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April 2020

Found 12 blog entries for April 2020.

Economics Nowcast

BC Monthly Real GDP Estimate for February 2020 & Flash Estimate for March 2020 (Updated: April 30, 2020)

April 22-1  

The BCREA Nowcast estimate of provincial economic growth (expressed as year-over-year growth in real GDP) for February 2020 is 1.4 percent, up from 1.1 percent annual growth in January. We have also included a flash estimate of growth for March 2020 of -4.1 percent reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. That estimate will change as the full March dataset becomes available.

Download the full report (PDF)

For more information, please contact:

Brendon Ogmundson
Chief Economist
Direct: 604.742.2796
Mobile: 604.505.6793

BCREA is the professional association for more than

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Canadian Monthly Real GDP (February) - April 30, 2020

April 22-1  

After three months of growth, Canadian real GDP was essentially flat in February as disruptions to education services and the transportation and warehousing sector stalled the economy.  Excluding those sectors, economic growth was 0.2 percent with 13 of 20 sub-sectors recording increased output. Activity in the real estate sector rose 5.9 percent in February, the largest increase since December 2017.

Statistics Canada has also made a flash estimate for March 2020 real GDP which estimates declined a staggering 9 percent on a monthly basis due to the COVID-19  pandemic and associated mitigation measures. If that estimate is accurate, first-quarter real GDP will contract by close to 10 per

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April 22-1 April 22-2  

Canadian Inflation (Mar) - April 22, 2020

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.9 percent in March year-over-year, down from a 2.2 percent increase in February. This marked the largest decline in the CPI since the measure began in 1992. Energy prices were the main drag on inflation, excluding this category, national CPI rose by 1.7 percent year-over-year. The downward pressure on gas prices began before the spread of COVID-19, but were exacerbated as global demand dropped (e.g., limitation on international travel), while supply continued to increase. The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation fell 0.2 percentage points, averaging 1.8 percent in March. Prices rose in six of the eight

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April 21 2020-1 April 21 2020-2  

Canadian Retail Sales (Feb) - April 21, 2020

Seasonally-adjusted Canadian retail sales were up by 0.3% in February at $52 billion. The rise in February was driven by auto dealers and general merchandise stores. Sales were up in 6 of 11 sub-sectors, representing 63% of retail sales. Some retailers reported that both the rail blockades and COVID-19 negatively impacted their sales in February. In contrast, sales were positive at stores selling sporting goods, hobby, book and music, building material and garden equipment, and health and personal care. 

In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were up by 1.2% at $7.4 billion in February. Looking at the non-seasonally adjusted change shows a different picture. Retail sales in February were

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Market Intelligence Report (April 2020)

The latest BCREA Market Intelligence Report: Is It Different This Time? Recessions and the BC Housing Market examines the impact of past recessions on the BC housing market and provides preliminary projections on how COVID-19 may impact provincial home sales and prices over the next 24 months. Click here to read the full report.

Summary Findings:

  • The 2020 COVID-19 driven recession will be deep, though the duration may be shorter than past recessions.
  • We expect that home sales will post an initial sharp decline as households and the real estate sector adhere to social distancing.
  • As measures implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are gradually lifted, we expect that low-interest rates and
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Pandemic Halts Sales Activity in March

British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,717 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March 2020, an increase of 17.2 percent from March 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $789,548, a 15.1 percent increase from $685,892 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in March was $5.3 billion, a 35 percent increase over 2019.

“Provincial housing markets started the month very strong before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to activity,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “Activity will slow considerably in April as households and the real estate sector implement measures necessary to mitigate the

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Canadian Employment (Mar) - April 9, 2020

Canadian employment plummeted in March, falling by 1.01 million jobs (-5.3%, m/m). The unemployment rate increased 2.2 percentage points from 5.6% to 7.8%, as government measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 led to the closure of non-essential businesses and travel restrictions. 

Job losses were unsurprisingly right across the country, with the largest declines in Ontario (-403k), Quebec (-264k), BC (-132k) and Alberta (-117k). The decline in employment was driven by the private sector (-830k), while the public sector reported a smaller decline of 145k and self-employed were down by 32k. The shock to the Canadian labour market resulting from physical distancing measures hit certain

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Canadian Housing Starts (Mar) - April 8, 2020

Canadian housing starts decreased by 7.3% m/m in March to 195,174 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The decrease was broad-based with starts down in 7 of 10 provinces, signalling early signs of the impact of COVID-19 on construction activity. The trend in national housing starts to fell to a still healthy average of 205,000 units SAAR over the past six months. 

In BC, housing starts fell by 20% m/m to 34,014 units SAAR, following a 44% rise in the previous month. The decrease was entirely driven by multi-units (-25%), while singles increased (1%). Given the rapidly evolving circumstances brought on by COVID-19, Statistics Canada released early estimates of March building permits

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Canadian Monthly Real GDP (January 2020) - March 31, 2020

The Canadian economy grew  0.1 percent on a monthly basis in January as weather and labour disputes offset more positive developments in some sectors.  Before the abrupt change in the world economy due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canadian economy was set to grow a solid 1.8 percent in the first quarter.  We may start to see the impact of COVID-19 starting with February's GDP data though the impact will mostly be observed in April, which is likely to show an unprecedented decline in economic activity.

Once the outbreak is contained, the Canadian economy should post a strong recovery due to pent-up demand, large amounts of fiscal stimulus and historically low-interest rates.


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There were 5% fewer sales in the VREB (Victoria Real Estate Board) area this March compared to the same month last year (for a grand total of 608 sales). While the month started off as a typical spring market, with even higher sales volume compared to last year the inevitable effects of COVID and self-isolation were felt in the latter half of the month bringing the total sales number down. Condo sales specifically were down more with 178 unit sales, 9.2% down from March last year. On the other hand, there were 305 sales of single-family homes, only 5.3% down from March last year.

While many sellers that were already in the process of listing their home scrambled to put together the final materials, many other homeowners decided to wait it out

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