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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - July 13, 2016

The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is holding its target for the overnight interest rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation is on track to return to its target of 2 per cent by 2017, though heightened global uncertainty presents a risk to that forecast.  The Bank judges the overall risks to its forecast as roughly balanced, but noted financial vulnerabilities are elevated in the greater Vancouver and Toronto areas due to rising home prices. 

Economic growth in Canada appears to be slowing as expected in the second quarter.  Our tracking estimate of second quarter real GDP growth is currently at -0.5 per cent following a strong start to the year. Most of the slowdown is due to disruptions caused by the Alberta wildfires which points to a strong rebound as oil production comes back on-line and the reconstruction effort begins. That rebound will be further supported by a boost of fiscal stimulus planned for the second half of the year. An improved outlook for growth and firm but low trend inflation probably rule out any further rate cuts from the Bank, particularly given that long-term interest rates have already fallen to near record lows in recent weeks.  Our forecast remains that the Bank will be sidelined for the remainder of 2016 and through most if not all of 2017.

 “Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.”

 

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Canada’s residential real estate market posts strongest growth in five years in the second quarter of 2016

Central bankers expected to keep interest rates lower for longer in light of Brexit and global uncertainty


TORONTO, July 13, 2016 – Canada’s residential real estate market continued to show strong appreciation in the second quarter of 2016, posting the highest national year-over-year gain seen in five years, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey[1] and Market Survey Forecast released today.  Amid continued world economic uncertainty, the historically low interest rate environment that has fueled Canada’s real estate market growth in recent years – most notably in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) – is expected to continue longer than anticipated.  This extended period of low-cost borrowing will in turn further delay the cyclical cooling of Canada’s hottest real estate markets, originally forecasted for the second half of 2016.

 

The Royal LePage National House Price Composite, compiled from proprietary property data in 53 of the nation’s largest real estate markets, shows that the price[2]of a home in Canada increased 9.2 per cent year-over-year to $520,223 in the second quarter of 2016.  During the same period, the price of a two-storey home rose 10.7 per cent year-over-year to $619,671, the price of a bungalow increased 7.9 per cent to $437,121, and the price of a condominium increased 4.2 per cent to $348,189.  Looking ahead to the remainder of 2016, Royal LePage forecasts that the aggregate price of a home in Canada will increase 12.4 per cent when compared to year end 2015.

 

“Our forecasting models, which pointed to a slowing housing market as the year progressed, included a modest increase in the cost of borrowing,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage. “Economic and social disruptions have rocked the world once again, introducing new risks and making it very likely that the Bank of Canada will leave interest rates as-is for now. Few industries are as rate sensitive as real estate. We don’t  see even a mild correction for either the Toronto or pistol-hot Vancouver markets in 2016.”

 

“Our call for 12.4 per cent national price appreciation in the final quarter of this calendar year as compared to the final quarter of last year, is a landmark in Canada.  I believe it is the highest value put forward by any serious forecasting agency since the turn of the century,” added Soper.

 

On June 23, 2016, Britons voted to leave the European Union, surprising financial markets worldwide.  The British currency plummeted and the value of equities around the world swung wildly. Adding to economic uncertainty is an uncharted road ahead for decoupling the U.K. from the E.U., a process which some have predicted could take two years. This added dimension of uncertainty will encourage central bankers in Canada and abroad to keep rates lower for longer.

“Some have suggested that Britain’s exit from the E.U. will drive more foreign money into the relative safety of Canada’s real estate markets,” said Soper.  “We anticipate the impact, if any, will be seen in the commercial property sector and not in housing markets. Beyond Europe, our research does point to increasing Vancouver and Toronto region foreign buyer[3] activity in residential markets this quarter. Canada remains a favoured nation for the world’s real estate investors.”

According to a survey[4] of Royal LePage real estate advisors working within these regions, 71 and 74 per cent said that year-over-year home purchases by international buyers have increased in the second quarter in the GTA and Greater Vancouver, respectively. Still, 35 and 37 per cent of respondents believe that foreign ownership accounts for less than 10 per cent of the GTA and Greater Vancouver housing markets, respectively.

 

“At Royal LePage, we see residential real estate as a long-term investment supporting family life. A home is ill-suited as a buy-and-flip investment.  People that engage in this kind of activity are inevitably burned when a market slows and the time it takes to sell the property increases substantially. We applaud the efforts of all levels of government to better understand Canada’s housing market, through a coordinated effort to gather and analyze real estate data. Still, we remain convinced that heavy-handed use of tax policy in an effort to artificially influence asset values in an open-market economy like ours is fraught with peril, particularly in a cyclical industry like housing,” concluded Soper.

