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Canadian employment gained 303K jobs in March (1.6%, m/m), bringing total employment to within 1.5% or 296K jobs of its pre-pandemic level from February 2020. Both part-time employment with full-time employment contributed to the gains in March, rising by 128K and 175K jobs respectively.  The national unemployment rate decreased by 0.7 percentage points to 7.5%, which is the lowest rate since February 2020. 

In BC, employment grew by 35k (+1.3%, m/m) in March. The unemployment rate decreased from held steady at 6.9%, which is the lowest rate the province has recorded since February 2020. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, employment increased by 32.3k (+2.2%,m/m), following a rise of 13.9k in the previous month. Compared to one year ago, employment in BC was up 8.4% (+116.7K) jobs. 

Employment in BC and other parts of Canada may slow in April as more restrictive "circuit-breaker" polices are implemented to mitigate rising COVID-19 cases. Fortunately, daily vaccinations have ramped-up considerably and the labour market should be in a much better place by early summer.




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It was a strong start for the Canadian economy as real GDP expanded 0.7 per cent on a monthly basis  in January.  The increase in January marks the ninth consecutive month of positive economic growth, however, total economic activity is still about 3 per cent below its pre-COVID-19  level.  With the strong start to 2021, first quarter real GDP growth is tracking at 5.5 per cent on an annualized basis.

An acceleration of vaccinations appears to be on the immediate horizon. As that roll-out progresses, we expect pent-up spending throughout the economy to be unleashed, driving a strong economic recovery. Following an unprecedented contraction in 2020, we expect the Canadian economy will enjoy two years of very strong growth with the economy expanding by more than 5 per cent this year and about 4.5 per cent in 2022. 
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I have sold a property at 1003 5028 KWANTLEN ST in Richmond.
Seasons by Polygon. Best LOCATION! Best VIEW! NE Corner unit with 2 bedrooms and 2 ensuites. Gorgeous 180 degree mountain and city VIEW from balcony and all rooms. Floor to ceiling windows, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances. Great facilities with gym, lounge, garden, hot tub, steam room. Steps to Lansdowne Mall, Skytain, Kwantlen University, public transit. Quick possession.
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Canadian retail sales fell in January by 1.1% m/m on a seasonally-adjusted basis. This is the second consecutive monthly decline since April 2020. Sales were down in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 39% of retail sales. Clothing and clothing accessories stores led the decline, down for a fourth consecutive month. Notable declines were also reported at furniture and home furnishing stores. Compared to the same time last year, retail sales were up by 1.3%.  
  
Sales were down mainly in Quebec and Ontario, where stricter lockdown measures were in place. In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales rose by 4.4% m/m ($8.4 billion) and by 4.4% m/m ($3.7 billion) in Vancouver. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, contributing to the increase were sales at auto dealers and gasoline stations. BC retail sales were up by 14.5% compared to the same time last year.   

In January, Canadian e-commerce sales totaled $3.5 billion, accounting for 7.8% of total retail sales, down from 8.1% in the previous month. E-commerce sales were up by 111% from a year ago. This excludes Canadians purchasing from foreign e-commerce retailers.  
    
With the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Canada, provincial governments began to reintroduce lockdown measures, which directly affected the retail sector. Approximately 14% of retailers were closed at some point in January for an average of three business days. Statistics Canada's preliminary estimate for February suggests that retail sales increased by 4%. Growth in retail sales is expected to bounce back as the vaccine rollout accelerates and pent-up consumption is unleashed. 
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Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.1% in February year-over-year. The increase was again due to higher gasoline prices (5%). Excluding the volatile gasoline component, the CPI rose by 1%, which is down from 1.3% in January. Prices rose in all components of the CPI except for clothing and footwear. Growth in the Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation remained unchanged, averaging 1.7%. 

Regionally, the CPI was positive in all provinces, led by Quebec (1.6%). In BC, CPI rose by 0.9% in February year-over-year, down from January's 1.1%. Strong price growth continued for health and personal care, shelter, and food. Transportation costs reported the first notable increase since the pandemic started.  

Gas prices were again the driving force behind inflation growth in February. It will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, as oil producers tighten supply. Despite this, the Bank of Canada has indicated that it will not raise rates until the economy is back at full employment and inflation is sustained at its 2% target rate.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-inflation-feb-march-17-2021


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Canadian housing starts decreased by 13.5% m/m to 246k units in February at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), following a strong increase of 24% in January. Housing starts decreased in all provinces except for BC. Building activity declined in both the multi-unit (-16%) and single-detached (-9%) segments. Despite February's decline, national housing starts were up by 17% compared to the same time last year. Also, the six-month moving average was still a strong 243k units SAAR. 

In BC, housing starts increased by 21% m/m to 43.5k units SAAR in February, following a decrease of 17% in the previous month. Building activity was up by 39% in the multi-unit segment, while single-detached starts were down by 14%. The rise in the multi-unit segment was led by Vancouver, which reported a 70% increase in multi-unit starts in February. Compared to the same time last year, housing starts were up by 2% in BC. 

