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Provincial Outlooks: Ontario on the path to a bright year while Alberta will post a decline in GDP
Although oil prices seem to have stabilized, Albertas economy will post an overall decline in real gross domestic product (GDP) this year, according to The Conference Board of CanadasProvincial Outlook: Spring 2015.
Albertas economic performance will be underwhelming this year and next, especially compared with recent years, said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. Oil prices remain well below break-even levels for most new projects in the oil patch, and conditions are not expected to turn around until sometime next year.
Reminiscent of last year, the Ontario economy got off to a slow start this year. The weakness, however, will be temporary, as economic growth should pick up in the coming quarters. Overall, real gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to expand by 2.6per cent in 2015 and 2.3per cent in 2016.
Ontario has not performed up to expectations, but the outlook over the short term remains positive, as strength in the United States economy will help bolster the province, said Bernard. Along with exports, consumer spending will continue to increase at a good pace in Ontario, fuelled by improving consumer confidence.
Saskatchewans economy will feel the effects of the drop in oil-related activities in 2015. However, the province is not expected to fall into recession this year, as other industries will keep the economy growing.
With the oil sector an important part of the Saskatchewan economy, the province is feeling the impact of lower oil prices. The number of wells drilled was down this past winter, and capital expenditures in the energy sector are not expected to recover until 2017, said Bernard. However, strength in potash and metal mining, as well as a rebound in the agriculture sector, will temper the impact of lower crude oil prices on Saskatchewans economy.
Manitobas economic performance will be one of the strongest among the provinces in 2015 and 2016.
Manitoba is expected to post real GDP growth of 2.8 per cent in 2015 and again in 2016, when it will lead all provinces.
As a wind of change blows through the country thanks to the slide in oil prices, Manitoba will be one of the countrys strongest economic performers until at least 2016, said Bernard. Strong growth in construction, a rebound in agriculture, and stable domestic demand are expected to lift labour markets and increase disposable household income for Manitobans.
Housing markets will remain stable says CMHC
According to CMHCs second quarter 2015Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition1, housing markets will remain stable with housing starts moderating slightly in 2015and 2016. There are, however, a number of risks and vulnerabilities that can affect the market outlook for Canada and each province. To account for these risks and vulnerabilities, CMHC produces forecast ranges for resale and new home markets.
Lower oil prices are contributing to disparities between provincial housing markets. A slowdown in housing starts and resale transactions in oil-producing provinces such as Alberta will be partly offset by increased housing market activity in other provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, which benefit from the positive impacts of declining energy prices, a lower Canadian dollar and continued low mortgage rates, said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC.
Moreover, since the inventory of completed and unabsorbed units remains above the historical average, we expect the pace of new home construction to moderate over the next couple of years as builders focus on managing the existing inventory, added Mr. Dugan.
On an annual basis, housing starts are expected to range between 166,540 and 188,580 units in 2015, with a point forecast of 181,618 units. For 2016, housing starts are forecast to range from 162,840 units to 190,830 units, with a point forecast of 181,800 units.
MLS2sales are expected to range between 437,100 and 494,500 units in 2015, with a point forecast of 475,400 units. In 2016, MLSsales are forecast to range from 424,500 units to 491,300 units, with a point forecast of 469,000 units.
The average MLSprice is forecast to be between $402,139 and $439,589 in 2015, with a point forecast of $422,129. For 2016, the average MLSprice is forecast to be between $398,191 and $457,200, with a point forecast of $428,325. The gradual slowdown in the rate of price growth is explained by the expected change in the composition of MLSsales toward more moderately priced homes. Due to the recent decline in oil prices, our assessment is that there is more downside risk than upside risk to our forecast.
CMHC Housing Market Outlook and other market analysis reports are available for download athttp://www.cmhc.ca/housingmarketinformation.