Canada and the U.S. have announced a tentative new trilateral trade deal with Mexico that includes some key concessions on issues of import to both countries — and also a reworked name: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"​USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region," Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a joint statement released late Sunday.

"It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home," the statement said. "We look forward to further deepening our close economic ties when this new agreement enters into force."

After 14 months of intensive and often fractious negotiations between the two countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a late-night meeting of cabinet to brief ministers because a deal had been reached only hours before a U.S.-imposed midnight deadline.

'A good day for Canada'

Leaving the meeting about an hour and 15 minutes after it began, Trudeau said only that it was "a good day for Canada" and that he'd have more to say to reporters on Monday.

In a background briefing with reporters, a senior Trump administration official heralded the USMCA as a win for all three countries.

"This is a big win for the U.S., Mexico and for Canada and it fulfils one of the president's most important campaign promises," a senior Trump administration official said. "We think this is a fantastic agreement. It's a great win for the president and a validation of his strategy in the area of international trade."

At the heart of the deal is a trade-off between greater U.S. access to Canada's dairy market, which is heavily protected by a system of supply management, and Canadian demands for the maintenance of a dispute resolution process.

The two sides have agreed to keep Chapter 19, NAFTA's dispute resolution mechanism, intact. That's a major victory for Canadian negotiators who have long sought to keep some sort of process to challenge anti-dumping and countervailing-duty cases — which Canada has deployed in the past over the softwood lumber file.

Chapter 19 preserved word for word

Chapter 19 will be preserved word for word, though it will be renumbered in the new agreement, U.S. officials said Sunday.

Lighthizer has steadfastly opposed this chapter, as he believes it's a violation of U.S. sovereignty to have a multinational panel of arbiters decide on the acceptability of U.S. tariffs.

A Trump administration official deflected Sunday when asked if preserving Chapter 19 was a win for Canada. "From our perspective we think there's really, really great things in this agreement. We're excited about those parts of it," the official said.

(Chapter 11, however, will be phased out between the U.S. and Canada, Trump officials said. This chapter, which outlines the investor-state dispute settlement, allowed corporations to sue governments at special tribunals for interfering in their business.)

​In exchange for some U.S. concessions on a dispute mechanism, Canada is expected to give U.S. farmers greater access to Canada's dairy market by increasing the quota on foreign imports.

Under the current supply management system, Canada imposes tariffs on dairy imports — which can run as high as 300 per cent — that exceed the established quota. Trump has railed against these tariffs as unfair to American farmers, as they are designed to keep foreign products out while privileging Canadian sources.

Dairy concessions could be politically challenging

Some of what Canada has agreed to could be politically challenging for the Liberal government, especially in Quebec, where dairy farmers hold electoral sway in certain ridings.

Under the new NAFTA, the U.S. will have roughly the same access to the Canadian dairy market as what was given up by Trudeau when he signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal with 10 Asia-Pacific countries earlier this year.

Under that agreement, those 10 countries will have market access that equals 3.25 per cent of Canada's annual milk production. The exact percentage extended to U.S. dairy exporters was not immediately clear — but it will be marginally higher than that 3.25 per cent now open to Asian countries.

"We've achieved levels of market access, from the perspective of the U.S., that are a better deal than what the prior administration negotiated in TPP," a Trump administration official said of what former U.S. president Barack Obama squeezed out of the Canadians on the dairy front.

Trump officials say dairy changes major breakthrough

But, perhaps most importantly for dairy producers, Canada has agreed to end what's called class 7 pricing, a milk class created in March 2017 that slashed prices on some Canadian-produced milk ingredients — like protein concentrates, skim milk and whole milk powder — used to make cheese and yogurt. The co-ordinated price cut made the American equivalents uncompetitive.

Trump administration officials pounced on this change Sunday, touting it as a major breakthrough for American farmers, especially in Wisconsin and New York, where dairy farmers are eager to offload some of their product on Canada as they grapple with severe oversupply.

"On the dairy issue, we have a great result for our dairy farmers ... and this was one of the president's key objectives," the Trump administration official said. "Canada has agreed to eliminate the class 7 milk pricing system, which is something that was very problematic."

