Thursday, October 31, 2013

Canadian Monthly GDP

The Canadian economy expanded 0.3 per cent in August, building off of 0.6 per cent growth in July. Nearly all major industrial sectors registered growth in August, led by oil and gas and major Canadian service sectors like retail and wholesale trade. 

With today's release, we now have two months of GDP data for the third quarter. Our quarterly tracking estimate is currently pointing at growth north of 2 per cent and, barring substantial underperformance in September, possibly as strong as 2.5 per cent which would well exceed the Bank of Canada's recent forecast of 1.8 per cent. However, stronger third quarter growth has been somewhat artificially boosted by a recovery of output lost due to summer flooding in Alberta and labour disruptions in Quebec. Therefore it is unlikely that growth is accelerating beyond what the Bank of Canada is currently factoring into its interest rate decisions. 

Copyright BCREA - reprinted with permission 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Decision

The Bank of Canada left its target for the overnight rate unchanged at 1 per cent this morning. In its accompanying statement, the Bank highlighted that uncertain global and domestic conditions are delaying a forecast pick-up in exports and business investment, leaving the level of economic activity lower than what the Bank had been expecting. The Bank is forecasting growth of 1.6 per cent in 2013, and has trimmed its outlook on growth in 2014 from 2.6 per cent to 2.3 per cent.  Interestingly, the Bank also noted that persistently below target inflation are of increasing importance, normally an argument for a cut in the overnight rate. However, the risk of exacerbating already elevated household debt is weighing heavily on the Bank's interest rate decisions. 

Low inflation, higher long-term interest rates and the Bank's downward revisions to its economic forecast virtually rule out any movement in the overnight rate in the short term. Like the Bank, we anticipate a rebound in economic growth in 2014 that will bump inflation back onto a path back to its 2 per cent target by 2015. Rising inflation  will likely necessitate a tightening of interest rates, but not until late next year at the earliest.

Copyright BCREA - reprinted with permission 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Canadian Retail Sales and US Employment

Canadian retail sales increased again in August, growing 0.2 per cent largely on higher sales at food and beverage stores. Overall, gains were reported in 6 of 11 retail sub-sectors. Given today's data release, we expect third quarter Canadian real GDP to record growth of about 2 per cent.

Retail sales in BC were up 0.6 per cent month-over-month, only the fourth monthly increase in retail sales recorded this year. Compared to August 2012, sales were up 2.8 per cent. Year-to-date, BC retail sales are 0.8 per cent higher than in 2012.

In the United States, the end of the government shut-down brings with it some long delayed data including this morning's job report for September. US payrolls expanded by 148,000 jobs while the unemployment rate edged slightly lower to 7.2 per cent. While job growth remains steady, it is somewhat worrying that a once robust trend of 200,000 new jobs in the first quarter of this year has fallen to just 143,000 in the third quarter.

Copyright BCREA – reprinted with permission 

Housing Market Rebound to Extend Into 2014: BCREA 2013 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2013 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to increase 6 per cent to 71,700 units this year, before increasing a further 6.3 per cent to 76,200 units in 2014. The five-year average is 74,600 unit sales, while the ten-year average is 86,800 unit sales. A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

"Consumer demand has bounced back after waning for most of 2012,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “With higher interest rates on the horizon, many potential homebuyers are choosing to lock in a mortgage sooner rather than later. However, rather than signaling a return to frenetic home buying activity and accelerating markets, consumer demand is simply transitioning back to its long term average." 

The average MLS® residential price forecast for the province has been revised upward from a 3.3 to a 4.3 per cent increase to $537,100 this year, as a result of stronger than expected market conditions in Vancouver. The average MLS® residential price in BC is forecast to increase a further 2.1 per cent to 548,200 in 2014.

Copyright BCREA - reprinted with permission 

Dominion Lending Best Rates

Thursday, October 17, 2013

“CREA Housing Market Report 9th edt. 2013

Copyright CREA

Housing Market Update (October 2013)

Watch BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir discuss the September 2013 statistics: 

Copyright BCREA - rebroadcast with permission

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Canadian Manufacturing Sales

Canadian manufacturing sales posted a modest decline in August, falling 0.2 per cent month-over-month.  Sales were lower in 11 of 21 manufacturing sectors.

In BC, manufacturing sales rose 0.8 per cent from July but were 0.3 per cent lower than August 2012.  Year-to-date, BC manufacturing sales are 1.2 per cent higher than last year, though much of the overall gain is due to a 28 per cent rise in sales of manufactured wood products. Other large manufacturing sectors such as food products, pulp and paper and mineral products have recorded year-to-date declines in sales.