 

Provincial and City Summaries & Trends


Since the 2014 collapse of oil prices and the subsequent drop in the value of the Canadian dollar, the nation’s economy has been dominated by growth in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec – the four provinces most tied to the finished goods and services export sector, and by extension, to the health of the U.S. economy. The negative impact of the downturn in the resource sector, in contrast, remains concentrated in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.  Across the country, provincial economic trends can be seen influencing residential real estate market performance in most cities.

 

British Columbia’s economy has outperformed the balance of the country for two years running and is expected to continue doing so into 2017. This economic strength is echoed in the province’s housing market.  In the second quarter, Greater Vancouver posted an aggregate year-over-year home price increase of 24.6 per cent to a median price of $1,098,599.  During the same period, the city of Vancouver posted a year-over-year gain of 27.5 per cent to $1,330,531, while surrounding areas such as West Vancouver and Richmond posted even higher increases of 29.7 per cent and 28.3 per cent to median prices of $3,093,776 and $972,443, respectively.

 

Manitoba has been cited as one of the provinces that will outpace the national economy in 2016 and 2017[5]. This is attributed mainly to its strength in a diverse set of industries such as agriculture, health sciences, transportation, manufacturing and business services, rounding off the edges of some of the would-be effects of the commodities downturn.  In Winnipeg, the aggregate price of a home increased by a moderate 2.0 per cent in the second quarter to a median price of $285,358, with the detached two-storey home category posting the highest year-over-year price gain of 3.7 per cent to $314,589.

 

Ontario is expected to be one of the fastest growing provinces in 2016, with employment growth running at twice the national average so far this year. Very strong U.S. employment growth in June should once again stimulate Ontario’s export sector, after a tepid performance in the second quarter, as more American businesses look to Canada for affordable goods and services.  The GTA, the province’s largest market, saw notable year-over-year home price appreciation of 10.2 per cent to a median price of $656,365, while home price appreciation in the city of Toronto remained in-line with recent quarters, rising 8.4 per cent to $680,096.  Surrounding suburbs such as Richmond Hill, Whitby and Oshawa continued to outpace home price appreciation in the core, posting year-over-year aggregate home price gains of 21.3 per cent, 17.1 per cent and 16.7 per cent, to $992,632, $547,304 and $409,452, respectively.  Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital home prices remained steady in the second quarter, with the aggregate price of a home in Ottawa increasing 2.3 per cent to a median price of $401,288.

 

Strength in exports to the U.S. is expected to continue to support provincial growth in the remainder of the year in Quebec. Last month Fitch Ratings revised its outlook for the province from “negative” to “stable”, citing Quebec’s diverse economy as a key strength.  An increase in full-time jobs and renewed stability and confidence in Quebec’s economy is being reflected in the province’s residential housing sector, particularly in the Montreal region.  In the second quarter, the aggregate price of a home in the Greater Montreal Area increased by a healthy 3.5 per cent year-over-year to $344,620, while the aggregate price of a home in Montreal Centre rose 4.9 per cent to a median price of $416,953. This is indicative of a transition in the region, which is currently seeing a trend toward a seller’s market in the two-storey home segment, and a balanced market for other property types.

 

The Conference Board of Canada has projected that Alberta’s economy will dip 2.0 per cent this year as a result of the sharp pullback in drilling and capital investment in the energy sector, along with the impact of the Fort McMurray fires. Despite economic setbacks, residential real estate prices in the region have not seen the depreciation many onlookers had expected.  In the second quarter, the aggregate price of a home in Calgary decreased 1.8 per cent year-over-year to $454,790, while the aggregate home price in Edmonton dipped 1.2 per cent to $377,337.

Like Alberta, Saskatchewan is being hit by weakness in the energy sector, with more than 9,000 residents having dropped out of the workforce altogether. As a result, home prices in the province’s major centres have posted slight declines.  According to the Royal LePage National House Price Composite, the aggregate price of a home in Saskatoon slipped 0.2 per cent year-over-year to $370,125, while the aggregate home price in Regina decreased slightly, falling 1.7 per cent to $323,612.

 

Atlantic Canada saw mixed results in the second quarter, with Fredericton posting the highest year-over-year aggregate home price appreciation at 3.8 per cent to $235,425, with Moncton close behind, rising 3.0 per cent to $193,154.  Despite a rosier economic prognosis than its Atlantic neighbours, Halifax home prices remained flat year-over-year in the second quarter at $298,753. St. John’s was the only Atlantic city in the Composite to report an aggregate price decline, with the price of a home decreasing 1.5 per cent year-over-year to $336,131 amid a regional economic downturn brought on by the fall in oil prices. Meanwhile, powered by agriculture and tourism, Prince Edward Island’s economy is expected to grow slightly quicker than the national average according to most forecasters, although the residential real estate market has remained relatively flat, with the aggregate home price in Charlottetown rising 0.7 per cent year-over-year to $223,087 in the second quarter.