At the outset of the NAFTA talks, the U.S. demanded Canada dismantle supply management entirely — something that Trudeau has always maintained was a non-starter. Its preservation, save for a few tweaks, will be pitched as a success story by the governing Liberals.

Steel and aluminum imports still an open question

Canada is also expected to sign on to this new NAFTA without any reassurances that the U.S. will lift its so-called "section 232" tariffs on steel and aluminum imports — a coup for the economic nationalists that surround Trump who believe that protectionist measures like these punitive tariffs can help salvage the declining U.S. steel industry.

"There isn't any agreement on that at this point," a Trump administration official said. "There's been talk about potential discussions there, but that's on a completely separate track."

Canadian sources told CBC News they hope to resolve the 232 issue before ratifying NAFTA.

Those tariffs were levied on "national security" grounds using presidential authority granted under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which gives the president broad powers to impose tariffs without consulting Congress. Canada responded to Trump's move with counter-tariffs on billions of dollars worth of U.S. goods.

While technically separate from NAFTA talks, the U.S. has used the threat of further 232 tariffs on autos to extract concessions from Canada and Mexico — a frightening proposition for the Canadians.

No hard limit on auto exports

Importantly for Canadian negotiators, Trump has agreed that no hard limit will be placed on Canadian auto exports to the U.S.

That said, should the U.S. move forward with the imposition of worldwide 232 tariffs on autos, they would also apply to Canada.

However, Ottawa has negotiated what is effectively an exemption, as it would still be able to export cars and parts tariff-free up to a certain amount that is well above what Canada sends south of the border.

Sources could not immediately confirm the exact number of cars or parts that would be allowable, but U.S. officials said there has been an "accommodation" reached.

U.S.-Mexico deal came first

Last month, Trump announced his negotiators had reached a bilateral deal with Mexico.

The Canadians have already said they are pleased with what the U.S. had negotiated bilaterally with Mexico on changes to "rules of origin" around autos, championing the changes as good for middle-class workers on both sides of the border.

The revised USMCA deal will require 75 per cent of auto content to be made in North America, up from 62.5 per cent under the current NAFTA.

It would also require 40-45 per cent of auto content made in Mexico to be made by workers earning at least $16 US an hour, placating unions in Canada and the U.S. concerned about high-paying jobs moving to Mexico's low-wage economy.

According to the U.S. Trade Representative, Canada ships more than $56 billion US worth of autos — cars and parts alike — to the U.S. each year. The auto industry employs more than 120,000 people in Canada, with most of those jobs concentrated in southwestern Ontario.

Canada has also secured exemptions for its creative industries.

The existing NAFTA deal includes a cultural exemption clause, which means cultural goods are not treated like other commercial products — and that will continue under the new terms of the agreement. Lighthizer has previously cited Canada's broadcasting content and telecommunication ownership rules as an irritant.

Deal to be sent to Congress

U.S. negotiators have been gunning for a new NAFTA by month's end to get a text of the agreement to Congress for its mandatory 60-day review period. That could allow for a deal to be signed before Dec 1., when Mexico's new, left-leaning president takes office.

Under U.S. law, while Congress can extend fast-track negotiating authority to Trump administration officials — as it has with NAFTA — legislators retain the right to review any proposed trade agreement and decide whether it will be implemented. That relationship is governed by a set of strict, legislated timelines that allow Congress enough time to study a deal before delivering a decision.

A Trump administration official said Trudeau, Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will sign the USMCA at the end of November.

It will then be up to the next Congress — which could be fundamentally reconstituted after November's midterm elections — to ratify the agreement before it comes in to force.

Provided by: John Paul Tasker, Elise von Scheel for CBC News

Photo Credit: © Justin Tang/Canadian Press


The B.C. government is capping rent increases in the province at the rate of inflation, a move that will drastically cut the maximum annual rent hikes that had been allowed under the old formula.

The province dropped the automatic two per cent increase in annual rental costs for renters around the province, starting next year.

The increase will now be limited to the annual rate of inflation, which now stands at 2.5 per cent.

This comes on the heels of recommendations from the Rental Housing Task Force to limit rental increases to the inflation rate alone.

The maximum rent increase that was allowed for next year, under the current formula, was 4.5 per cent.

Landlords will still be able to apply for higher amounts if they prove they are maintaining or upgrading units.