Copyright BCREA –reprinted with permission 

BC Home Sales on Upward Trajectory

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,498 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during September, up 43.2 per cent from September 2012. Total sales dollar volume was 55.7 per cent higher than a year ago at $3.49 billion. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $537,458, up 8.8 per cent from September 2012.

"Consumer demand for housing in September was the strongest in four years,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “After declining for most of 2012, BC home sales have increased now for seven consecutive months."

"While a return to a more normal level of demand is good news for buyers and sellers, relatively weak economic conditions and muted provincial job growth will likely limit continued acceleration of home sales over the next few quarters,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 5.7 per cent to $30 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 3.1 per cent to 56,347 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 2.6 per cent at $532,745.

Copyright BCREA –reprinted with permission 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Canadian Employment

Following significant ups and downs over the summer, Canadian employment was little changed in September. However, a decline in youths looking for work pushed the Canadian unemployment lower by 0.2 points to 6.9 per cent, the lowest rate in five years. Total employment has grown 1.2 per cent in the past 12 months. 

In BC, employment fell by 5,400 jobs as a decline in part-time work of 8,200 was only partially offset by higher full-time employment. The provincial unemployment rate rose by 0.1 points to 6.7 per cent. Year-to-date, employment growth in BC is flat while the level of total employment in September is 0.7 per cent lower than in 2012. 

Copyright BCREA - reprinted with permission 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Canadian Housing Starts

Canadian housing starts increased 5 per cent in September to 193,627 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The trend in Canadian new home construction edged up slightly to 188,440 units SAAR over the past six months, a rate that is roughly in-line with Canadian household formations.  On a year-over-year basis, housing starts were down 11 per cent.

New home construction in BC urban centres bounced back from a sizable decline in August, rising 17 per cent to 29,633 units SAAR . On a year-over-year basis, total starts were 10 per cent higher than September 2012. Single-detached starts were up 20 per cent over last year, while multiple starts rose 6 per cent. Through the first three quarters of the year, BC housing starts are down 5 per cent compared to 2012.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, total starts in the Vancouver CMA were up 1 per cent year-over-year at 1,731 units in September. Single family starts rose 15 per cent while multiples fell 2 per cent. Through the first three quarters of the year, Vancouver CMA housing starts are down 6 per cent. In the Victoria CMA, total starts were up 40 per cent compared to September 2012, due to double digit growth in both single and multiple starts. Year-to-date, VIctoria CMA housing starts are 8 per cent lower than 2012. New home construction in the Kelowna CMA fell 35 per cent year-over-year in September. The decline was the result of a steep drop in multiple unit starts compared to 2012. Year-to-date, Kelowna CMA housing starts are down 1 per cent compared to 2012. Single detached starts were 30 per cent higher.  In the Abbotsford-MIssion CMA, starts were up 400 per cent at 130 total units compared to just 26 in September 2012. Year-to-date, total housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA have risen 91 per cent.

Copyright BCREA – Reprinted with permission

Monday, October 7, 2013

Another home SOLD

Here is a home that must be at the top of your list. Privately positioned on a prime 4.24 acre parcel overlooking green pasture with the Kootenay River in the not too distant view. As attractive as this home is from the exterior, the inside is instantly appealing and inviting. It offers a generous foyer leading to a spacious living room with a fireplace and vaulted ceilings. The kitchen is modern and is open to the dining room and an adjoining family room. Hardwood flooring and tile throughout the main. 1 bdrm and den on main and 3 more bdrms up. A covered deck wraps around 3 sides and makes warm weather living a pleasure. The barn doubles as a workshop. The property is fully fenced and currently operates as a market garden selling organic raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.  Just 20 mins from Nelson or 15 minutes to Castlegar.
MLS #2392215  List Price $499,900