 

“Canada is not one homogeneous housing market, but rather a mosaic of many different real estate stories,” stated Soper. “While low interest rates remain the primary driver of Canada’s sustained real estate market expansion, home price trends are increasingly influenced by local factors, from the lift provided by wealthy immigrants to the drag felt by the depressed energy sector,” explained Soper. “The two regions that have provided pleasant surprises have been the oil-impacted regions where home values have been remarkably resilient.  And in Quebec, where the broad-based recovery story continues, with Montreal homes experiencing healthy price increases for another consecutive quarter.”

 

“Southern Ontario continues to see substantial year-over-year home price appreciation, with robust sales activity and price growth in both Toronto proper and in the region’s other urban centres, with no immediate sign of slowing down,” said Soper. “It is completely fair to describe the price increases we have experienced in the Toronto market as healthy; Vancouver is a different story altogether.  Canada’s most expensive market is distancing itself from the rest of the country at such a rapid rate that housing affordability has become a major public policy issue.”

 

“The quest for affordability in Vancouver seems to be influencing consumer housing type choices,” continued Soper.  “Alongside skyrocketing prices of single-family homes, we have seen an uptick in the rate of price appreciation for condominiums over 1,000 square feet, when compared to smaller units in this market.  This may indicate that families being priced out of the single-family detached home market in Vancouver are looking upwards to condominiums. In the GTA, this trend has not yet taken hold, suggesting that buyers are still predominantly moving ‘out’ to surrounding regions, versus ‘up’, in search of relatively affordable housing options,” concluded  Soper.

 

Aggregated regions and the Royal LePage National House Price Composite (.PDF)

Canadian Housing Trends 2016 Market Survey Forecast (.PDF)

 

About the Royal LePage House Price Survey

The Royal LePage House Price Survey provides information on the three most common types of housing in Canada, in 53 of the nation’s largest real estate markets. Housing values in the House Price Survey are based on the Royal LePage National House Price Composite, produced quarterly through the use of company data in addition to data and analytics from its sister company, Brookfield RPS, the trusted source for residential real estate intelligence and analytics in Canada.  Commentary on housing and forecast values are provided by Royal LePage residential real estate experts, based on their opinions and market knowledge.

 

About Royal LePage

Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of over 16,500 real estate professionals in more than 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women’s and children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.

For more information visit: www.royallepage.ca.

 

 

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Quintessentially Canadian Cottage-Life: Royal LePage finds foreign buyers account for few recreational property transactions

Retirement-bound boomers seek peaceful retreats

Toronto, ON, June 23, 2016 – Generation X buyers of cottages, cabins and chalets across Canada outnumber Baby Boomers by almost two to one, according to the Royal LePage 2016 Canadian Recreational Housing Report released today. Still, planning for retirement living is among the most common reasons potential buyers give for the purchase of a recreational property.  The annual report compiles information from a cross-Canada survey of real estate advisors who specialize in recreational property sales.

The survey found that 65 per cent of advisors polled indicated that potential purchasers were considering their retirement needs in deciding to buy a recreational property, while a significant number of respondents (88 per cent) said that potential purchasers identified desired lifestyle and vacationing as their main purpose. Just under half of respondents (49 per cent) said that clients wanted a recreational property as an investment and a little over a third (37 per cent) indicated that low interest rates were a deciding factor.

The family status of the typical recreational property buyer is a couple with children, according to 76 per cent of survey respondents. When asked about the most prevalent age range of current buyers, 63 per cent of respondents identified Gen Xers (36 to 51 years old), almost double the 33 per cent who identified Baby Boomers (52 to 70 years old).

“We found it interesting that a majority of respondents identified retirement as a driving factor for a recreational property purchase consideration, but Gen Xers, still decades from retirement, were identified as the typical buyer in the current market,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage. “This cohort, having reached a place of stability, and often owners of primary residences in the country’s city centres, is making recreational property purchases for family enjoyment in the near-term and as a key strategy for retirement.”

“Canada’s extended low interest rate environment has clearly provided buyers with the confidence they need to invest in a cottage or cabin,” added Soper. “In contrast to urban home purchase decisions, buying a property on a lakefront or mountainside is much less about interest rates, and more about enhancing lifestyle. Cash savings trump mortgage financing when it comes to how people are acquiring recreational property.”

 

Foreign purchases – A relatively small proportion of transactions

Almost 95 per cent of respondents stated that foreign buyers[1] were responsible for 10 per cent or less of recreational property transactions. When asked to identify where foreign buyer activity originates from, the most common answer was North America (79 per cent), with the majority (64 per cent) of those who specified a country of origin stating purchasers were Americans.

