Canadian Monthly Real GDP (August) – October, 2020

Canadian real GDP grew 1.2 per cent in August, following a 3.1 per cent increase in July.  That is the fourth consecutive monthly increase in GDP following the steepest contraction of the Canadian economy on record. The overall level of economic output remains about 5 per cent below its per-pandemic level.

Third quarter real GDP growth is currently tracking at close to 10 per cent, or about 46 per cent on a quarterly annualized basis.  From there, we anticipate a strong, albeit slower rate of growth as the economy heals and enters a “recuperation phase.”  Like the Bank of Canada, we do not expect slack in the economy to be fully absorbed until around 2023, which, given the Bank’s guidance earlier this week, means that interest rates will remain historically low for quite sometime.  Those low rates will continue to provide a significant boost to an already strong BC housing market.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

BCREA Market Intelligence: COVID-19: Population Growth and Housing Demand

The latest BCREA Market Intelligence: COVID-19: Population Growth and Housing Demand examines how the sharp drop in immigration this year due to the global pandemic has impacted the BC housing market.

Summary Findings:
• Immigration is the most important driver of population growth in BC, with a growing share within the prime working-age and household-forming demographic.

• The global pandemic has resulted in a sharp drop in immigration and consequently BC reporting one of the lowest quarterly increases in population growth since 2011.

• In the short term, the impact of lower population growth will weigh most significantly on the rental market due to a significant reduction in international students and new permanent residents.

Here to read the full report:

Download (PDF, 572KB)


For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – October, 2020

The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate at 0.25 per cent this morning, a level it considers its effective lower bound. The Bank is also continuing its quantitative easing (QE) program, though re-calibrated to target longer-term bonds and slightly scaled back from purchasing $5 billion per week in Government of Canada bonds to $4 billion per week. The Bank also reiterated forward guidance on future interests moves, committing to holding the policy rate at 0.25 per cent until slack in the economy is absorbed and inflation is sustainably trending at 2 per cent. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is recovering, though at a highly uneven rate, with the pandemic particularly affecting low-income workers. Overall, the Bank expects a decline in Canadian real GDP of 5.5 per cent this year, before growing 4 per cent next year. Inflation is expected to remain below its 2 per cent target through 2022.

With the Bank committing to holding its policy rate at 0.25 per cent until slack in the economy is absorbed, and continuing its quantitative easing program of asset purchases, Canadian mortgage rates should remain at current historical lows for quite some time. Given the Bank’s forward guidance on interest rates and its projection for inflation, those low rates are anticipated to remain in place until 2023, providing a significant boost to an already strong BC housing market.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Inflation (Sept) – October, 2020

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.5% in September year-over-year, up from the previous month’s increase of 0.1%. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose by 1.0%. Prices rose in six of eight components year-over-year with notable increases in shelter (1.7%), food (1.6%), and health/personal care (1.6%), while prices declined for clothing/footwear (-4.1%) and recreation (-1.2%). Growth in the Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation was flat in September, averaging 1.7%.

Regionally, the CPI was positive in seven provinces. In BC, CPI rose by 0.4% in September year-over-year, up from August’s increase of 0.2%. Prices continued to rise for health/personal care (3.1%), shelter (1.6%), food (1.4%), and alcohol/tobacco/cannabis (1.3%). In contrast, downward price pressures were ongoing in gas (-13.4%), clothing/footwear (-3.5%), and recreation (-2.9%).

As some provinces such as Ontario and Quebec have reinstated stricter containment measures, Canadian inflation is expected to continue to be weak. In this environment, the Bank of Canada will continue to keep interest rates low.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Record September for BC Housing Markets

Vancouver, BC – October, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 11,368 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in September 2020, an increase of 63.3 per cent from September 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC set a monthly record of $803,210, a 15.3 per cent increase from $696,647 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in August was $9.1 billion, an 88.3 per cent increase over 2019.

“The provincial housing market had a record-setting September,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “Both total sales and average prices were the highest ever for the month of September as pent-up demand from the spring pushes into the fall.”

“Average prices are skewing higher as demand for space during the pandemic drives sales of single-detached homes,” added Ogmundson. Total provincial active listings are still down about 12 per cent year-over-year, with some markets even more under-supplied as the pandemic continues to keep listings low.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 25.1 per cent to $49.7 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. Residential unit sales were up 12.5 per cent to 65,023 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 11.2 per cent to $764,298.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.