Indoor air quality

As temperatures drop and the autumn leaves begin to blanket the earth we collectively embark on our migration to the warmth, comfort and protection of our indoor spaces.
According to Health Canada, we spend about 90 per cent of our time indoors at home, at work or in recreational settings such as shopping malls, restaurants and gyms. We often talk about outdoor air quality and pollution but what do we know about indoor air quality?
Given that fall is the prime time for sealing up our homes in an effort to make them more energy efficient, a look at the health of our indoor air is fitting.
Mould lives in damp environments. It might look like a stain and appear in different colours. Sometimes, though, mould is not apparent and instead there is a musty smell. High concentrations of mould spores inside your house can lead to adverse health effects such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
If the amount of mould isn’t too large, consider fixing the problem yourself. Health Canada recommends using water and dish detergent. Bleach isn’t necessary. Once that’s done, you’ll need to address the cause. There are other ways to prevent mould growth such as ensuring that your clothes dryer hose is properly vented outdoors or by repairing basement, roof and pipe leaks immediately.
Radon, which is a radioactive gas created in nature, is often found in basements and crawl spaces, where there is poor ventilation. These locations also tend to be closer to the source of radon, which is created by decaying uranium found in soil, rock and water. Radon can enter a house through cracks in the foundation or gaps around pipes. Because radon is invisible, odourless and has no taste, the only way to know for sure if you have it is to do a DIY test or call in a professional.
Formaldehyde is a colourless gas that at high levels emits a sharp smell and irritates eyes, nose and throat and can worsen asthma in children. Low levels of this gas are extremely common indoors. Formaldehyde comes from cigarette smoke, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves; paper products such as wallpaper and cardboard; paints, adhesives and floor finishes and pressed wood products used in home construction projects, furniture and cabinets.
The best way to control formaldehyde in your home is by not smoking indoors, ensuring your fireplace and woodstove are in good working order and by letting products containing formaldehyde air out before bringing them into your home.
Carbon monoxide is odourless, tasteless and colourless. Encountering low levels over long periods of time can be dangerous, but high levels can lead to death. Low-level exposure might feel like the flu. More extreme exposure can result in chest pain, confused thinking and dizziness. It’s essential that you keep fuel-burning mechanisms and appliances well vented.
It’s important to maintain your fuel-burning devices, never idle vehicles in your garage and don’t smoke indoors. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector.
The following are other general ways to bump up your indoor air quality, according to Health Canada:
* Keep adequate ventilation, especially in rooms with excess water such as bathrooms.
* Monitor and control humidity levels.
* Fix leaks and cracks in walls, floors, roofs and basements.
* Immediately clean any mould found growing in your home.
* Keep your home clean by dusting and vacuuming regularly.
* Keep the door between your garage and home closed.
* Do not store paints, solvents or varnishes inside your home.
* Coat or seal furnishings made from particle-board or medium-density fibreboard.
Learning about the condition of the air inside your home might just be the perfect winter project. There are plenty of great online sources from which to obtain more information. For starters, try Health Canada, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Canadian Building Permits

Canadian building permits fell 21.2 per cent in August to $6.3 billion, reversing July's 20 per cent gain.  Lower building permits were the result of a decline in construction intentions in both the residential and non-residential sectors.

BC was one of only two provinces to register an increase in building permits in August. The total value of building permits issued in the province rose 2.9 per cent from July as residential building permits rose 12.8 per cent while non-residential permits declined 13  per cent. Year-over-year, construction intentions in August were about 1 per cent lower than in 2012. On the residential side, the total number of units permitted increased from 2,352 units in July to a 2,666 in August. A decline in permits for single-family units was offset by a substantial jump in permits for apartment units from 1,092 to 1,478.

Building permit activity across BC's four major census metropolitan areas (CMA) was mostly positive in August. In the Vancouver CMA, permits rose 13.6 per cent on a monthly basis but were 2.6 per cent lower year-over-year. Construction intentions in the Victoria CMA broke a two month trend of double digit increases, declining 26.2 per cent on a monthly basis but were 10 per cent higher year over year. in the Kelowna CMA, permits posted another large increase, rising 79.9 per cent from June and  doubled permit values recorded in August 2012. Finally, in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA, building permits increased 2.1 per cent month-over-month and 11 per cent year-over-year.

Copyright BCREA - reprinted with permission

Setting the List Price

Here are some of the reasons why pricing your home at the current market value is extremely important:
  • Potential buyers may not look at your home if they believe it’s out of their price range.
  • Buyers comparison shop when considering a home purchase. When a buyer compares an overpriced home versus one that is priced at market value, it will likely convince them to place an offer on the well-priced property instead of yours.
  • Properties that have been on the market for extended periods often come under scrutiny from buyers who question why the properties have yet to sell. Perception is a key factor in how a seller’s home is viewed by the average homebuyer.
  • Real estate agents may skip over showing an over-priced home as they may believe the seller has little motivation to actually sell the property. Buyers’ agents are always keen on getting their clients through the doors of a well-priced home first in order to give their clients first crack at getting the home of their dreams.
  • The longer a listing stagnates on the market, the more likely it will sell for less than had it been priced right in the first place.
The key to pricing your home to sell for the most amount of money in the shortest period of time is to work with a local real estate professional. We know how to do an accurate market comparison and arrive at an asking price that will offer some room for negotiation, but not scare off potential buyers.