This Is A Tough Job To Fill… — Happy Father’s Day!

POSITION: Father (also known as Daddy, Dad, Pop)

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long-term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidate must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24-hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required.

LENGTH OF JOB: The rest of your life.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: Not much until Grandparent position opens up.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required. On-the-job training mandatory.

SKILLS:

  • Ability to fix any broken toy
  • Bug Catcher
  • Doctor
  • Chef
  • Chauffeur
  • Teacher
  • Principal
  • Finder of lost objects
  • Master pancake maker
  • Clown

BENEFITS: No paid holidays. Available benefits include lifelong opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and occasional hugs.

These are only a few reasons to celebrate all the men we know and love who are great fathers!

Happy Father’s Day!
Gino Pezzani

Canadian Retail Sales (April) – June, 2020

Seasonally-adjusted Canadian retail sales fell by a staggering 26% in April to $35 billion. The largest drop since the data became available in 1991. About one-third of retailers were closed in April, while in the clothing subsector it was 70%. Sales were down in all subsectors for the first time since 1993, led by auto dealers (-44%), gas stations (-32%), and food and beverage stores (-13%).

Sales were down in all provinces for the second consecutive month in April, leading the decline were Ontario (-33%) and Quebec (-28%). In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were down by 21% at $5.6 billion, while Vancouver sales were down by 24%. All subsectors were hit hard with the largest monthly declines reported in clothing (-67%), sporting/hobby (-50%), furniture stores (-47%), and at gas stations (-35%). The only increase was at building material and garden equipment stores (4%).

The shutdown of physical stores caused many retailers to shift or expand their online presence. E-commerce sales were up by 120% in April year-over-year at $3.4 billion. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, e-commerce in April went from accounting for 5% of total retail to almost 10%. This excludes Canadians purchasing from foreign e-commerce retailers.

Advance estimates provided by Statistics Canada for May indicates retail sales increased by 19%. This reflects the gradual reopening of some provinces and pent up demand. However, the magnitude and speed of what could possibly be the start of a retail recovery will depend on consumers’ willingness to venture out, and on how quickly individuals can return to work/have their work hours increased.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Seismic Shifts

COVID-19 made an impact on people all over the world, but curiously, it’s reduced our impact on the planet. The New York Times reports that self-quarantining has had an observable effect on seismic activity beneath city streets.

Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, measured the seismic noise beneath the city after Brussels established a lockdown in mid-March. He found that it had diminished quickly and significantly once Belgians and their cars were off the streets.

Other scientists around the world have followed his lead and detected similar declines. In Great Britain, one seismologist tracking activity from her suburban house observed a 20%–25% reduction in average weekly noise one week after the British commenced their lockdown.

In the center of London, another seismometer recorded a 30% drop. Similarly, noise levels in Los Angeles have declined more than 50% of normal, and the Paris Institute of Earth Physics has detected a 38% drop in average daytime seismic noise in the city. It seems that all our footsteps have more an impact than we realized.

Canadian Inflation (May) – June, 2020

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell by 0.4 per cent in May year-over-year. This was the second consecutive month of decline in the CPI since the summer of 2009. Transportation prices were the main drag on inflation due to lower gas prices compared to the same time last year. Rents also declined for the second consecutive month, as physical distancing measures and high unemployment dampened demand, while the conversion of short-term rentals to long-term rentals increased supply. Mortgage interest costs also declined as banks lowered rates in tandem with falling bond yields and a lower Bank of Canada policy rate. In contrast, food prices continued to increase in May (3.1%) due to beef plant closures related to COVID-19 and higher import prices from a weaker Canadian dollar. Excluding gas prices, the CPI rose 0.7%, the smallest increase since January 2013. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation fell 0.1 percentage points, averaging 1.7 per cent in May.

Regionally, the CPI was negative in all provinces except for Alberta. In BC, CPI fell by 0.2 per cent in May year-over-year, following a flat showing in the previous month. Gas prices (-31%) were the main contributor to the year-over-year decline, while food prices (3.9%) saw the largest increase among the components.

