It was another busy news week in the real estate world, so let’s get you all caught up!

This week in CREB®NowMay 2020: COVID-19’s impact on Calgary housing market continues

Read on for the full recap of last month’s housing market activity, featuring commentary from CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

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Mortgage matters: options and advice for anyone falling behind on payments due to COVID-19

If you’re having trouble making ends meet thanks to COVID-19 and you’re worried about your mortgage, you’re not alone. Check out the story for some resources and advice that might help.

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Bank of Canada holds steady on interest rates as market conditions start to improve

Interest rates remaining low is good news for borrowers, and the Bank’s belief that we’ve made it past the peak of COVID-19’s negative economic impacts is good news for everyone. That’s not to say that things are great, but they could be worse! We’ll take what we can get right now!

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COVID-19 highlights importance of home air quality

COVID-19 has proven to be much more of a danger indoors than out, thanks to widespread ventilation and airflow issues in many enclosed spaces. This might have you wondering, “how clean is the air in my home?” The answer might shock you!

ICYMI

While COVID-19 is likely the No. 1 air quality concern for most of us right now, radon can also represent a serious threat. Thankfully, radon buildup in the home is completely preventable – check out this great story from earlier this year to find out how:

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An invisible threat: how to identify and eliminate the dangers of radon in the home

Reimagining the “office”

For many Calgarians, working from home has become the norm over the last few months. At this point, even if some companies start to slowly transition employees back to their offices, it is clear the standard office experience will never be quite the same. Some companies might move their staff back to the office but expand employees’ ability to work from home from time to time. Others might move to a mix of in-office and remote employees. A few have even announced their teams won’t ever be returning to the office.

Fewer employees in the office and fewer companies that need offices in the first place mean less demand for office space. The impacts to the commercial real estate sector could be extensive. This is especially true in Calgary, where pre-pandemic vacancy rates were already high.

That isn’t to say that demand for office space is going to evaporate. Based on Statistics Canada data, only about 39 per cent of jobs across the country and 36 per cent of jobs in Alberta can “plausibly be performed from home under normal circumstances.” And even if a job can be performed from home, the person in that role might prefer an office environment. While I would certainly relish the opportunity to work from home occasionally, and I really don’t miss my commute, I know I’m not the only one who prefers the work-life separation and social interaction that a traditional office provides.

As business leaders start to reimagine their relationships with brick-and-mortar offices, it seems flexibility will be the name of the game. Hopefully, commercial real estate companies will embrace this new mantra and devise innovative office-space solutions that benefit businesses, employees and industry.

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Hit the road

Last weekend, the federal government announced it would be setting aside millions of dollars to promote vacation travel within Canada. The hope is that this will encourage Canadians to explore their “own backyard” and provide a jolt to the tourism industry, which has been ravaged by COVID-19. Much of that money was originally earmarked for attracting foreign visitors, which… well, good luck with that.

While we should all still weigh the risks of spreading COVID-19, and reference any relevant interprovincial travel restrictions, when planning trips this summer, I think this is a cause we can all get behind. Calgarians already go out of their way to support local businesses and eat locally grown produce, so “vacation local” isn’t much of a stretch.

So, let’s seize this opportunity to get to know our own province better and plan an Alberta adventure! There’s no shortage of possibilities.

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Additional reading

Have a great weekend!