The decline in February comes on the heels of a very strong 2020. Also, the level of residential construction activity is still above pre-pandemic levels, reflecting the high demand for housing that we've seen across the country. The value of BC residential building permits was down by 1% in January, led by the multi-unit segment, while permits were up for the single-detached segment.
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I have sold a property at 136 52ND AVE E in Vancouver.
Rarely available level lot 32X122 on west of Main. Livable house, 1 block to Langara Golf Course, 1/2 block to Sunset Community Centre. Skating, golfing and swimming, local shops, bus stops & skytrain are just minutes from the property. School catchment to Sexsmith elementary school and Churchill Secondary. Great opportunity to get land in one of Vancouver's hottest areas!
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I have listed a new property at 1003 5028 KWANTLEN ST in Richmond.
Seasons by Polygon. Best LOCATION! Best VIEW! NE Corner unit with 2 bedrooms and 2 ensuites. Gorgeous 180 degree mountain and city VIEW from balcony and all rooms. Floor to ceiling windows, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances. Great facilities with gym, lounge, garden, hot tub, steam room. Steps to Lansdowne Mall, Skytain, Kwantlen University, public transit. Quick possession.
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I have sold a property at 506 5028 KWANTLEN ST in Richmond.
Seasons by Polygon. Well laid out 2 bedrooms & 2 baths corner unit. Conveniently located in the heart of city center. South East facing overlooking courtyard / garden. Walk distance to Kwantlen University, Lansdowne Mall & skytrain station. Very well run complex.
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I have listed a new property at 136 52ND AVE E in Vancouver.
Rarely available level lot 32X122 on west of Main. Livable house, 1 block to Langara Golf Course, 1/2 block to Sunset Community Centre. Skating, golfing and swimming, local shops, bus stops & skytrain are just minutes from the property. School catchment to Sexsmith elementary school and Churchill Secondary. Great opportunity to get land in one of Vancouver's hottest areas!
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Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.0% in January year-over-year. The increase was largely due to higher gasoline prices (6.1%). Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose by 1.3%, which is up from 1.0% in December. Prices rose in seven of eight components year-over-year in January. Growth in the Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation inched up slightly, averaging 1.5%. 

Regionally, the CPI was positive in eight provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador (1.5%). In BC, CPI rose by 1.1% in January year-over-year, up from December's increase of 0.8%. Strong price growth continued for health and personal care and shelter. Home furnishings also pulled ahead in January on the heels of robust home sales. In contrast, gas prices continue to be a drag on BC's inflation. 

Inflation is expected to remain weak until the vaccine rollout becomes more widespread and health regulations across the country are relaxed. In the current environment, the Bank of Canada will continue to keep interest rates low.

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-inflation-jan-february-17-2021



 

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The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,169 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2021, an increase of 63.3 per cent over January 2020 and over a thousand sales higher than the previous record for the month of January. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $845,169, a 16.1 per cent increase from $728,269 recorded in January 2020. Total sales dollar volume was $6.1 billion, an 89.6 per cent increase from last year.

“It was once again a record-setting month for the provincial housing market,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While sales were strong across all regions of the province, the Fraser Valley, Interior and Vancouver Island regions shattered previous sales records and pushed January sales to new heights.”

Total active residential listings were down 21.5 per cent to 20,254 units in January, the lowest level of provincial active listings on record, going back to 2000. With strong sales and so few listings, market conditions are exceptionally tight with less than three months of total supply. 

“The supply of listings continues to be held back by the pandemic,” added Ogmundson. “With so few listings, markets are starved for supply and prices are under extraordinary pressure.”  
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Canadian real GDP grew by 0.7% in November, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. This is the seventh consecutive monthly gain since the steepest drops in Canadian history was observed in March and April. This brings GDP 3% below the February pre-pandemic level of output. Fourteen of the twenty industries reported an increase in output. 

Leading the increase were the mining and oil and gas sectors (3.9%) due to higher international demand. Manufacturing was up (1.7%) as a result of higher inventory formation, and multiple global COVID-19 vaccine announcements drove activity in finance and insurance (1.3%). In contrast, declines were reported at clothing stores (-5.4%), personal care stores (-1.8%), auto dealers (-0.6%), and real estate agent and broker offices (-2.6%). Housing resale activity was down in November in the majority of large Canadian cities.  

Early estimates from Statistics Canada indicate that real GDP grew by 0.3% in December. This is good news, indicating that the economy is showing resilience given the second wave of infections and lockdowns in many large provinces. 
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The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2021 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to rise 15.6 per cent to 108,680 units this year, after recording 94,021 sales in 2020. In 2022, MLS® residential sales are forecast to pull back 9 per cent to 98,850 units.  

“After an unprecedented and often surprising performance in 2020, the provincial housing market is set up for a very strong year in 2021,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Chief Economist. “A strong economic recovery and record-low mortgage rates will continue to drive strong demand this year.” 