“It’s simply not sustainable for renters, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to see their rent increase by more than inflation each and every year,” said Premier John Horgan in a media release.

“We have to eliminate the risk of such huge increases for renters. Our new approach strikes a balance between giving relief to renters while encouraging people to maintain their rental properties.”

As a result of eliminating the additional 2 per cent increase, the government says people living in a $1,200 per month apartment, which is the average rent in B.C., could save up to $288 in 2019 over what they could have paid under the old formula.

People in an average two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver could have faced paying up to $432 more over the course of the year.

“We recognize supply is key to bringing down rental costs in the long term, but renters have told us they are hurting and need help today,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a release.

“That’s why we are taking careful steps to address the housing crisis and ease the pressure on renters, while also making sure that landlords have the tools they need to continue to invest in their rental properties.”

The opposition BC Liberals have attacked the move, which they say will penalize landlords and make it difficult to maintain aging, affordable rental units.

“Landlords are now being told that when they need to do maintenance and renovations they will have to apply to the government to be able to afford it,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone in a statement.

“The arduous bureaucratic process to approve them will result in landlords having little incentive to renovate ageing housing stock in cities like Vancouver and Victoria.”

However, BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver and Adam Olsen, Rental Housing Task Force (RHTF) member, applauded the government’s move.

“The lack of affordable rentals has wide-ranging impact in every corner of society, from seniors on fixed income, to young people and students, to small businesses struggling to find employees,” said Olsen in a release.

“I believe this policy strikes the right balance of encouraging affordable rents while giving landlords the ability to apply for justified higher increases. I look forward to releasing the rest of our recommendations soon so that we can continue to deliver on our shared promise to address the affordability crisis.”

Provided by: Amy Judd & The Global News


Vancouver councillors have ended two days of public hearings by voting to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods currently restricted to single-family homes.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called ``missing middle,'' which includes young families pushed out of Vancouver by soaring property prices.

A news release from the mayor's office says the policy change means duplexes are now permitted on approximately 67,000 single family lots, offering an option that is more affordable than a detached home.

The 7-4 vote was split along party lines with Robertson, five Vision Vancouver members and councillor Hector Bremner approving the motion, while three Non-Partisan Association councillors and the Green party's Adriane Carr voted against.

The vote also marks one of the last major decisions of Robertson's decade-long tenure as mayor because he is not running in next month's civic election.

Robertson agrees the duplex proposal is not a ``silver bullet'' that will resolve Vancouver's housing problems, but says it responds to the demands of residents.

``Over the past two years of consultation for the new Housing Vancouver strategy, we heard loud and clear that Vancouverites want more housing options in single family neighbourhoods,'' he says in the release.

The change aligns zoning in expensive and increasingly unpopulated neighbourhoods such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar and West Point Grey with regulations in crowded and growing areas such as Kitsilano and Strathcona.

Robertson calls the policy a ``modest, but important change.''

Critics predict single-family homes could now be targeted by speculators, adding to already soaring property prices, while Tom Davidoff, associate professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business, says the measure is good, but not enough.

``It's a start. But when you have land that's worth tens of millions of dollars an acre, to really put a dent in affordability, you want to go to at least townhomes or small apartment buildings,'' he says.

As a way to reduce speculation on land values, the mayor's office says the new policy does not allow for an increase in height or density on a single-family property, but it says other measures to add density are being planned.

``Further work is underway as part of the Making Room program to bring forward options for rowhouses, townhouses, and low-rise apartments- with a priority on rental housing and co-ops in low-density neighbourhoods,'' the release says.

That report could be brought to council by next summer.

Provided by: REP for the The Canadian Press


Canadian home sales activity edges higher in August

Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show a small increase in national home sales between July and August 2018.


  • National home sales rose 0.9% from July to August.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 3.8% from August 2017.
  • The number of newly listed homes was unchanged from July to August.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was up 2.5% year-over-year (y-o-y) in August.
  • The national average sale price edged up 1% y-o-y in August.

National home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems edged up by 0.9% in August 2018, marking a fourth consecutive monthly gain. However, sales activity is still running below levels in most other months going back to early 2014.

Roughly half of all local markets recorded an increase in sales from July to August, led again by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), along with gains in Montreal and Edmonton.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 3.8% y-o-y in August, due mainly to declines in major urban centres in British Columbia.

