As the divide gets greater the West continually does better. Alberta is the best place to live and do business in North America right now. That creates home demand and supports home prices.
This is from the Globe and Mail:
Saskatoon will lead the country’s economic growth this year, along with the other resource-rich cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Regina.
The Conference Board of Canada’s annual metropolitan outlook of 27 cities also sees a deepening economic divide between the West and the rest. Growth in factory-heavy central Canada will be tepid and St. John’s, which had led the country’s growth in the prior two years, will tumble to the bottom of its economic growth ranking.
For this year, Saskatoon will tally the strongest expansion, pegged at 4 per cent. The country as a whole is seen growing a modest 2.4 per cent in the year.
Despite global economic turmoil, “high prices for agricultural products, minerals and oil are likely to continue,” said Mario Lefebvre, director of the board’s centre for municipal studies. “Canada’s prairie cities will reap the benefits of this global demand for commodities.”
Saskatoon’s growth this year, underpinned by a resource boom in the province, is actually a slowdown from an estimated 4.6-per-cent expansion last year. Still, the city’s jobless rate of 5.4 per cent is well below the national average, and the jobs boom has meant international migration to Saskatchewan in the third quarter of 2011 hit its highest level since 1971.
Calgary, meantime, is seen expanding 3.6 per cent this year. In 2013, the city is forecast to lead all Canadian cities with growth of 4.9 per cent.
In Edmonton, job growth of nearly 40,000 new positions last year alone is seen supporting domestic demand. A strong energy sector will drive growth of 3.4 per cent this year. Regina’s growth is pegged at 2.9 per cent.
It’s a different story elsewhere. “The outlook is not as promising for cities in central and eastern Canada,” Mr. Lefebvre said. “The uncertain global economy, a continued slow recovery in the manufacturing sector and the windup of fiscal stimulus introduced by governments in recent years will hamper overall economic growth.”
Ontario will be hobbled by a slow U.S. recovery, strong Canadian dollar and government austerity. Manufacturing, meantime, remains well below pre-recession levels.
Belt-tightening in Ottawa will weigh on that city’s economy. Public administration employment tumbled 2 per cent last year, and is forecast to slide another 3.6 per cent this year — a loss of 9,000 jobs over these two years. As result, real GDP growth is pegged at just 1.8 per cent this year.
Toronto’s economy is forecast to grow 2.6 per cent this year, while Hamilton, London, Kingston and Niagara will all see below-average growth.
In Quebec, Montreal’s economy will grow a modest 2 per cent this year as a third straight year of growth in the manufacturing sector helps offset an expected downturn in construction. Quebec City is forecast to expand 2.1 per cent.
Saguenay’s economy will expand by 1.5 per cent this year, its best performance since 2002. The manufacturing sector is expected to resume growth this, boosting employment in the sector.
“The brightest development in Saguenay has to be the return of positive population growth in both 2010 and 2011,” the report said. “As a result, domestic demand has been stronger and should continue to expand in 2012, leading to an almost 2-per-cent rise in overall services sector output.”
St. John’s is expected to see the country’s weakest growth, at just 0.7 per cent this year.
“After two spectacular years, the St. John’s economy has limited growth prospects this year,” the report said, amid a booming construction sector. Looking ahead, “waning offshore oil production wells, fewer housing starts, and the end of the infrastructure spending program will weaken economic growth.”
In B.C., Vancouver will grow 2.6 per cent amid a decline in residential construction and growth in the services sector. Victoria will grow a scant 1.9 per cent.
There is good news out there for the Canadian economy and home buying. Here is some below.
Christine Dobby Nov 30, 2011 – 7:06 PM ET
The Canadian economy was not as bad as first feared in the third quarter. In fact, it was much better than almost anyone had hoped.
Fuelled by record monthly output from the oil-and-gas and mining sectors and overall export strength as temporary headwinds drifted away, third-quarter economic growth shot past expectations.
Statistics Canada said Wednesday that gross domestic product for the period rose by an annualized 3.5%, beating economists’ more moderate average prediction of 3.0% growth and the Bank of Canada’s forecast of 2.0%. In September alone, the economy grew 0.2% from August, falling just short of a 0.3% increase economists predicted.
The growth during the quarter comes as a welcome change after a revised 0.5% contraction in the second quarter.
Net exports staged a decided recovery as external pressures like the fallout from the Japanese natural disasters in March were no longer a factor.
But the devil is in the details as flagging domestic demand and weak business investment lurked beneath the report’s strong headline growth. A close look at the data has economists forecasting only modest growth — in the range of about 2% — in the coming quarters and predicting the Bank of Canada will remain on hold with interest rate hikes.
Here’s what stood out from Wednesday’s report:
The driving force behind the uptick in GDP for the quarter, exports grew at an annualized rate of 14.4%, up from a pullback of 6.4% in the previous quarter.
Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said that factors that weighed on Canadian exports in the second quarter — including the Japanese supply-chain disruptions as well as wildfires in Northern Alberta that led to shutdowns of oil sand production facilities — were resolved in Q3 and contributed to the increase.
But, he cautioned, “The boost to third-quarter growth provided by the reversal of these factors is not expected to continue to the same extent into the fourth quarter.”
As the global economy stalls and prospects for a quick turnaround look increasingly grim, economists predict it will could spoil the Canadian export party.
Canada’s unstoppable real estate market was another bright spot during the quarter. Residential construction shot up 10.9% annualized, following on comparatively modest increases of 1.6% in Q2 and 6.7% in Q1.
“After quarters of booming housing starts data, the residential construction bonanza finally translated into the GDP numbers,” said Emanuella Enenajor, economist at CIBC Economics.
The expansion in this sector came from all three major components including fees and transfer costs related to resale transactions, new housing construction and renovation activity.
“Continued strength in new-home sales has elicited more and more new housing construction, particularly in the high-rise condo market,” said David Madani, Canada economist for Capital Economics.
He noted that a reported increase in housing starts bodes well for further strong growth in this category next quarter.
Canadians slowed their spending on goods and services during the quarter, raising red flags for economists concerned about sluggish domestic demand.
Personal expenditures grew at an annualized rate of 1.2%, down from an expansion of 2.1% in the previous quarter.
“A slowing pace of income growth owing to tepid hiring and weaker wage dynamics will likely continue to put downward pressure on consumption activity,” Ms. Enenajor said.
Business investment actually contracted during the quarter with a decrease of 3.6% annualized, down from last quarter’s 14.6% increase.
“Weak business investment is a worry, as it has been an important source of growth since early 2010 and replaced personal spending as the main source of domestic growth,” said Charles St. Arnaud, an analyst with Nomura Global Economics.
He noted that this, coupled with the fact that personal spending is likely to remain weak, “Could mean that domestic demand stays weak over the next few quarters, as global uncertainty remains high.”
FINAL DOMESTIC DEMAND
The combined slowdown in consumer spending and business investment was a drag on final domestic demand, which rose only 0.9% in the third quarter, down from a 3.1% gain in Q2. The other component, government expenditures, was flat in the quarter as government stimulus spending continues to slow to a trickle.
“Note that the pace of final domestic demand has been consistently slowing since 2010, weakening from around 6% to its current sub-1% pace,” Ms. Enenajor said.