With sales down, total active listing rose nearly 31 per cent to 33,500 units in November, compared to the same month last year. This said, active listings for the month of November 2017 were at their lowest level in more than 15 years. (Pixabay.com)

Provincial real estate body warns of ‘cracks’ in Canadian economy in 2019

British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) predicts Bank of Canada won’t meet interest goals

The body representing the provincial real estate industry warns of “cracks” in the Canadian economy.

Cameron Muir, chief economist of the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), made that observation in the organization’s mortgage rate forecast for December 2018.

RELATED: Victoria in Canada’s top three cities for highest household debt

“The most recent quarter of Canadian GDP data was, on the surface, relatively strong, showing that the economy expanded at a 2 per cent annual rate,” he said. “However, the underlying data was far less encouraging. Household spending slowed, residential investment fell 1.5 per cent and business investment also declined following six consecutive quarterly increases.”

The report sounds especially concerned about the state of the Alberta’s oil industry. A lack of pipeline capacity has prompted a build-up of inventory, causing prices of Western Canada Select oil to drop.

The “deep discount” for Western Canada Select oil is one of the reasons why BCREA appears “skeptical” that the Bank of Canada will succeed in raising its interest rate — which sets the rate for all other interest rates — to a ‘neutral’ level of three per cent over the medium term.

“However, other cracks in the economy are starting to appear as well, including the highly publicized closing to GM’s Oshawa plant, which will have a material impact on growth in Ontario,” said Muir. “Those factors, along with a slowing housing market across Canada and a potentially sharp slowdown in US economic growth next year, may give the Bank pause.”

The Bank of Canada, in other words, may refrain from measures that could further stall an economy that appears to be slowing down anyway.

RELATED: ‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

Looking at provincial figures for November, they confirm the slowing house market. According to the BCREA, November 2018 sales dropped 33.1 per cent cent from the same month last year to 5,179 units sold, with sales volume declining 34.3 per cent to $3.7 billion.

With sales down, total active listing rose nearly 31 per cent to 33,500 units in November, compared to the same month last year. This said, active listings for the month of November 2017 were at their lowest level in more than 15 years.

Notably, prices barely budged, dropping 1.9 per cent to an average of $718,903.

“BC households continue to struggle with the sharp decline in purchasing power caused by the B20 mortgage stress test,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Most BC regions are now exhibiting relative balance between supply and demand.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 23.1 per cent to $53.4 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales declined 23.6 per cent to 74,847 units, while the average residential price was up 0.7 per cent to $713,302.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘How not to handle social isolation concerns’: Victoria police respond to confrontation with firearm

Police seize replica firearms after one resident confronts another over social distancing

Saanich swimmer Lauren Crisp in running for rookie-of-the-year

Saanich swimmer Lauren Crisp, Oak Bay’s Diego Maffia in running for rookie-of-the-year

Victoria company compares drone footage of city streets between August and now

Fewer cars, people seen on streets and at landmarks

Fairfield gas station fire deemed arson

Police looking for witnesses, video of 2:30 a.m. April 5 fire

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Vancouver Island teen singer advances to American Idol top 20

Lauren Spencer-Smith performs Respect at outdoor concert in Hawaii

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Most Read