“The new stress-test on mortgage applicants implemented earlier this year continues to weigh on national home sales,” said CREA President Barb Sukkau. “The degree to which the stress-test continues to sideline home buyers varies depending on location, housing type and price range. All real estate is local, and REALTORS® remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future,” said Sukkau.

“Improving national home sales activity in recent months continues to obscure significant differences in regional trends for home sales and prices,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Moreover, recent monthly sales increases are diminishing, which suggests that the recent rebound may be starting to lose steam.”

The number of newly listed homes was unchanged between July and August, as new supply gains in the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA) and Montreal offset declines in the GTA and Winnipeg.

With sales up slightly and new listings unchanged, the national sales-to-new listings ratio edged up to 56.6% in August compared to 56.2% in July. The long-term average for this measure of market balance is 53.4%.

Considering the degree and duration to which market balance readings are above or below their long-term average is a way of gauging whether local housing market conditions favour buyers or sellers. As a rule of thumb, measures of market balance that are within one standard deviation of their long-term average are generally consistent with balanced market conditions.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about two-thirds of all local markets were in balanced market territory in August 2018.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure for the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of August 2018, right in line with the long-term average for the measure.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up 2.5% y-o-y in August 2018.

Apartment units posted the largest y-o-y price gains in August (+9.5%), followed by townhouse/row units (+4.3%). Meanwhile, one-storey and two-storey single family home prices were little changed on a y-o-y basis in August (+0.4% and -0.4% respectively).

As of this release, housing market coverage for MLS® HPI now includes Hamilton-Burlington and the Niagara Region.

Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Home price gains are diminishing on a y-o-y basis in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (GVA: +4.1%; Fraser Valley: +10.7%). Prices in Victoria were up 8.5% y-o-y in August. Elsewhere on Vancouver Island, prices climbed 13.6%.

Among the Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, home prices were up from year-ago levels in Hamilton-Burlington (+7.2%), the Niagara Region (+6.6%), Guelph (+5.5%), the GTA (+1.4%) and Oakville-Milton (+1.2%). By contrast, home prices remained down on a y-o-y basis in Barrie and District (-2.7%).

In the Prairies, benchmark home prices remained down on a y-o-y basis in Calgary (-2.2%), Edmonton (-2.1%), Regina (-4.8%) and Saskatoon (-2.3%).

Meanwhile, home prices rose by 7.1% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by an 8.2% increase in two-storey single family home prices), by 5.9% in Greater Montreal (led by a 6.3% increase in two-storey single family home prices) and by 4.8% in Greater Moncton (led by a 7.5% increase in two-storey single family home prices). (Table 1)

The MLS® HPI provides the best way of gauging price trends because average price trends are strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in August 2018 was just over $475,500, up 1% from the same month last year.

The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in the GVA and GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts almost $94,000 from the national average price, trimming it to just under $382,000.

Provided by: CREA


Mortgage Rate Outlook
The Canadian mortgage market is undergoing significant tightening with the availability of credit falling and interest rates rising. The mortgage stress test introduced in January negatively impacted home sales nationwide as prospective homebuyers with more than 20 per cent down payments were denied access to loans they would have qualified for under the old regulatory regime. As a result, mortgage credit growth in Canada has slowed dramatically. On the pricing side, monetary policy continues to be the primary driver of higher mortgage rates in 2018 as the Bank of Canada embarks on its first tightening cycle since 2004. Although the 5-year qualifying rate was fairly steady over the third quarter, as the Bank continues to tighten, mortgage rates will almost certainly follow. 

When the Bank of Canada adjusts its overnight rate, it influences borrowing rates throughout the economy. However, monetary policy is just one factor affecting 5-year borrowing rates and so, unlike variable rates, not only do fixed rates not correspond one-for-one with the overnight rate, they can sometimes differ in direction as well. Looking at past tightening cycles reveals that the behaviour of mortgage rates can sometimes be very different than what the central bank is targeting. For example, in the late 1990s, markets were anticipating a weakening economy, causing 5-year bond yields to stay flat and mortgage rates to decline despite the Bank raising rates by 275 basis points. Conversely, from 2004 to 2007, tightening by the Bank of Canada had a more conventional impact on long-term borrowing rates. In fact, mortgage rates rose by considerably more than its benchmark, the 5-year bond yield, due to heightened credit risk in the period leading up to the 2007 financial crisis. Since the Bank embarked on its most recent tightening cycle in 2017, rates across the economy have risen almost in unison, which suggests that financial markets and policymakers share similar views on the Canadian economic outlook. As the Bank of Canada continues to tighten rates over the next two years, both the 5-year fixed qualifying rate and the 5-year discounted rate are forecast to reach 5.85 per cent and 3.95 per cent
respectively in 2019. 