On the supply side, new listings activity recovered through the second half of 2020, but not nearly enough to see any accumulation in overall inventory. As a result, market conditions will start 2021 very tight, with the potential for strong price increases through the spring and summer until new supply comes online. We are forecasting a 7.7 per cent rise in the MLS® average price this year, followed by a further 3 per cent in 2022.

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Canadian retail sales rose for the seventh consecutive month in November by 1.3% on a seasonally-adjusted basis, defying Statistic Canada's preliminary estimate of no change. Sales were up in 7 of 11 subsectors, representing 53% of retail sales. The increase was led by higher sales at food and beverage stores. Compared to the same time last year, retail sales were up by 7.5%.    

Sales were up in all provinces except for Manitoba. In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were up by 0.8% ($8.0 billion) and by 1.4% ($3.7 billion) in Vancouver. Contributing the most to the increase were sales at electronic and appliance stores, while sales were down at auto dealers and gas stations. Compared to the same time last year, BC retail sales were up by 11.1%.   

In November, Canadian e-commerce sales totaled $4.3 billion, accounting for 7.4% of total retails sales, which is up from 5.4% in the previous month. Meanwhile, e-commerce sales were up by 76% from a year ago. This excludes Canadians purchasing from foreign e-commerce retailers.  
    
November was a pleasant surprise in retail sales, as consumers likely pulled forward their purchases in anticipation of the holiday rush, as well as promotional events such as Black Friday. Early estimates from Statistics Canada are showing a December decline, as COVID-19 cases increase and multiple provinces implement stricter lockdown measures. Growth in retail sales is expected to slow until the vaccine becomes more widely available.     
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The Bank of Canada maintained its overnight rate at 0.25 per cent this morning, a level it considers its effective lower bound. The Bank reiterated what it calls "extraordinary forward guidance" in committing to leaving the overnight rate at 0.25 per cent until slack in the economy is absorbed and inflation sustainably returns to its 2 per cent target. The  Bank projects that will not occur until 2023. The Bank is also continuing its quantitative easing (QE) program, purchasing at least $4 billion of Government of Canada bonds per week. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the economic recovery has been interrupted by the second wave of COVID-19, but the arrival of effective vaccines has boosted the medium-term outlook for economic growth.  The Bank expects the Canadian economy will grow 4 per cent in 2021 and 5 per cent in 2022.

The restrictions in place to mitigate the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 mean that the economy is likely going to get off to a slow start in 2021.  However, as vaccinations accelerate in coming months, the Canadian economic recovery will gain steam in the second half of 2021. Depending on the strength of the recovery, we may see the Bank taper its purchases of government bonds in 2022, which could put moderate upward pressure on 5-year fixed mortgage rates. However, that still means the current extremely low interest rate environment will be around for quite some time.
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Canadian housing starts decreased by 12.6% m/m to 228,279 units in December at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), following a strong increase of 14% in the previous month. Housing starts decreased in 8 of 10 provinces with the largest decline in Manitoba (-40.5%). Building activity declined in both the single-detached (-6.2%) and multi-unit (-15.5%) segments. Despite December's decline, housing starts finished 2020 higher than the previous year. Also, the six-month moving average was still a robust 239,052 units SAAR. 

In BC, housing starts decreased by 12.1% m/m to 43,602 units SAAR in December, following a strong increase of 51% in November. Building activity was down by 15.7% in the multi-unit segment, while single-detached starts were up by 1.5%. The decline in the multi-unit segment was led by Vancouver.

The pullback in December was not unexpected as tighter COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. We can still expect housing activity to be supported by strong demand and historically low borrowing rates. The value of BC residential building permits was up by 22% in November with a strong increase in the multi-unit segment, which will contribute positively to economic growth. Compared to the same time last year, housing starts were up by 1.2% in BC. 

Link: https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-housing-starts-dec-january-18-2021


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Canadian employment lost 63k jobs in December (-0.3%, m/m), representing the first decline since April 2020. This comes on the heels of many provinces reinstating public health measures that closed recreational facilities and in-person dining services. The decline was led by part-time employment, specifically among youth aged 15 to 24 and those 55 and above. Employment declined in all provinces except for BC. The national unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage points to 8.6%, which is still a fall from the record high of 13.7% in May 2020. Compared to the same month last year, Canadian employment was down by 3.0% (-572k). 

In BC, employment grew by 3.8k (0.2%, m/m) in December, following a gain of 24k in the previous month. The province continues to be at 99% of its pre-COVID February employment level. The unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage points to 7.2%, the first increase since the record high of 13.4% in May 2020. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, employment decreased by 1.1k (-0.1%, m/m). Compared to one year ago, employment in BC was down by 1.4% (-37K) jobs. 

Despite rising cases of COVID-19 across the country, employment in BC bucked the trend and grew in December. Industries that saw the largest increases were construction and manufacturing, while like the rest of the country, employment fell in accommodation and food services. On the whole, we can expect national employment growth to come to a standstill as caseloads and hospitalizations increase, leaving many provinces to extend restrictions and partial lockdowns.  

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.