MARKET UPDATE – July 15, 2017

Thu, 27 Jul by Dale Russell



The Bank of Canada announced on July 12th, 2017 that it was raising its trend-setting overnight lending rate from 0.5% to 0.75%. The increase partially unwinds the half-percentage point by which the Bank dropped interest rates in early 2015 following the sudden drop in oil prices in late 2014.

When announcing that it was raising rates for the first time in seven years, the Bank recognized that Canadian economic growth has recently been coming in stronger than it had previously predicted and broadly based.

The Bank suggested future rate hikes will depend on whether economic growth continues to broaden and become more sustainable, whether soft readings on inflation prove to be temporary, and whether exports and business investment improve.

Even under these conditions, the Bank said it remains wary about risks to the Canadian economic outlook posed by protectionist U.S. trade policy and high Canadian household indebtedness. That means the Bank will be cautious about further raising interest rates.

As of July 12th, 2017, the Benchmark five-year lending rate used to stress-test mortgage applications stood at 4.64 per cent, which is unchanged from both the previous Bank rate announcement on May 24th and from one year earlier. That said, Canada’s major chartered banks have recently raised advertised five-year fixed mortgage interest rates by one-fifth of a percent to 2.84 percent – which translates into an increase of $50 per month on a $500,000 mortgage loan ($60 of per month on a $600,000 mortgage loan, etc.).

The next interest rate announcement will be on September 6th, 2017. The next release of the Monetary Policy Report, which will update the Bank’s economic forecast, will be on October 25th, 2017.

MARKET UPDATE – June 30, 2017

Tue, 11 Jul by Dale Russell

The Sylvan Lake and area market is one of the few in central Alberta with year to date sales higher than the same time in 2016.  In spite of the increase in sales, the large number of active listings is keeping the market well inside buyer’s territory.

Despite signs that the provincial economy is turning a corner, ATB Financial’s most recent Business Beat survey suggests a full economic recovery will still take time.  Optimism about the economy is up compared to last year but the latest round of surveying shows a slight decline in the number of small- and medium-sized businesses that believe Alberta’s economy will be stronger in six months. ATB’s Economy Index slipped from 58.4 in the first quarter of the year to 54.1 in the second quarter. (A value more than 50 means more business owners are more optimistic than not.)

The latest reading of ATB’s Business Index was 64.6, down by 1.5 points from the first quarter. Despite the moderate dips in the two indices, both economic and business optimism levels are above 50 and show that economic sentiment in the province is far better than last year.

We are of the same opinion when it comes to the housing market – there are signs of improvement but the real recovery may be a while coming.  In the meantime, there’s still tremendous opportunities for buyers.