Canadian Interest Rates and Monetary Tightening Cycles

Economic Outlook
The Canadian economy grew 2.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 and has grown at an average rate of2.6 per cent over the past 8 quarters, well above the estimated long-run potential growth of 1.7 per cent. Looking ahead, the question remains how much longer above-trend growth can be sustained. The national unemployment rate appears to have reached bottom and core inflation is running at 2 per cent, consistent with an economy at full-employment. Rising interest rates, the mortgage stress test and tumultuous NAFTA negotiations all present challenges to further growth. We are forecasting that economic growth will slow from the 3 per cent rate posted in 2017, averaging about 2.3 per cent over the next two years.

Interest Rate Outlook
The Bank of Canada is determined to finally “normalize”monetary policy after nearly a decade of low interestrates with the goal of returning the overnight rate to its estimated equilibrium or “neutral” level of between 3 and 3.5 per cent. Policymakers at the Bank have even discussed dropping their gradual approach, replacing the standard 25 basis point increment rate increases with more accelerated interest rate increases.

The case for tighter policy is theoretically sound. Total CPI Inflation is near the top end of the Bank’s 1 to 3 per cent range and the economy is expanding at a rate above what the Bank estimates is consistent with its mandated 2 per cent inflation target. However, if the Canadian economy is close to the end of the current business cycle, it may not be possible, or even wise, for rates to rise a further 150 basis points from their current level. Further complicating matters, the US Federal Reserve is tightening as well, which the Bankmay need to keep pace with to prevent the Canadian dollar from declining and adding further fuel to rising inflationpressures. We expect the Bank will raise its overnight rate to 1.75 per cent in October, with an outside chance of further rate hike in December, and to continue to tighten monetary policy in 2019.

US and Canadian Monetary Policy in Sync

Provided by: BCREA

“Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.”


August Home Sales Suggest Impact of Stress Test Fading

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,743 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in August, a 26.4 per cent decrease from the same month last year.

The average MLS® residential price in BC was $669,776, down 1.2 per cent from August 2017.Total sales dollar volume was $4.5 billion, a 27.3 per cent decline from August 2017.The downturn in housing demand induced by the mortgage stress-test is now largely behind us,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.The BC housing market isevolving along the same path blazed by Ontario and Alberta, where the initial shock of the mortgage stress-test is already dissipating, leading to increasing home sales.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 19.9 per cent to $41 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 21.3 per cent to 57,674 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 1.7 per cent to $719,064.

click here for more....

Provided by: BCREA


Canadian Housing Starts Trend Decreases in August

The trend in housing starts was 214,598 units in August 2018, compared to 219,656 units in July 2018, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporaton (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

"The natonal trend in housing starts contnued to decline in August from the historical peak that was recorded in March 2018," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "This moderaton brings total starts closer to historical averages, largely refectng recent declines in the trend of mult-unit starts from historically elevated levels earlier in the year."

Monthly Highlights

Housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) trended higher in August 2018 as more multfamily projects got underway across the region. The cites of Vancouver and Burnaby led the way and accounted for over half of starts during the month due to a number of new condominium apartment projects. Demand for housing from residents remains strong and has resulted in the pace of new home constructon so far in 2018 moving ahead of the level recorded during the frst eight months of 2017.

Despite a very strong August for housing starts in the Kelowna CMA, the frst 8 months of 2018 have seen a decrease of 29% in the single-detached segment and 28% in the mult-unit segment, relatve to the record year of housing constructon seen in 2017. Despite this decrease in constructon actvity, the pace of housing starts in 2018 remains well above the 10-year average.

