Canadian Retail Sales (Oct) – Dec, 2019

Seasonally-adjusted Canadian retail sales fell by 1.2% in October to $50.9 billion, driven by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. Retail sales were down in 8 of 11 sub-sectors, representing 81% of retail sales. Regionally, 6 of 10 provinces reported declines in October, led by Ontario (-2%), Quebec (-1.7%) and Saskatchewan (-1.7%). In contrast, increases in retail sales were reported in Manitoba (1.1%) and Alberta (0.4%).

In B.C., seasonally-adjusted retail sales fell by 0.9% to $7.1 billion in October, driven by a decline in home furnishing sales and sales in sporting/hobby/books/music. Vancouver also reported a monthly decrease of 1.9% in sales. Compared to the same time last year, B.C. retail sales were down by 0.7% in October.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Inflation (Nov) – Dec, 2019

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 2.2 per cent in November year-over-year, following a 1.9 per cent increase in the previous month. Excluding the impact of higher gasoline prices, national CPI rose by 2.3 per cent year-over-year. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation rose to average 2.2 per cent in November, which means the increase in prices have been relatively broad-based.

In B.C., CPI grew to 2.2 per cent year-over-year, matching growth in October. The rise was led by food, and clothing and footwear prices, while notable declines were reported in gasoline and recreation prices.

Although the Bank of Canada has noted that inflation has been close to its target, the Bank will likely continue its cautious approach, as it continues to monitor other key economic indicators before deciding on a course of action in 2020.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Home Sales Firming Across the Province

Vancouver, BC – December, 2019. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,616 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November, an increase of 27.5 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $746,939, an increase of 5.5 per cent from November 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $4.94 billion, a 34.4 per cent increase from the same month last year.

“After several months of strong gains, home sales are now firming around long-run averages,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “We expect 2020 will be a much more typical year for markets compared to the volatility of recent years.”

MLS® residential active listings in the province were down 6.6 per cent from November 2018 to 31,310 units, and down for a seventh straight month on a seasonally adjusted basis. Overall market conditions remain balanced with a sales-to-active listings ratio of 21 per cent.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 6 per cent to $50.23 billion, compared with the same period in 2018. Residential unit sales were 3.9 per cent lower at 72,106 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 2.2 per cent year-to date at $696,574.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Mortgage Rate Forecast (December 2019)

Highlights

Wild year for interest rates
Canadian economy: slow and steady
Why is the Bank of Canada holding back?

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Canadian Housing Starts (Nov) – Dec, 2019

Canadian housing starts decreased by 0.3% in November to 201,318 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The trend in national housing starts continues to be healthy, averaging about 219,000 units SAAR over the past six months.

In BC, housing starts rose by 41% on a monthly basis to 48,840 units SAAR, largely due to a 59% increase in construction in the multi-unit segment in Vancouver, while single detached home construction was down by 13%. Compared to the same time last year, provincial starts were up by 22%.

Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC:

Housing starts in Vancouver were up by 78% in November at 27,688 units SAAR, following last month’s lowest reported level of starts in 2019. The increase was driven entirely by the multi-unit segment. Compared to last year in November, housing starts in Vancouver were up by 26%.

In Victoria, housing starts were up by 9% on a monthly basis to 4,224 units SAAR. Compared to a year ago, housing starts were up by 44%.

In Kelowna, housing starts decreased by 9% in November to 3,504 units SAAR. Year-over-year starts were down by 18% in the region.

Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were down by 30% at 1,636 units SAAR. Compared to this time last year, new home construction was up by 154%.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.