Housing Demand Outpaces Supply

General Bob Rees 15 Dec

Thank you Dr Cooper!


Housing Demand Outpaces Supply
Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics showing national existing-home sales rose 0.6% in November following the whopping 8.6% surge the month before. Sales could have been higher had it not been for the limited supply of homes for sale. Homebuyers are anxious to finalize purchases before the Bank of Canada hikes interest rates next year.Across the country, sales gains in Calgary, Edmonton, the B.C. interior, Regina and Saskatoon offset declines in activity in the GTA and Montreal.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in November 2021 was firm historically, edging down a scant 0.7% on a year-over-year basis, missing the 2020 record for that month by just a few hundred transactions.

On a year-to-date basis, some 630,634 residential properties have traded hands via Canadian MLS® Systems between January and November 2021, far surpassing the annual record 552,423 sales for all of 2020.

“The fact is that the supply issues we faced going into 2020, which became much worse heading into 2021, are even tighter as we move into 2022. Interest rate hikes will make it even harder for new entrants to break into the market next year, even though activity may remain robust as existing owners continue to move around in response to all of the changes to our lives since COVID showed up on the scene. As such, the issue of inequality in the housing space will remain top of mind. One wildcard will be what policymakers decide to do with the national mortgage stress test, which could act as a kind of cushion against rising rates for young and/or first-time buyers. It could also make things that much harder for them,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist.

New ListingsThe number of newly listed homes rose by 3.3% in November compared to October, driven by gains in a little over half of local markets, including the GTA, Lower Mainland, Montreal, and many markets in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe.

With new listings up by more than sales in November, the sales-to-new listings ratio eased a bit to 77% compared to 79.1% in October. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 54.9%.

About two-thirds of local markets were seller’s markets based on the sales-to-new listings ratio being more than one standard deviation above its long-term mean. The other one-third of local markets were in balanced market territory.

There were just 1.8 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of November 2021, tied with March 2021 for the lowest level ever recorded. The long-term average for this measure is more than 5 months.

Home PricesIn line with some of the tightest market conditions ever recorded, the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up another 2.7% on a month-over-month basis in November 2021.
The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by a record 25.3% year-over-year in November.

Year-over-year price growth has crept back up to nearly 25% in B.C., though it remains lower in Vancouver, on par with the provincial number in Victoria, and higher in other parts of the province.

Year-over-year price gains are still in the mid-to-high single digits in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while gains have risen to about 13% in Manitoba.

Ontario saw year-over-year price growth hit 30% in November, with the GTA continuing to surge ahead after trailing most other parts of the province for most of the pandemic.

Greater Montreal’s year-over-year price growth remains at a little over 20%, while Quebec City was only about half that.

Price growth is running above 30% in New Brunswick (higher in Greater Moncton, lower in Fredericton and Saint John), while Newfoundland and Labrador is now at 10% year-over-year (lower in St. John’s).

Bottom Line–Lots of News Today

Canada continues to contend with one of the developed world’s most severe housing shortages; as our borders open to a resurgence of immigration, excess demand for housing will mount. The impediments to a rapid rise in housing supply, both for rent and purchase, are primarily in the planning and approvals process at the municipal and provincial levels. Liberal Party election promises do not address these issues.

Inflation pressures are mounting everywhere. The US posted a year-over-year inflation rate for November at 6.8%, up from 6.2% posted the month before. This undoubtedly led the US Federal Reserve to issue a hawkish statement today, intensifying their battle against inflation. They announced that they will double the pace at which it’s scaling back purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to $30 billion a month, putting it on track to conclude the program in early 2022, rather than mid-year as initially planned.

Projections published alongside the statement showed officials expect three quarter-point increases in the benchmark federal funds rate will be appropriate next year, according to the median estimate, after holding borrowing costs near zero since March 2020.

According to Bloomberg News, “The faster pullback puts Powell in a position to raise rates earlier than previously anticipated to counter price pressures if necessary, even as the pandemic poses an ongoing challenge to the economic recovery. The Fed flagged concerns over the new omicron strain, saying that risks to the economic outlook remain, including from new variants of the virus.”

On more positive news, Canada’s inflation rate held steady at 4.7% y/y in November, well below the pace in the US. Excluding food and energy products, CPI ticked slightly lower to 3.1% from a year ago in November, or 2.7% on an annualized seasonally adjusted basis relative to the pre-shock February 2020 level. Roughly half of that 2.7% can still be attributed to rising expenses related to home-owning and car purchase or leasing. But the breadth of inflation pressure has also widened, with 58% of the consumer basket seeing faster-than-2% annualized growth in November from pre-pandemic (2019) levels on average over the last three months. That compares to 47% in February 2020. The broadening is expected to carry on in 2022 as rising input, transport and labour expenses continue to flow through supply chains for a wider swath of goods and services. Further disruptions to supply chains and energy markets from Omicron and the BC flood later in November are expected to add to price uncertainties in the near term.