The trend measure for housing actvity in the Edmonton CMA moved upward signifcantly in August, driven by an increase in new constructon of mult-unit dwellings. Despite the rebound in constructon actvity in August, housing starts in the frst 8 months of the year remain approximately 7% below the pace of actvity of the same period in 2017, as builders deal with elevated inventories of completed and unsold units.

Total housing starts trended higher for the second consecutve month. Total housing starts increased by almost a third in August 2018 compared to a year earlier as condominium and rental apartment constructon both increased. Declining inventories have supported new constructon.

Total housing starts trended lower mainly due to fewer condominium apartment and single-detached home starts.Rising prices and land constraints have pulled back sales of pre-constructon single-detached units over the pastseveral years resultng in fewer single-detached starts so far in 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017. However, strong pre-constructon sales of condominium apartments over the past couple of years have led to a higher level of condominium starts on a year-to-date basis, despite the pull-back in August.

Total housing starts trended higher in the Oshawa CMA, due to higher trending mult-family dwelling starts,
partcularly row units. August recorded the most actual row unit starts for the month in almost three decades. While demographic and economic conditons remain favourable, higher house prices in Toronto and surrounding areas contnue to increase the popularity of relatvely more afordable higher density housing in Oshawa.

Housing constructon in Windsor contnues to rebound from a slow frst half in 018. The trend in new housing
constructon grew for the third month in a row, with greater mult-unit constructon driving the increase. Year-todate housing starts were down by 27% compared to the same period last year, as the extraordinary levels of actvity seen in 2017 eased and moved closer to levels consistent with economic fundamentals.

The August trend in Kingston CMA total housing starts declined slightly for the frst tme in the past fve months. Yet, it remained close to the high level seen during the last year. This strength comes of the heels of a strong year for housing starts in 2017 and thus far robust starts in 2018. Demand likely has been supported by the relatve afordability of all dwelling types compared to other Ontario CMAs.


In August 2018, year-to-date housing starts in the Saguenay CMA were up over the same period last year. However, the trends difered depending on the intended markets. In fact, in the freehold (single- and semi-detached) home segment, an increase in starts was recorded, likely supported by renewed growth in full-tme employment. Conventonal rental housing constructon was down, partcularly because of a relatvely high vacancy rate and a net migraton defcit.

While constructon actvity on the single-detached market remained stable year-over-year, multples starts this
month have more than doubled the levels recorded last August. Year-to-date, multples constructon has outpaced the same period in 2017 by 7%, with rental market demand contnuing to be impacted by growth in internatonaland interprovincial migraton into the Halifax CMA.

New Brunswick
The trend in total housing starts in New Brunswick was up in August. Constructon of mult-unit buildings has led the way so far in 2018 increasing by 13% year-to-date. Single housing starts were the highest for the month of August since 2015 and have increased 9% year-to-date.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estmates and obtain a more complete picture of Canada’s housing market. In some situatons analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the mult-unit segment of the market which can vary signifcantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 200,986 units in August, down from 205,751 units in July. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.5% in August to 184,925 units. Multple urban starts decreased by 2.4% to 132,700 units in August while single-detached urban starts decreased by 2.6% to 52,225 units.

Rural starts were estmated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,061 units.

Preliminary Housing Starts data are also available in English and French through our website and through CMHC’s Housing Market Informaton Portal . Our analysts are also available to provide further insight into their respectve markets.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and fnancial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and ofers objectve housing research and informaton to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

Click here for more....

Provided by: CMHC


Bank of Canada makes interest rate announcement

The Bank of Canada's decision to leave its interest rate unchanged Wednesday could be just a brief pause that comes as it carefully follows the unpredictable twists in the country's trade talks with the United States.

The central bank kept its benchmark at 1.5 per cent, but many experts predict another increase could arrive as early as next month.

In a statement Wednesday, the Bank of Canada said more hikes should be expected thanks to encouraging numbers for business investment, exports and evidence that households are adjusting to pricier borrowing costs.

The bank, however, also made a point of saying it's closely watching the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade policy developments, which could have negative impacts on the Canadian economy. It's particularly concerned with the potential implications for inflation.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he had reached a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico that would replace the three-country NAFTA. He put pressure on Canada to join the U.S.-Mexico deal, but after fresh talks restarted last week Ottawa and Washington have so far been unable to reach an agreement.

