Despite the possibility of a downturn in the housing market over the next two years, B.C.’s economy is expected to grow slightly according to the Royal Bank’s most recent economic outlook.
With a nod to improved demand from the U.S. for B.C. lumber and an increase in non-residential construction, the RBC report believes things should tilt in B.C.’s favour next year.
The report expects B.C.’s real GDP to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2013, up slightly from the projected 2.1 per cent this year, and then 2.6 per cent in 2014.
The numbers aren’t staggering, but according to economists they are reflective of an economy that is still recovering.
Here are comments from local business leaders on what we could see in 2013.
CEO, Victoria International Airport
“I believe the U.S. economic recovery will surprise us and that will boost tourism and it will boost the forest industry as the housing market recovers and I think the (liquefied natural gas) business will continue to be a good news story and a continued opportunity.”
President, Thrifty Foods
“In light of some continued economic uncertainty, and much of our reliance being on the progress of the U.S. recovery, it’s vitally important to invest in and support our local economies — buy local, sell local, spend local.”
President, Victoria Real Estate Board
“Our hope is that the market holds steady as it should, given that we live in paradise and paradise is currently pretty well-priced; that the market stabilizes and instills confidence in the public again and, hand-in-hand with that, is that homeowners stop looking at real estate with the potential that it will double in a year.”
Dean, UVic Gustavson School of Business
“Local economic uncertainty and concerns about the global economy make it clear that being diversified and open to a wide range of other markets in different parts of the world (and to different ways of doing business) is the smartest way to proceed.”
President, B.C. Chamber of Commerce
“I think 2013 will see continued growth of energy-related exports, particularly to Asia, but most of this will be masked by the extraordinary turnaround of the U.S. economy, the significant growth of the lumber business, and B.C.’s real gains as a result of this expanding market.”
CEO, Black Ball Transport
“I’m hoping that 2013 will be a year in the tourist sector that continues on the strength of the second half of 2012 and we see an increase in visitors to the tune of three per cent.”
CEO, B.C. Ferries
“Our hope for 2013 is that the North American and global economies stabilize and begin a period of sustained recovery so that we experience more discretionary and tourist travel within B.C. and on B.C. Ferries.”
CEO, Tourism Victoria
“Overall, we would wish for more overnight visitors in 2013; 42,000 more next year to be exact. This would give us about a 1.5 per cent increase in occupancy which is one of our goals for 2013. These additional visitors will help all primary and secondary businesses in the CRD.
“In addition we hope for an amazing new CEO of Destination B.C. that can get this province moving forward to being a more relevant global destination of choice for potential travellers.”
Principal, Chemistry Consulting
Bourree’s take on 2013 is more hopeful than it is concrete.
He would like to see “some level of municipal integration of services to help stabilize the downtown and minimize property taxes” as well as a revitalization of Victoria’s Inner Harbour lands, especially the Bellville Street Terminal. As for local economic drivers in 2013, Bourree puts it squarely on the technology sector with tourism following.
CEO, Viking Air
“Every time a Victoria resident sees a floatplane ‘;toing and froing’ between Victoria and Vancouver and other local destinations, and before they complain about float plane traffic in the harbour, remember in Victoria 475 direct and likely another 1,000 indirect jobs rely on Viking keeping these fantastic Canadian Icons flying around the world.
“Victoria Harbour represents a world class model of how numerous different marine and aviation modes can operate together, in a safe and efficient manner.”
Executive director, Canadian Homebuilders Association Victoria
“My hope for 2013 is greater global economic certainty and improved consumer confidence. We know some consumers are holding off on significant custom home projects until removal of the harmonized sales tax on April 1 and it's hoped the tax change will help kick-start consumer confidence.
“Elected officials in all levels of government can assist a stronger economy by resisting the urge to increase taxes and fees on new housing. They can encourage job creation and create more revenue from property taxes by opening the door to new development and streamlining application processes.”
Professor, Faculty of Management, Royal Roads University
“As long as inflation remains at approximately 2.8 per cent, and the province’s economic growth as forecasted by the B.C. Independent Economic Forecast Council remains about 2.7 per cent, then B.C.’s real growth is flat.
“Energy sales will drift downward as America turns inward and protectionist as they stimulate their internal energy resource. The Canadian energy industry needs to decouple from the U.S. and find new markets.
“With global terrorism, tourists are looking for safe environments such as Victoria cruise lines. Vancouver and Victoria will continue to do well, notwithstanding the forecasted increase in the value of the Canadian dollar.”
Philanthropist; chairman, Telus community board
“Jim Treliving says in his book, Decisions, regarding the key to success, ‘;I make decisions about work with my heart, about money with my head and about people with my gut.’ My heart, my head and my gut tell me Victoria’s business climate will improve and will begin the climb back to better times.
“The combined actions of industry and business will be needed to move us ahead. Like a championship football team, all players have to tackle the challenges and do their individual part. Back in 1982, when the economy had sunk along with confidence, I was part of a group of British Columbians who travelled around the province speaking to the positive aspects of our economy. We searched out success stories, discovering businesses who had found ways to thrive — not just survive — and spread the good news to media — ‘;If you think you can win, you can. If you think you will lose, you will.’ ”
Vice-president corporate relations, Consumer Protection B.C.
“We want to help consumers find the right tools and have access to information to make informed purchasing decisions. Not only so they know their rights when it comes to things such as gift cards, fitness contracts and debt collection activities [all of which can have an impact on budgets and debt loads] but our hope is that consumers can tap into resources that support them in making sound financial decisions and managing debt.”
© Copyright 2013