Mortgage Rate Forecast — March 2016

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Canadian Manufacturing Sales Rose 2.3 Percent – March, 2016

A very solid start to the year for the Canadian manufacturing sector as sales rose 2.3 per cent to $53.1 billion, the highest level on record. Sales were led higher by gains in the motor vehicle, food and motor vehicle parts sectors, which accounted for 85 per cent of growth in January.  In inflation adjusted terms, sales in January were at their highest level since July 2008, finally surpassing levels last seen before the 2008/09 recession.

In BC, where the manufacturing sector employs approximately 170,000 people, sales rose 0.7 per cent on a monthly basis and just 0.8 per cent year-over-year.  The current slowdown in China is clearly having an impact on BC’s trade and manufacturing sector, though stronger growth in the US and a low dollar should provide a boost to growth in coming months. 

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.

BC Home Sales Sizzle at Record Pace

Vancouver, BC – March, 2016. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 9,637 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) last month, up 44.7 per cent from February of last year. This smashed the previous record of 8,157 unit sales for the month of February recorded in 1992. Total sales dollar volume was $7.51 billion in February, up 76.4 per cent compared to the previous year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was up 21.9 per cent year-over-year, to $779,419.1

“Housing demand is now at a break-neck pace,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Home sales last month were not only a record for the month of February, but on a seasonally adjusted basis, demand has never been stronger in the province.”

“Downward pressure on active listings has created significant upward pressure on home prices in some regions, particularly in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley,” added Muir. “While home builders have responded with a record pace of housing starts for BC last month, the supply isn’t expected alleviate the imbalance in these markets in the near term.”

The year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 73.6 per cent to $11.9 billion, when compared with the same period in 2015. Residential unit sales climbed by 40.1 per cent to 15,468 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 23.9 per cent to $769,424.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Employment – March, 2016

Employment in Canada was unchanged in February as gains in part-time work offset a decline in full-time jobs. The national unemployment rate rose 0.1 points to 7.3 per cent, the highest rate of unemployment in three years.

BC was the only province that saw job growth in February. Employment was up by 14,000 jobs and was 3 per cent higher than one year ago, the highest rate of job growth in Canada. The provincial unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.6 per cent as in-migration from other provinces continues to add to the pool of individuals actively looking for work.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Housing Starts – March, 2015

Canadian housing starts jumped close to 30 per cent in February following a dip in activity to start the year. Total housing starts were 212,594 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).   The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts of 198,880 was up slightly.

Housing starts in BC were the highest on record in February, reaching an astounding 50,780 units SAAR. The record-setting pace of new home construction was the result of record setting pace of starts of apartments and other multi-family units, which were up 183 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, total starts in the Vancouver CMA were up 199 per cent year-over-year in February due to a record setting month for multiple unit starts. In the Victoria CMA, housing starts were up 46 per cent year-over-year with strong gains in both single and multiple starts. Home construction in the Kelowna CMA also posted strong gains as starts of multiple units hit an 8 year high and total starts increased 253 per cent year-over-year. Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA were up 49 per cent in February on broad strength in both single and multiple units starts.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.