The new Bank of Canada governor, Tiff Macklem, noted yesterday that the CPI uses a fixed-weight basket of goods, but spending patterns have drastically changed due to COVID-19. To adjust for this change, the Bank and Statistics Canada are developing a CPI measure that will better reflect present-day spending patterns, which will likely show stronger downward pressure on prices than what is currently being reported.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Housing Market Activity Shows Signs of Recovery in May

Vancouver, BC – June, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 4,518 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May 2020, a decline of 45.2 per cent from May 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $728,898, a 3.2 per cent increase from $706,394 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in May was $3.3 billion, a 43.5 per cent decrease over 2019.

There were encouraging signs of recovery in May,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While activity is still far below normal, both sales and listings are up significantly from April’s lows.”

New listings activity started to normalize around the first week of May, reversing a slide in total active listings. However, active listings are still down close to 24 per cent year-over-year and are more than 10,000 listings below where they would normally be in the spring months.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 6 per cent to $18.6 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. Residential unit sales were down 14.2 per cent to 24,695 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 9.6 per cent to $753,155.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

JUST LISTED!! 320 5928 Birney Avenue, Vancouver

JUST LISTED!! #1204, 1500 Howe Street, Vancouver

No Phishing Allowed

We have all spent extra hours online over the past few months and you’re probably being extra careful with your personal information. However, determined criminals can “phish” for information.

The Norton website shares these clues to help you spot a scam and keep your data safe:

  • Carefully consider requests for personal information: Government agencies and legitimate organizations won’t ask for your Social Security number, passwords, or other private details via email.
  • Avoid untrustworthy links: You can determine where a link is actually going by hovering your mouse over it and looking at the website address, or the URL. Many times you’ll be able to tell that it’s not a legitimate online destination. On the other hand, some scammers can create very realistic looking destination URLs, so be cautious and delete the link in case of any doubt.
  • Grammatical Mistakes: Errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar are telltale clues of a phishing attempt. Again, delete the message immediately.
  • Generic Greetings: “Dear sir or madam,” or “To whom it may concern,” means that the sender has no idea who you are. That doesn’t mean it is an attempt at phishing, but you should probably take a closer look at the correspondence.
  • Requests for Instant Action: Phishing scams will insist that you respond immediately. Don’t panic; just delete the message.

BC Homes Sales to Post Strong Recovery in 2021

BCREA 2020 Second Quarter Housing Forecast

Vancouver, BC – June, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2020 Second Quarter Housing Forecast today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 21 per cent to approximately 61,000 units this year, after recording 77,347 residential sales in 2019. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase 45.3 per cent to 88,500 units in 2021.

“The bright outlook for 2020 home sales has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, as the economy “re-opens” and measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are gradually eased, we expect home sales will start to rebound, aided by record-low mortgage rates and pent-up demand.”

The impact of the current pandemic and associated recession on prices is largely determined by the reaction of supply. Given the unusual nature of COVID-19, the supply of listings for sale has declined for at least the first few months of the pandemic. A muted rise in for-sale inventory may translate to home prices remaining relatively firm in 2020. We are forecasting the provincial MLS® average price to finish the year up 1.8 per cent and to increase a further 5.6 per cent in 2021.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Ghost Ship Identified

Every 20 years or so, the remains of a 50-foot shipwreck are exposed on a Maine beach in the wake of strong storms, only to be buried again by more harsh weather. It’s a mystery that has frustrated locals wanting to know more about the ghost ship. According to the CNN website, the ship was first spotted in 1958, then reappeared in 1978, 2007, 2013, and 2018. Some pieces of the ship were saved, and now the mystery has been cleared up.

A marine archaeologist sent pieces of the wreck to the Cornell University Tree-Ring Laboratory, where the timber was matched in a tree-ring index to a probable date of 1753. With that data, the archaeologist studied historical records and linked it to a sloop called Defiance, built in 1754 and wrecked near the Maine location in 1769. Defiance sailed out of Salem, Massachusetts, with a cargo of flour, pork, and other goods. Crewed by four men, the ship hit a fierce storm and was forced onto the beach. Although the sloop was a total loss, all four men survived.

The identification is significant because Defiance is one of the few examples of a pre-Revolutionary War ship built in New England. Scientists also hope to use the information to measure the impact of sea level rise and storm activity.