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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – July 14, 2021

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 the second half of 2022.  The Bank announced that it is adjusting its quantitative easing (QE) program down to purchasing $2 billion per week Government of Canada bonds per week. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that it expects a strong pick-up in economic growth over the second half of the year as vaccinations progress and restrictions are lifted.  The Bank expects growth of close to 6 per cent this year, followed by 4.5 per cent growth in 2022.

As we hopefully approach the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of inflation has arisen as the most hotly debated topic among economists and analysts.  Specifically, whether current elevated inflation of around 3.5 per cent is a sign of accelerating prices or merely the transitory effect of supply constraints brought on by the pandemic.  The Bank of Canada is firmly on the side of believing higher than normal inflation is a temporary phenomenon. In today’s announcement, the Bank noted that base-year effects, meaning we are comparing prices in a recovered economy now to one in which prices were falling amidst a severe recession one year ago, rising gasoline prices and pandemic related bottlenecks in supply chains account for most of the increase in inflation.  The Bank expects inflation to remain above 3 per cent through the remainder of this year before easing back toward its 2 per cent target in 2022.  Given that outlook, and uncertainty surrounding timing of when the economy may be fully back to normal, the Bank seems to be on a path to raising its policy rate between the end of 2022 and early 2023.

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REBGV: Metro Vancouver’s housing market sets a steady, calmer pace to begin the summer season

While still elevated, home sale and listing activity in Metro Vancouver* has eased back from the record-setting pace seen in March and April of this year.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,762 in June 2021, a 54 per cent increase from the 2,443 sales recorded in June 2020, and an 11.9 per cent decrease from the 4,268 homes sold in May 2021.

Last month’s sales were 18.4 per cent above the 10-year June sales average.

“Metro Vancouver’s housing market continues to experience strong seller’s market conditions, although the intensity of demand has eased from what we saw throughout most of the spring,” Keith Stewart, REBGV economist said. “The past two months have shown a market that’s shifting toward more historically typical conditions.”

There were 5,849 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in June 2021. This represents a 1.1 per cent increase compared to the 5,787 homes listed in June 2020 and a 17.9 per cent decrease compared to May 2021 when 7,125 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 10,839, a 5.1 per cent decrease compared to June 2020 (11,424) and a 1.2 per cent decrease compared to May 2021 (10,970).

“With low interest rates, a growing economy and an improving job market, the Metro Vancouver housing market continues to enjoy solid economic fundamentals,” Stewart said. “We’re now seeing a market that’s beginning to normalize from the torrid pace in the spring. This is making multiple offers less common, allowing subjects to be seen on offers more frequently again, and is making new price records less likely.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2021 is 34.7 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 27.5 per cent for detached homes, 49.2 per cent for townhomes, and 37.1 per cent for apartments.

Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,175,100. This represents a 14.5 per cent increase over June 2020 and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to May 2021.

Sales of detached homes in June 2021 reached 1,262, a 45.7 per cent increase from the 866 detached sales recorded in June 2020. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,801,100. This represents a 22 per cent increase from June 2020 and is virtually unchanged from May 2021.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,774 in June 2021, a 60.5 per cent increase compared to the 1,105 sales in June 2020. The benchmark price of an apartment is $737,600. This represents a 8.9 per cent increase from June 2020 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to May 2021.

Attached home sales in June 2021 totalled 726, a 53.8 per cent increase compared to the 472 sales in June 2020. The benchmark price of an attached home is $946,900. This represents a 17.4 per cent increase from June 2020 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to May 2021.