Posted by & filed under Alberta Real Estate Update, BC Real Estate Update, Victoria Real Estate Update.

What does the low jobless rate have to do with Real Estate In Victoria? Well, actually quite a bit in our opinion. I will discuss this further on in this blog, but first an article by Andrew A. Duffy with the Times Colonist that looks at the Victoria Jobless Rate. It reads:

It’s a ‘perfect storm’ for a labour crisis

News that Greater Victoria has the lowest unemployment rate in the country — with a jobless rate below even Calgary’s — has some in the business community warning of a labour-force crisis. The region’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.8 per cent last month, according to Statistics Canada figures released yesterday, a full percentage point behind last November’s figure. Calgary weighed in at 3.0.Ken Stratford, head of the Greater Victoria Economic Development Commission, said the low unemployment rate combined with a declining birth rate, increasing retirements and an economy that continues to expand, add up to a looming labour headache, and the only cure is to take action now

“It’s a perfect storm,” said Stratford, who expects the 2.8 rate to drop further next year.

Stratford said companies must start branding themselves as great employers, rather than just touting their products.

“With these kinds of numbers, companies are going to have to learn how to recruit better, how to hold onto staff, and they have to learn to become magnet companies so people are drawn to them.” Vincent Ferrao of Statistics Canada said 189,000 people were working in Greater Victoria last month, up from 186,000 in October and 178,000 in November 2006.

“That’s a strong increase,” he said.

The bulk of the new jobs were in the service industry, though areas such as high-tech saw small increases.

B.C.’s overall unemployment rate in November dropped to 4.2 per cent from 4.4 per cent a month earlier, according to the labour force survey.

Since January, the main drivers of B.C. job growth have been trade, construction, information, culture and recreation, and transportation and warehousing.

Last month, the construction sector alone gained 12,000 jobs.

Nationally, the job gain was 43,000 last month. B.C. accounted for more than half of those jobs — 26,000 — and the province’s employment is up 3.6 per cent for the year, compared to the national figure of 2.3 per cent.

In contrast, Ontario saw employment shrink by 5,000 jobs in November, while the province experienced 1.6 per cent employment growth to date this year.

Scott Petersen, vice-president and chief operating officer of information technology consulting firm OA Solutions, which has offices in Victoria, Vancouver and Edmonton, said the tight labour market is making it hard to find and keep qualified employees.

Peterson said the company has tried to take on interesting projects that will engage its staff, sometimes taking the company out of its own comfort zone.

The risk is often worth it, said Peterson, especially when it comes to recruiting. The company plans to hire another dozen or so employees in the next year.

Economist Roslyn Kunin said B.C. is facing extreme worker shortages at all skill levels. Kunin called for increased training in trades, construction and related occupations, and better ways to recognize immigrants’ credentials.

B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair warned only a portion of the jobs created pay well enough to support a family. He said B.C. needs to avoid what he described as “the race to the bottom” by creating a generation of workers with nominal skills and mediocre wage prospects. “Creating jobs is one thing — creating good jobs is another.” Stratford said there is a silver lining for young people entering the workforce.

“It’s a seller’s market, and we’ve never known anything quite like it,” he said, noting the closest we’ve come was after the First World War, when there was a dearth of able young men.

“For young people coming into the workforce, there’s an incredible opportunity that’s unprecedented. They can pick their career.” –With files from CanWest News Service. End of Article.

So how does the shortage of skilled workers effect the Real Estate Market? If we look at other cites with similar problems it tends to drive the price of Real Estate upwards.

The best way for a company to get better staff is to offer more benefits and higher wages. With higher wages, people will be able to qualify for higher mortgages and then in turn will enter the Victoria Real Estate market; or if they already have a home they will move up.

This whole cycle will put pressure and demand for more Real Estate as more and more people are moving to Victoria and BC in general. As we have mentioned in previous blogs, we think we will see an average selling price of $650,000 for the year 2008.

If you have any comments or thoughts on the above, just drop us a note below. If you have questions about Victoria Real Estate in general, you can contact us anytime. 

Cheers, Anders

Anders Treiberg, Associate Broker, REALTOR®

Properties in Victoria Professionals – Royal LePage Coast Capital.   

Anders Treiberg has been a REALTOR® in Victoria since 1990. He has extensive Real Estate Expertise and can be reached on his website  or via email at anders@PropertiesInVictoria.com

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