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Canadian home sales rise again in May 2019
Home sales recorded via Canadian MLS Systems rose by 1.9% in May 2019. Together with monthly gains in March and April, activity in May reached the highest level since January 2018. While sales stood 8.9% above the six-year low reached in February 2019, this latest increase has only just returned levels to their historical average. While May sales were only up in half of all local markets, that list included almost all large markets, led by gains in both the Greater Vancouver (GVA) and Greater Toronto (GTA) areas. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 6.7% compared to May 2018, marking the largest y-o-y gain recorded since the summer of 2016. The increase returned sales in line with the 10-year average for the month of May. While about two-thirds of local markets posted y-o-y gains for the month, the national increase was dominated by improving sales trends in the GTA, which accounted for close to half of the overall increase. Home price trends and market balance continues to differ significantly among Canadian housing markets, said Jason Stephen, CREAs President. All real estate is local. No matter where you are, a professional REALTOR is your best source for information and guidance in negotiations to purchase or sell a home during these changing times, said Stephen. The mortgage stress-test continues to present challenges for home buyers in housing markets where they have plenty of homes to choose from but are forced by the test to save up a bigger down payment, said Gregory Klump, CREAs Chief Economist. Hopefully the stress-test can be fine tuned to enable home buyers to qualify for mortgage financing sooner without causing prices to shoot up.
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1 ¾ per cent
The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent. Recent Canadian economic data are in line with the projections in the Banks April Monetary Policy Report (MPR), with accumulating evidence that the slowdown in late 2018 and early 2019 is being followed by a pickup starting in the second quarter. The oil sector is beginning to recover as production increases and prices remain above recent lows. Meanwhile, housing market indicators point to a more stable national market, albeit with continued weakness in some regions. Continued strong job growth suggests that businesses see the weakness in the past two quarters as temporary. Recent data support a pickup in both consumer spending and exports in the second quarter, and it appears that overall growth in business investment has firmed. That said, inventories rose sharply in the first quarter, which may dampen production growth in coming months. The global economy is also evolving largely as expected since April, although the recent escalation of trade conflicts is heightening uncertainty about economic prospects. In addition, trade restrictions introduced by China are having direct effects on Canadian exports. In contrast, the removal of steel and aluminum tariffs and increasing prospects for the ratification of CUSMA will have positive implications for Canadian exports and investment. Inflation has evolved in line with the Banks April projection. The Bank expects CPI inflation to remain around the 2 per cent target in the coming months. Core inflation measures all remain close to 2 per cent. Overall, recent data have reinforced Governing Councils view that the slowdown in late 2018 and early 2019 was temporary, although global trade risks have increased. In this context, the degree of accommodation being provided by the current policy interest rate remains appropriate. In taking future policy decisions, Governing Council will remain data dependent and especially attentive to developments in household spending, oil markets and the global trade environment.