Canadian Real GDP (Sept) – Nov, 2019

The Canadian economy grew by 0.1% in September, following the same growth in the previous month. Services reported growth of 0.2%, slightly outpacing growth in goods (+0.1%). There were gains in 13 of 20 industries, with increases in wholesale trade and construction offset in part by lower activity in rail transportation. Activity at offices of real estate agents and brokers increased 1.2% in September, rising for the seventh consecutive month, primarily due to higher housing resale activity in Vancouver and Fraser Valley.

Rounding out the third quarter, Canada’s economy grew by 1.3%, led by strong business investment (+2.6%) and household spending (+0.4%), while exports were down by 0.4% and imports were unchanged. Of note was growth in housing investment (+3.2%), which recorded the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2012. The increase was driven by both new home construction (mostly detached homes in Ontario) and higher ownership transfer costs from resales activity in B.C. and Ontario.

We expect growth in the Canadian economy will moderate to around 1.5 per cent in the second half of 2019 after posting strong second quarter growth and will post trend growth of about 1.8 per cent in 2020. Significant downside risks remain due to elevated trade tensions and their consequent impact on exports and business investment.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Retail Sales (Sept) – Nov, 2019

Seasonally-adjusted Canadian retail sales fell by 0.1% in September to $51.6 billion (after an upwardly revised 0.1% in August), driven by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at gasoline stations. Retail sales were down in 6 of 11 sub-sectors. Regionally, 7 of 10 provinces reported declines in September with notable declines in Alberta (-1.6%) and New Brunswick (-3.7%).

In B.C., seasonally-adjusted retail sales fell by 0.2% to $7.2 billion in September, driven by a decline in sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and in food and beverage stores. Vancouver also reported a monthly decrease of 0.9% in sales. Declining provincial sales were reported in all sub-sectors except for building material and garden equipment. Compared to the same time last year, B.C. retail sales were down by 0.8% in September.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Rules Of The Road

In the course of daily driving and commutes, we all face unexpected delays and annoyances. People drive too fast or drive too slowly, they cut in the lane without leaving enough room or apply brakes for reasons we can’t see.

To maintain a peaceful feeling, I often invent a story that makes it easy to excuse the other driver. I say things like, “Maybe they are late for work,” “Maybe they have a family emergency” or “Maybe they’ve missed their kid’s last school event and trying not to miss another.”

This story reminds me of what it feels like on the other side of the steering wheel:

When Jane’s car stalled in the middle of a busy intersection, no amount of wishing, hoping and trying to turn the key could get the engine started.

Just as she turned on her hazard lights, the guy in the car behind her began to lay on his horn, and he continued to honk even as other cars pulled around.

Jane walked back to the other driver and said: “My car won’t start and I’m waiting for a tow, but if you think you can get it started, have at it. I’ll sit in your car and honk at you.”

There is a lot of data that suggests driving today requires more focused attention than 10 years ago. Most cars now have access to real-time updates for traffic, communication and entertainment.

Many of us know how distracting technology can be while driving a car, but we very rarely consider how distracting our negative emotions can be behind the wheel. If we pay more attention to that, who knows, maybe we would arrive at our destination safe and in a better mood.

Canadian Inflation (Oct) – Nov, 2019

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.9 per cent in October year-over-year, matching the increase in September. This marks 7-months of consecutive year-over-year growth in the CPI. Excluding the impact of higher gasoline prices, the CPI rose by 2.3 per cent year-over-year. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation remain unchanged to average 2 per cent in October.

In B.C., CPI slowed to 2.2 per cent year-over-year, down from 2.4 per cent in September. The decline was largely driven by recreation, education and reading, while notable increases were reported in gasoline, transportation and clothing and footwear prices.

With Canadian inflation hovering at 2 per cent, the Bank of Canada will likely continue its dovish-to-neutral tone. The Bank will need to see a deterioration in the economic indicators before taking action.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Home Sales Continue Normalization Trend in October

Vancouver, BC – November, 2019. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,666 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October, an increase of 19.3 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $724,045, an increase of 5.1 per cent from October 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $5.55 billion, a 25.4 per cent increase from the same month last year.

“Most markets around the province are returning to a more typical level of sales activity,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “That recovery in sales and slower listings activity is putting upward pressure on prices in many markets.”

MLS® residential active listings in the province were up 1 per cent from September 2018 to 36,567 units, although down slightly when compared on a seasonally adjusted basis. With sales and listings down, overall market conditions in the province have tightened, with a sales-to-active listings ratio of 21 per cent.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 9 per cent to $45.3 billion, compared with the same period in 2018. Residential unit sales were 6.2 per cent lower at 65,468 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 3 per cent year-to-date at $691,618.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.