Cana­dian GDP pre­dicted to en­joy rise

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

THE Cana­dian Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion re­cently hosted its Man­i­toba Hous­ing Out­look Con­fer­ence in Win­nipeg. Hun­dreds of hous­ing pro­fes­sion­als at­tended the largest such pre­sen­ta­tion in re­cent mem­ory, fo­cus­ing on the na­tional, pro­vin­cial and lo­cal scenes with explanations re­gard­ing our past, present and fu­ture hous­ing trends.

Chief econ­o­mist Bob Du­gan, in a pre­sen­ta­tion en­ti­tled Hous­ing Mar­ket Con­di­tions and Out­look, called for a steady in­crease in Cana­dian GDP to 2.5 per cent in 2010 and 3.2 per cent in 2011, with un­em­ploy­ment at just over eight per cent.

Al­though some con­cern was ex­pressed over a po­ten­tial one per cent in­crease in mort­gage rates for this year, it was noted that we have been en­joy­ing the low­est rates in more than 50 years. Pre­vi­ous eco­nomic down­turns had demon­strated a rise in mortgages in ar­rears. Not so, this time, as they re­main be­low .5 per cent as they have for more than a dozen years.

One sur­pris­ing yet com­fort­ing statis­tic that Mr. Du­gan put for­ward was the amount of eq­uity that the av­er­age Cana­dian has in their house. His es­ti­mate was that nearly four in 10 home­own­ers have 30 per cent or more eq­uity in their homes, con­sid­er­ably higher than our Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts.

An­other CMHC pre­sen­ter was Lai Sing Louie, a re­gional econ­o­mist who pre­sented in­for­ma­tion on the Man­i­toba eco­nomic scene. It was ac­knowl­edged that our prov­ince’s GDP fell al­most one per cent in 2009, but the fore­cast is for pos­i­tive growth of be­tween two and three per cent in each of 2010 and 2011.

The re­cent mo­men­tum in Man­i­toba’s re­tail sales mar­ket shows con­fi­dence in the econ­omy and is a good in­di­ca­tor for larger pur­chases. A 3.1 per cent in­crease in Man­i­toba av­er­age weekly wages in 2009 sup­ports the the­ory of in­creased spending.

In ad­di­tion, Man­i­toba’s un­em­ploy­ment rate is pro­jected to re­main be­low the na­tional av­er­age. Our net mi­gra­tion num­bers are among the best in coun­try and show no signs of slow­ing down. An­other pos­i­tive as­pect is that our in­ter­provin­cial mi­gra­tion is net­ting out near zero.

This is likely due to the fact that those prov­inces which his­tor­i­cally have at­tracted Man­i­to­bans (B.C., Al­berta) were hit much harder by the re­cent re­ces­sion and the job and liv­ing out­look was far bet­ter in Man­i­toba.

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