Economic Update October 22, 2013

BCREA ECONOMICS NOW

Canadian Retail Sales and US Employment – October 22, 2013

Canadian retail sales x`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.

VIREB Update October 1, 2013

Third Quarter Sales Reflect Steady Market Growth

Nanoose Bay

NANAIMO, BC – Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data for September released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island was up 29 per cent compared to last year, while average sale price remained virtually unchanged. The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in September 2013 was $323,914, down one per cent from this time last year. A total of 336 unit sales were recorded in September 2013, in comparison to September 2012, when only 261 single family homes sold.

In terms of unit sales for September year-over-year, there continued to be fluctuations among our different areas: Campbell River reported a 7 per cent decline; Comox Valley unit sales spiked 59%; Nanaimo sales also grew by 57%; Parksville/Qualicum sales rose 27%; Cowichan Valley saw a 21 % increase, and Port Alberni/West Coast Experienced a dip, down 29%.

“While we have witnessed significant fluctuations in our unit sales compared to September last year, when looking at these numbers year-to-date, we are reporting an eight per cent increase overall, indicative of a more balanced and stable market, compared to last year when activity levels were quite low” said VIREB president, Gary Gray. “When you compare unit sales to last month, most zones actually reported a slight decline in sales volume” he stated.

At the end of September 2013 there were 2,615 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service® within VIREB’s coverage area, down from the 2,911 homes in the system at the end of September 2012.

Comparing September 2013 to September 2012, the average sale prices across VIREB’s six geographic areas saw: Campbell River up seven per cent with average sales price listed at $280,278; the Comox Valley fell nine per cent to $333,920; Nanaimo dipped 5 per cent to $341,604; Parksville/Qualicum prices were down two per cent to $384,717; the Cowichan Valley dropped 13% to $276,472, while Port Alberni/West Coast remained relatively stable, reporting a one per cent dip in price with an average of $243,691.

Starting next month, VIREB will be introducing a new method of statistical reporting called the MLS® Home Price Index, or HPI. this system provides a more consistent trend analysis and is a better indicator of property value than averages, which are easily skewed by the sale of high-end or low-end properties; particularly in some of our smaller market areas.