Monitoring COVID: BCREA Develops New Economic Resources

Sep 02, 2020

Posted by
Matt Mayers
Senior Policy Analyst


The COVID-19 Reopening Dashboard allows readers to monitor the evolution of the BC economy as the province gradually reopens. The dashboard focuses on the sectors and activities that have been most significantly impacted by the pandemic and the province’s subsequent state of emergency. The most recent update shows that home sales have more than fully recovered in BC and are now above pre-pandemic levels.

The Economics Impacts Dashboard helps to monitor the progression of COVID-19 and the impacts of the pandemic on the housing, employment and financial sectors in BC. There is also a “Chart of the Week” showcasing a new indicator and/or trend related to the pandemic. The current dashboard shows that the housing sector recovery is well underway, aided by record low mortgage rates, while the labour market is still finding its way back to pre-COVID-19 levels of employment.

The Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI), which BCREA has produced for several years, forecasts changes in broad commercial real estate activity. BCREA’s research shows that the variables composing the CLI reliably forecast BC commercial real estate activity at a lag of two to four quarters. The CLI was down again in the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the pandemic-induced shutdown of the economy. Going forward, it is expected that the environment for  commercial real estate activity will continue to be weak. The next release will be at the end of November.

The BCREA Nowcast, another pre-existing publication, estimates monthly real GDP growth for BC, an important measure of the province’s overall economic performance. The most recent update shows the BC economy is recovering, albeit slowly. The economy is estimated to have contracted about 6 per cent in June, which is an improvement from the worst of the pandemic when the economy contracted an estimated -10.6 per cent in April. Including advance estimates for July, BC continues to see significant year-over-year negative growth, but month-over-month improvements, reflecting the ongoing reopening of the BC economy.

In addition to these resources, BCREA’s Economics department also continues with regular publications, including monthly statistics releases, occasional Market Intelligence Reports, quarterly Mortgage Rate Forecasts and more.

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