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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement

Bank of Canada Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is expected to average growth of 2 per cent over the second half of 2018 before slowing to 1.9 per cent next year. The renegotiation of NAFTA is expected to lower uncertainty and boost business investment and exports while households spending and the housing market are stabilizing after the implementation of the B20 mortgage stress test. Inflation is expected to remain close to 2 per cent over the Bank’s two year projection horizon.

The resolution of NAFTA negotiations earlier in the fall paved the way for the Bank of Canada to resume its rate tightening this morning. While inflation data came in slightly soft in September, the Canadian economy is still operating above its long-run trend which should keep inflation near the Bank’s 2 per cent target. The Bank will meet one final time in 2018 at its December meeting, at which we expect policymakers will maintain the target rate at is current level before raising the target rate to 2 per cent in January 2019. As the target rate continues on its path higher, Canadian mortgage rates will continue to rise, ultimately resulting in a 6 per cent qualifying rate by the end of 2019.

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – July 11, 2018

Bank of Canada Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada opted to raise its target for the overnight rate 25 basis points to 1.5 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank cited that the economy is operating close to capacity and as a result inflation is expected to edge higher over their two year forecast horizon. The Bank noted that incoming data suggests housing markets are starting to stabilize after the implementation of the B20 stress test.

With inflation rising to the Bank’s two per cent target and the Canadian economy operating at or near capacity, the Bank of Canada is unlikely to be finished tightening. At its current level, the overnight rate is about 150 basis points below the 3 per cent rate the Bank would ultimately prefer it to be. However, the Bank may take a brief pause to assess the impact of its past tightening as well as the ongoing effects of the B20 stress test on housing markets. It may also be dissuaded from further tightening should there be a further escalation in trade tariffs from the United States. Overall, we expect at least one more round of rate increases from the Bank of Canada in 2018.

Source – BCREA

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Mortgage Policy Changes Hit Affordability Hard

MLS Residential Sales

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,837 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service®MLS Residential Sales (MLS®) across the province in May, a 28.7 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $739,783, down 1.7 per cent from May 2017. Total sales dollar volume was $6.54 billion, a 30 per cent decline from May 2017.

“BC home sales continued to slow in May because of more stringent qualifications for conventional borrowers,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The changes in mortgage policy are taking their toll on housing demand, not only in British Columbia, but across the country by reducing household purchasing power and housing affordability.”

While the decline in consumer demand has lifted the inventory of homes for sale, total active residential listings in the province are still relatively low by historical comparison.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 13.8 per cent to $26.4 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 16.6 per cent to 35,976 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 3.4 per cent to $733,616.

Source – BCREA

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement

Bank of Canada Interest Rates Affecting Vancouver Real Estate

The Bank of Canada opted to maintain its target for the overnight interest rate this morning at 1.25 per cent.  In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that although growth in the Canadian economy slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2017, the economy is expected to operate at capacity going forward. The bank cited recent trade policy developments, mainly the threat of a trade war with the United States, as a significant risk to its outlook for growth and inflation.

The Canadian economy is at or very close to full-employment, meaning there is little room for Canadian firms to expand output without putting undue pressure on inflation. There are signs core inflation is already firming up.

Two of the Bank’s three core inflation measures are closing in on the Bank’s 2 per cent target and all three measures have increased significantly in the past six months. Absent any unforeseen challenges to the Canadian economy, monetary policy will be biased in the direction of higher interest rates.

However, the Bank will likely hold off raising its overnight rate while it assesses the impact of tighter monetary policy over the past year, the impact of newly implemented B-20 guidelines on mortgage qualification rules, and heightened risk to Canadian exports from US trade policy.

Source – BCREA

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – January 17, 2018

Vancouver Real Estate Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada opted to raise the target for its overnight interest rate this morning 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank cited recent strong economic data and rising inflation as motivations for the rate increase. The Bank expects growth in the Canadian economy to slow to 2.2 per cent in 2018 and 1.6 per cent in 2019 with consumption and new home construction contributing less to growth than in years past. With the economy returning to full-capacity, inflation is forecast to remain at 2 per cent over the medium term. The Bank also flagged risk to its outlook from ongoing NAFTA negotiations and noted it would remain cautious in considering future interest rate adjustments.

With the Canadian unemployment rate hitting a 40-year low and inflation ticking higher in recent months, the Canadian economy would seem to be operating at full capacity. That argues for a more hawkish approach to monetary policy in order to bring interest rates closer to what the Bank estimates would be neutral for the economy, that is, a level in which the economy is neither running too hot nor too cold. While today’s rate increase was widely anticipated, it did come earlier in the year than previously expected and likely signals further rate increases to come in 2018. Canadian mortgage rates have already moved higher in anticipation of Bank of Canada tightening, which means a much tighter borrowing environment in 2018, particularly given newly implemented mortgage qualifying rules for low-ratio buyers.

