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Calgary home sales hit lows not seen in over 20 years, according to realtor

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Calgary’s housing market continues to contend with more supply than demand and in 2018 saw the lowest sales numbers in over 20 years, according to a local real estate agent. 

Figures provided by Jim Sparrow with Royal LePage Solutions show the last time home sales dipped below the 16,144 units sold last year was in 1996 when the population was significantly lower and there were fewer dwellings. 

That year saw 15,689 units sold, a jump from 1995, when 11,257 were sold. 

According to a report form the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), December sales in Calgary dropped 21 per cent from the same month in 2017 with only 794 units resold.

There was a 14 per cent decline in yearly sales from 2017 and a nearly 20 per cent decline from long-term averages.

More than 4,900 units were listed for sale, 30 per cent higher than typical levels for the month, CREB said.

Realtor Emma May said those holding out for a so-called spring market likely won’t see the results they’re hoping for.

“I actually foresee that we’re going to get a lot more inventory coming onto the market here in the spring. But I’m not sure that we’ve got the buyers to pick that up. So while inventory levels are high I think they’re going to just get higher here for a little for a period of time,” she said.

CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said the job market and lending rates have both had an impact.

“We just didn’t see the economic growth that was expected in the second half of 2018,” she said. “Demand hasn’t improved enough to absorb additional supply.”

She said there’s not going to be a “quick transformation,” and it’ll take time for conditions to get more stable.

Housing supply is on an upward trend in Calgary, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. (CREB)

May said December’s statistics are in line with what the industry has seen over the past year.

“I don’t think we’re gonna see significant improvement in the long term, I think this is really just the new normal,” she said.

She said realtors will need to make sure sellers are informed that they need to be aggressive in pricing, and have some difficult conversations with clients who may be losing money to make sure they have realistic expectations for what to expect.

“It’s really an emotional task to walk people through. This is the reality,” she said. “Nobody’s happy. And that takes a toll on people.”

CREB is set to release their 2019 housing market forecast later this month.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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