Economist’s Monthly Report

Canadian Retail Sales – September, 2016

Canadian retail sales were relatively unchanged in July, albeit down 0.1 per cent.  Sales were flat through the spring and summer and in July were higher 7 of 11 subsectors. Excluding slower sales at gas stations, sales we actually up 0.2 per cent and excluding inflation, sales volumes were higher by 0.3 per cent.

In BC, retail sales were up for the third time in the last four months, rising 0.9 per cent on a monthly basis and were 6.4 per cent higher year-over-year. Year-to-date, retail sales are up 6.7 per cent.  Strong consumer demand and robust employment continues to drive the provincial economy higher in 2016. We are tracking real GDP growth tracking at a Canada leading 3.5 per cent through the first eight months of the year.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.


Canadian Manufacturing Sales – September, 2016

Canadian manufacturing sales improved in July, reflecting a recovering Canadian economy following a difficult second quarter. Sales rose 0.1 per cent, but were higher in just 9 of 21 manufacturing sectors. In inflation adjusted terms, sales were up 0.6 per cent.
In BC, where the manufacturing sector employs approximately 170,000 people, sales jumped 2.2 per cent on a monthly basis and 4 per cent year-over-year, reaching their highest level since February 2006. The gains were largely attributable to a growing forestry sector, particularly strong growth in paper manufacturing following shutdowns in June. Manufacturing and trade have been lagging behind the rest of the BC economy this year, so July’s strong showing is reason for further optimism about the BC economy. Overall, the BC economy is on track to grow 3.5 per cent this year, well ahead of any other Canadian province.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.

The September issue of Housing Mortgage Rate Forecast

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BC Housing Demand Remains Strong Despite Fewer Vancouver Home Sales

Vancouver, BC – September, 2016. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that 8,945 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in August, up 1.5 per cent from the same month last year. Total sales dollar volume was $5.1 billion in August, down 6.7 per cent compared to the previous year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $569,393, a decline of 8.1 per cent compared to the same month last year.11

“Strong housing demand across most regions of the province offset slowing home sales in Vancouver last month,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The newly introduced 15 per cent foreign buyer tax combined with the 3 per cent property transfer tax on homes over $2 million brought in earlier this year, slowed demand at the top end of the market in Vancouver last month.”

“The decline in the average home price was due to a change in the composition and location of homes sold in the province,” added Muir. “Fewer sales of high priced detached homes relative to all other homes sales in Vancouver as well as fewer Vancouver home sales relative to the rest of the province has caused the average price statistic to decline.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 39.1 per cent to $61.6 billion, when compared with the same period in 2015. Residential unit sales climbed by 22.1 per cent to 86,206 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 13.9 per cent to $714.400.

For more information, please contact:  Gino Pezzani.