Canada’s ‘Sunshine Coast’ Radiates Confidence on Housing Boom

  • British Columbia’s record consumer sentiment leads country
  • National sentiment on jobs, real estate rise in Nanos poll

Canada’s westernmost province is proving to be a bastion of confidence.

Consumer sentiment in British Columbia rose to the highest on record last week, according to telephone polling by Nanos Research. The outlook for real estate prices and the economy is buoying optimism in the province, whose so-called Sunshine Coast stretches for 180 kilometers (112 miles) northwest of Vancouver.

British Columbia took over as Canada’s fastest growing economy last year, and now has the county’s lowest unemployment rate. Currency depreciation is stoking lumber exports and enticing film crews and technology firms to the area. The picture stands in contrast to the rest of the country, parts of which are dealing with an oil-price shock and stagnant global demand for manufactured goods.

British Columbia’s confidence index rose for a fifth straight week to 67.1, the highest in Nanos data back to 2008. Nationally, the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Consumer Confidence Index rebounded to 57.7, the highest this year, from 57.3 in the previous period.

Record Confidence

The survey found 44.6 percent of respondents nation-wide see local house prices rising in the next six months, the highest since July 2014. The 15.2 percent of people who said their finances had improved over the past year was the biggest proportion since January, while the share of those who call their jobs somewhat secure rose to 19.2 percent, from 16.6 percent the week before.

Vancouver’s housing market is booming as a thriving service economy draws new buyers from Canada and Asia. Healthy demand and a scarcity of detached houses have pushed average prices well over the million-dollar mark. The rental vacancy rate has fallen to 0.8 percent and housing starts will grow by as much as 17 percent this year to 36,700 units, while the national pace declines, the federal housing agency said last week. Even that growth would lag net migration of 35,900 set for this year.

The Nanos data is based on a rolling four-week average of telephone polling totaling 1,000 respondents, with the last round finished on May 20. The results are accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, with larger margins of error in regional data.

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