In a speech today, Governor Tiff Macklem of the Bank of Canada assured the public that the Bank of Canada would remain the country’s number-one inflation fighter. Macklem clarified that flexibility in their new mandate won’t apply in situations — like now — when inflation is considerably above target.

At a press conference after the speech, Macklem noted he wasn’t comfortable with current elevated levels of inflation and the “time is getting closer” for policymakers to move away from the forward guidance. Markets are pricing in five interest rate hikes next year by the Bank of Canada.

Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

Residential Market Commentary – BoC sings same song

General Bob Rees 13 Dec

Thank you to our preferred partners at First National for the below insight 🙂


Residential Market Commentary – BoC sings same song

  • Dec 13, 2021
  • First National Financial LP

The Bank of Canada has made its final rate announcement of the year and it ended where it started – holding at 0.25%.

The December announcement stuck pretty much to the same script as the last announcement in October (there is no setting in November):

  • The economy continues to recover
  • The labour market is gaining strength
  • Consumer inflation is high but is expected to moderate in the 2nd half of next year
  • The Bank continues to watch inflation carefully
  • Rates will stay low until the “slack” comes out of the economy and the Bank’s 2% inflation target can be “sustainably achieved”

Market watchers tend to be characterizing the latest announcement as a wait-and-see approach.  The Bank also repeated, it did not expect to move on interest rates until the “middle quarters” of 2022.  Current thinking is, that means April rather than June.  There is no setting in May.

Speculation about a January increase, triggered by last month’s strong jobs report, seems to have been silenced.

One factor to keep an eye on is U.S. inflation.  It hit a 40-year high of 6.8% last month, sparking calls for the U.S. Federal Reserve to intervene.  If the Fed were to respond with a rate hike to tamp down inflation it could open the door to a similar move by the BoC.  But good economic growth on both sides of the border and the uncertainty brought by the omicron variant of COVID make early rate increases seem unlikely.


Bank of Canada maintains policy rate and forward guidance

General Bob Rees 9 Dec

Hot off the press!  The Bank of Canada met today and below is a link to their decision.  In summary, Prime Rate was unchanged and their next meeting will happen in the short term on January 26, 2022.  If you have a variable mortgage or line of credit, this is great news (no change) as your rate remains unchanged.   I am here if any questions arise and enjoy your day!


Bank of Canada maintains policy rate and forward guidance

The Bank of Canada today held its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of ¼ percent, with the Bank Rate at ½ percent and the deposit rate at ¼ percent. The Bank’s extraordinary forward guidance on the path for the overnight rate is being maintained. The Bank is continuing its reinvestment phase, keeping its overall holdings of Government of Canada bonds roughly constant.

The global economy continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic growth in the United States has accelerated, led by consumption, while growth in some other regions is moderating after a strong third quarter. Inflation has increased further in many countries, reflecting strong demand for goods amid ongoing supply disruptions. The new Omicron COVID-19 variant has prompted a tightening of travel restrictions in many countries and a decline in oil prices, and has injected renewed uncertainty. Accommodative financial conditions are still supporting economic activity.

Canada’s economy grew by about 5½ percent in the third quarter, as expected. Together with a downward revision to the second quarter, this brings the level of GDP to about 1½ percent below its level in the last quarter of 2019, before the pandemic began. Third-quarter growth was led by a rebound in consumption, particularly services, as restrictions were further eased and higher vaccination rates improved confidence. Persistent supply bottlenecks continued to inhibit growth in other components of GDP, including non-commodity exports and business investment.

Recent economic indicators suggest the economy had considerable momentum into the fourth quarter. This includes broad-based job gains in recent months that have brought the employment rate essentially back to its pre-pandemic level.  Job vacancies remain elevated and wage growth has also picked up. Housing activity had been moderating, but appears to be regaining strength, notably in resales. The devastating floods in British Columbia and uncertainties arising from the Omicron variant could weigh on growth by compounding supply chain disruptions and reducing demand for some services.

CPI inflation is elevated and the impact of global supply constraints is feeding through to a broader range of goods prices. The effects of these constraints on prices will likely take some time to work their way through, given existing supply backlogs. Gasoline prices, which had been a major factor pushing up CPI inflation, have recently declined. Meanwhile, core measures of inflation are little changed since September. The Bank continues to expect CPI inflation to remain elevated in the first half of 2022 and ease back towards 2 percent in the second half of the year. The Bank is closely watching inflation expectations and labour costs to ensure that the forces pushing up prices do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.

The Governing Council judges that in view of ongoing excess capacity, the economy continues to require considerable monetary policy support. We remain committed to holding the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2 percent inflation target is sustainably achieved. In the Bank’s October projection, this happens sometime in the middle quarters of 2022. We will provide the appropriate degree of monetary policy stimulus to support the recovery and achieve the inflation target.

Information note

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is January 26, 2022. The Bank will publish its full outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, in the Monetary Policy Report at the same time.

Content Type(s)PressPress releases