Trump notified Congress last Friday of his intention to sign a trade agreement in 90 days with Mexico _ and Canada, if Ottawa decides to join them. If a deal can't be reached, the president has also repeatedly threatened to impose punishing tariffs on Canadian auto imports.

Frances Donald, senior economist for Manulife Asset Management, said the Bank of Canada's explicit mention of NAFTA in Wednesday's statement suggests the negotiations have become even more important around the governing council's table.

``They're sending a message that everything looks as planned... What that says to me is that an October rate hike is still certainly in play,'' Donald said about the

However, she said the NAFTA reference gives the Bank of Canada options to possibly stay on hold next month, particularly if trade talks _ and the outlooks for the economy and inflation _ deteriorate.

Governor Stephen Poloz, she added, has been ``fairly agnostic'' on the outlook for NAFTA. She said he's pointed to potential negatives as well as positives, while the stressing everything is hypothetical until something is decided.

Benjamin Reitzes of BMO Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients that Wednesday's statement makes it clear the NAFTA talks are biggest issue for markets and the Bank of Canada at the moment.

``There's big time risk here, but most are still expecting a deal to get done,'' Reitzes wrote as he referenced the apparent month-end deadline for NAFTA negotiations.

``Assuming all goes well with NAFTA (perhaps a big assumption) and the data over the next seven weeks, an October rate hike still looks like a reasonable expectation.''

Poloz has raised the rate four times since mid-2017 and his most-recent quarter-point increase came in July. The next rate announcement is scheduled for Oct. 24.

The Bank of Canada said Wednesday that the economy has seen improvements in business investment and exports despite persistent uncertainty about NAFTA and other trade policy developments.

``Recent data reinforce governing council's assessment that higher interest rates will be warranted to achieve the inflation target,'' the bank said as it explained the factors around its rate decision.

``We will continue to take a gradual approach, guided by incoming data. In particular, the bank continues to gauge the economy's reaction to higher interest rates.''

The statement also pointed to other encouraging signs in Canada, including evidence the real estate market has begun to stabilize as households adjust to higher interest rates and new housing policies. Credit growth has moderated, the household debt-to-income ratio has started to move down and improvements in the job market and wages have helped support consumption, it said.

The bank can raise its overnight rate as a way to keep inflation from running too hot. Its target range for inflation is between one and three per cent.

Heading into Wednesday's rate decision, analysts widely expected Poloz to hold off on moving the rate _ at least for now.

Last month, Poloz stressed the need to take a gradual approach to rate increases in times of uncertainty. He made the remarks during a panel appearance at the annual meeting of central bankers, academics and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Provided by: Andy Blatchford for The Canadian Press


Home buyer demand stays below historical averages in August

The Metro Vancouver* housing market continues to experience reduced demand across all housing types.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,929 in August 2018, a 36.6 per cent decrease from the 3,043 sales recorded in August 2017, and a 6.8 per cent decline compared to July 2018 when 2,070 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 25.2 per cent below the 10-year August sales average.

“Home buyers have been less active in recent months and we’re beginning to see prices edge down for all housing types as a result,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “Buyers today have more listings to choose from and face less competition than we’ve seen in our market in recent years.”

There were 3,881 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2018. This represents an 8.6 per cent decrease compared to the 4,245 homes listed in August 2017 and an 18.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 when 4,770 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,824, a 34.3 per cent increase compared to August 2017 (8,807) and a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 (12,137).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2018 is 16.3 per cent. By housing type, the ratio is 9.2 per cent for detached homes, 19.4 per cent for townhomes, and 26.6 per cent for apartments. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“With fewer buyers active in the market, benchmark prices across all three housing categories have declined for two consecutive months across the region,” Moore said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,083,400. This represents a 4.1 per cent increase over August 2017 and a 1.9 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Sales of detached properties in August 2018 reached 567, a 37.1 per cent decrease from the 901 detached sales recorded in August 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,561,000. This represents a 3.1 per cent decrease from August 2017 and a 2.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,025 in August 2018, 36.5 per cent decrease compared to the 1,613 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $695,500. This represents a 10.3 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 1.6 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Attached property sales in August 2018 totalled 337, a 36.3 per cent decrease compared to the 529 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $846,100. This represents a 7.9 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 0.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.

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Provided by: REBGV

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