Source – BCREA

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Bank of Canada – Interest Rate Announcement December 2017

Bank of Canada Interest Rates

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – December 6, 2017

The Bank of Canada maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is evolving as expected, with growth slowing in the second half of the year.   On inflation, the Bank expects the continued absorption of economic slack to push core inflation higher in subsequent months.  Importantly, the Bank concluded its statement by noting that rate increases will be required over time, though it will proceed with caution as it assesses the economy’s sensitivity to higher rates.

Although the Bank of Canada has a bias toward raising rates over the next 12 months, it is currently sidelined by low inflation as well as concerns over how higher interest rates will interact with elevated household debt levels.  We anticipate the Bank will remain on hold in early 2018 as it assesses the impact of the forthcoming mortgage stress test, but will look to raise rates one or two times in the second half of next year.

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – October 25, 2017

Bank of Canada Rate - Vancouver

The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation has edged up slightly and is expected to return to its target of 2 per cent in the second half of 2018 while economic growth is forecast to slow in the final six months of this year following a very strong first half.

 

The Bank emphasized that it will be cautious in making future adjustments to its policy rate as it assesses the sensitivity of the economy to higher interest rates.

There are several factors influencing the Bank’s decision to move to the sidelines. Recent economic data points to a slowing of growth from the soaring heights of the first half of 2017. Moreover, inflation remains muted and newly announced tightening of mortgage regulations will have a significant impact on households, particularly in a rising mortgage rate environment.

We expect that the Bank will take a wait and see approach over the next few months as the impact of its previous rate tightening takes hold.

BCREA

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Decision – September 6, 2017

Bank of Canada - Vancouver Real Estate - PLACE Real Estate Team

The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is raising its target for the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that recent economic data have been stronger than expected but growth is forecast to moderate in the second half of the year.  On inflation, the Bank cited some excess capacity and temporary price shocks as factors keeping inflation below its 2 per cent target.Importantly, the Bank mentioned it will be paying particular attention to the evolution of the economy’s potential growth rate (meaning the economy’s estimated long-run growth rate) as well as to labour market conditions and the economy’s sensitivity to higher interest rates.

The Bank has now removed the stimulus it injected into the Canadian economy in 2015 to offset the impact of falling oil prices. With the economy expanding at a 3.5 per cent rate over the past year, that stimulus is clearly no longer required. The Bank seems to be more concerned about the potential for higher future inflation due to an over-heated economy than on the actual very low inflation observed in recent months. That leaves the door open for further rate increases should economic growth remain robust.

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – April 12, 2017

Bank of Canada - Vancouver Real Estate - PLACE Real Estate Team
The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is holding the target for its overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that economic growth has been faster than previously expected, boosted by what the Bank sees as temporary spending from the oil and gas recovery and a boost to consumer spending by the Canada Child Benefit. However, export growth remains challenged and business investment is low. Therefore, the Bank judges that it is too early to conclude that the economy has turned a corner.  In addition, CPI inflation is trending below its 2 per cent target while the Bank’s three new measures of core inflation continue to drift lower.

That downward trending inflation, along with uncertainty in United States policy,  seems to be the main barriers keeping the Bank from raising its benchmark overnight rate. While there is some remaining slack in the economy, as measured by the output gap, the Canadian economy has been growing well above the Bank’s estimate of potential growth (1.5 per cent) for three consecutive quarters including a first quarter 2017  in which available data points to above 4 per cent growth.  In addition to strong GDP numbers, the economy is adding jobs at a rate of 35,000 per month over the past six months, the highest level of job growth since 2010. Should this momentum continue, it is likely we will begin to see a more hawkish Bank of Canada in the second half of the year and a first rate increase in early 2018. 
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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – October 2016

The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is holding its target for the overnight interest rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the profile for growth in Canada over the near-term is lower than it previously expected though the Bank is still projecting stronger growth in the second half of 2016. However, the Bank has pushed out its forecast for the economy to return to full capacity to mid-2018 while inflation is projected to return to its 2 per cent target next year. 

There is downside risk to the economy given the Federal Government’s decision to tighten mortgage credit this month, though it will take some time to see the effects on economic growth. That said, even if growth moderates as a result of the housing policy changes, the Bank of Canada’s public support for that policy likely means interest rates would not be lowered in response. With growth recovering from a second quarter contraction and inflation still tame, We therefore expect the Bank to leave rates unchanged for the foreseeable future.