VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There is another positive economic outlook for British Columbia, this one from the Conference Board of Canada.
It predicts BC will be the only province to grow more than three per cent this year and next: 3.1 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent in 2016.
Much of that growth is driven by the frantic pace of home construction in Metro Vancouver.
The board’s Marie-Christine Bernard says “the bright outlook for the province is largely thanks to the construction industry,” with housing starts expected to reach 33,000 this year and a similar level next year.
The board says the hot housing market is boosting the real estate, finance and insurance sector, but “is also leading to higher sales of durable goods, such as home appliances and garden equipment.”
The forecast calls for BC’s retail sales to rise 6.6 per cent this year and remain above the 20-year average until at least 2019, partly supported by an “improving job market,” adding “job creation should be strong again in 2016 and 2017.”
It adds that BC’s wood-products industry will continue to benefit from an increase in US home construction.
A potential weak spot is liquefied natural gas. The board includes the multi-billion dollar Petronas LNG terminal in its growth forecast, but a final investment decision has not been made and there is considerable uncertainty due to the worldwide oversupply of gas.