Respondents were split on factors driving international  interest between the quality of living in Canada (30 per cent), geography (27 per cent) and the low Canadian dollar (27 per cent).

“We Canadians enjoy a wonderful recreational real estate reciprocity with our American cousins. Like flocks of happy geese, we fly south in the winter, and in return, Americans head to the beautiful north country when summer arrives. Canadians have been, for years, the principal foreign buyers of sunbelt property in states like Florida and Arizona, while a lower Canadian dollar has encouraged a new wave of U.S. buyers here,” said Soper.  “Whether recreational property buyers live in Canada or come from abroad, the beauty of this country, from coast-to-coast, is the appeal for families looking to ‘get away’ and enjoy the cottage experience, one that is quintessentially Canadian.”

 

Regional trends – Sales volumes increased year-over-year in majority of Canada’s recreational property markets

While common elements impacting the country’s regional recreational property market can be identified, variability in provincial economies and inter-provincial migration has resulted in disparate local conditions. Depressed oil prices may have dampened the recreational property activity in energy-dependent regions, and caused workers who moved for energy jobs to return to their home provinces. These provinces have seen a general uptick in demand for real estate, as the older, repatriated workers look to spend their savings on leisure properties.

Across the country, roughly two-thirds  (67 per cent) of those polled said they have seen increases in sales over the past 12 months, and over half (53 per cent) expect sales activity in 2016 to exceed 2015 levels.

British Columbia saw year-over-year[2] price appreciation, and Royal LePage expects sales activity to increase throughout the remainder of the year. Advisors cited demand from retirees as a major factor driving the market.

In Alberta,  sentiments were somewhat mixed, with advisors generally expecting continued softness in both price and sales activity in the coming year.

In neighbouring Saskatchewan, recreational property prices were up slightly compared to last year, with inventory and demand levels remaining stable.

Meanwhile in Manitoba, the recreational property market is recording slight softness, with inventory levels outpacing demand.

In Ontario slight increases over last year were reported in both price and sales volumes  across the recreational property communities studied, with inventory levels slightly down in most markets.  Looking ahead, Ontario’s recreational property markets are expected to be active for the remainder of 2016.

Similarly in Quebec, most reported that recreational property prices and activity levels have been showing slight increases this year over last, with sales volumes projected to remain healthy for the remainder of the year.

Atlantic Canada recorded that regional market conditions were mixed. Advisors in Nova Scotia reported slight year-over-year price and sales activity increases, while recreational property markets in New Brunswick remained stable on both fronts. In contrast, Newfoundland’s recreational property market reported slight decreases in prices and sales when compared to the same period last year. In light of the negative economic impacts of the oil industry’s downturn, this softness is expected to continue for the remainder of 2016, as buyers and sellers wait on the sidelines amid market uncertainty. 

 

Average regional prices

The chart below provides average 2016 prices across Canada for six recreational property types studied in the report including lakefront, riverfront, oceanfront, island, woods cottage/cabin, and resort/condo.

View the Chart

 

About Royal LePage

Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of over 16,000 real estate professionals in more than 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women’s and children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.

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Home buyers remain active across Metro Vancouver

Home buyers continue to compete for homes listed for sale across the Metro Vancouver housing market. 

Residential property sales in the region totalled 4,400 in June 2016, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the 4,375 sales recorded in June 2015 and a decrease of 7.7 per cent compared to May 2016 when 4,769 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 28.1 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the highest selling June on record.

"While we're starting to see more properties coming onto the market in recent months, the imbalance between supply and demand continues to influence market conditions," Dan Morrison REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,875 in June 2016. This represents an increase of 1.2 per cent compared to the 5,803 units listed in June 2015 and a 6.6 per cent decrease compared to May 2016 when 6,289 properties were listed.

“Since March, we’ve seen more homes listed for sale in our market than in any other four-month period this decade,” Morrison said.  

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,812, a 35.9 per cent decline compared to June 2015 (12,181) and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to May 2016 (7,726).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2016 is 56.3 per cent. While clearly indicative of a seller’s market, this is the lowest this measure has been since February.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches the 20 to 22 per cent range in a particular community for a sustained period of time.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $917,800. This represents a 32.1 per cent increase compared to June 2015.

Sales of detached properties in June 2016 reached 1,562, a decrease of 18.6 per cent from the 1,920 detached sales recorded in June 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 38.7 per cent from June 2015 to $1,561,500.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,108 in June 2016, an increase of 18.8 per cent compared to the 1,774 sales in June 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 25.3 per cent from June 2015 to $501,100.

Attached property sales in June 2016 totalled 730, an increase of 7.2 per cent compared to the 681 sales in June 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 28.1 per cent from June 2015 to $656,900.

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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.