Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How Canadian city economic indicators are performing so far this year

How Canadian city economic indicators are performing so far this year

Job growth so far this year across the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) remains robust. Apart from lacklustre average annual growth reported in Saguenay, Quebec City, Ottawa, Kitchener, Hamilton and Windsor, the remaining CMAs that we track are reporting healthy annual year-to-date gains.

Saint John led the pace in July with 8% annual job growth. However, on a year-to-date basis, the cities in western Canada are putting in the strongest performances. Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon are all tracking gains in 2007 in the 6%-7% range three times the national rate.

Unemployment rates have ticked up a few notches after reaching record lows in many cities in the latter part of 2006. The uptick in unemployment rates is most prominent in Ontario. Toronto saw its unemployment rate reach 7.5% in July, which marks its highest rate in more than two years.

Quebec has seen its labour markets tighten significantly in the last six months. The renewed strength in job markets saw Montreal's unemployment rate drop from 7.8% in March to 6.5% in July. Quebec City's unemployment rate dropped from 6.5% in February to 4.1% in July.

Non-residential construction strength supports city economic growth

Non-residential building permits grew in June in two-thirds of the CMAs we track. The strongest growth rates were reported in Regina (up 343%), Trois-Rivières (up 224%) and Quebec (136%). The sharpest declines were reported in Thunder Bay (down 82%), Abbotsford (down 70%) and Ottawa (down 57%).

Investment in non-residential construction continued to rise in the second quarter of 2007 with heavy spending on office buildings in Alberta and Ontario supporting the gains. While Calgary led the investment gains in the commercial and institutional sectors, it was Toronto and Montreal that reported the largest dollar-value investment gain in the industrial sector.

Another strong month for city housing markets

Residential markets had another strong showing in June with strong resale activity and continued annual price gains holding in the 10% range. Thunder Bay and St. Catharines were the only two CMAs to put in a year-over-year drop in average house price gains in July. The remaining CMAs all reported healthy annual gains.

Residential permits increased at a 63% pace in the second quarter and the numbers point to continued firm activity in the third quarter.

Read more about the current state of The GTA Home Prices

Search the MLS or read more about Interest Rates, Power of Sale Properties, Price Trends and more at my website. Homes for Sale

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A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate

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