Local Economic Factors
Key economic factors in Metro Vancouver continued to be positive in Q1-2014. Metro Vancouver’s unemployment rate continues to move lower. According to the most recent Statistics Canada update, the local unemployment rate dropped from 6.3% to 5.9%. Anecdotally, it has been reported that the Gen Y demographic is becoming more active in the real estate market compared to previous years/quarters. An example of this is the Fraser Valley, where new townhome sales totals in Q1-2014 were the highest recorded in 5 years. Overall sales in this market were positively impacted by the first-time Gen Y buyer.
Global Economic Factors
It is likely too early to tell if the Government of Canada’s decision in February to end the currentinvestor immigration program will have any significant impact on Metro Vancouver’s housing market. Research conducted by local immigration experts indicates that the cancellation will not have as negative of an impact as many initially assumed.
Arguably the most impactful global event in Q1-2014 has been the civic and political situation in Ukraine. This event and the ‘Polar Vortex’ have been cited by economists as the primary causes for the recent spike in gasoline prices. As a result, walkable locations that provide convenient transit options continue to become more desirable for people attempting to wean themselves off of frequent car use.
Higher oil and gas prices have had a positive impact on Canada’s largest stock index, the TSX. Since January 2014, the overall TSX index has increased by 8%. As of April 2014, the index has moved up above 14,600 and is nearing the all-time high of 15,000 achieved in May 2008.
We hope that you enjoy this edition of the report and find it to be informative, helpful and convenient. As always, we welcome any feedback or comments on the publication.
Urban Analytics Inc.
Michael Ferreira, Jon Bennest