’s employment component.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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Canadian employment rose by 40,000 (0.2 per cent) in August. The Canadian unemployment rate remained flat at 5.5 per cent, pausing after having risen three prior consecutive months. Average hourly wages rose 4.9 per cent year-over-year to $33.47 in August, while total hours worked were up 2.6 per cent from August of last year.

Employment in BC rose 0.4 per cent to 2.79 million, while employment in Metro Vancouver rose 0.6 per cent to 1.58 million. The unemployment rate fell to 5.2 per cent in BC, down from 5.4 per cent in July, while falling to 5.8 per cent in Metro Vancouver. 

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-employment-august-2023-september-8th-2023

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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As summer winds to a close, higher borrowing costs have begun to permeate the Metro Vancouver housing market in predictable ways, with price gains cooling and sales slowing along the typical seasonal pattern.

Here's a summary of the August 2023 housing market statistics.

The link: August 2023 Market Insights | REBGV - YouTube

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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The Bank of Canada maintained its overnight rate at 5 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy has entered a period of weaker growth, with slowing household spending and housing activity. On inflation, the Bank cited that recent data indicates inflationary pressures are broad-based and rising gas prices may cause a near term increase in CPI inflation. Meanwhile, core measures of inflation continue to trend near 3.5 per cent with little recent downward momentum.

Higher borrowing costs seemed to finally being felt as the Canadian economy contracted at an annualized rate of 0.2 per cent in the second quarter and the preliminary estimate for July showed zero growth.  However, with the inflation rising to 3.3 per cent as of the latest data in July, the effects of prior rate hikes still have work to do to bring inflation back down towards the Bank's target of 2 per cent. While the Bank of Canada decided to maintain its overnight rate at 5 per cent, persistent inflationary pressures are a concern and could still lead to future rate increases.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/bank-of-canada-interest-rate-announcement-sl68zxi0f8

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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