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Calgary house values drop four per cent in city assessment – Calgary Herald

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Homes in the southwest Aspen community were photographed on Thursday January 2, 2019. City tax assessments have just been released. Gavin Young/Postmedia


Despite a drop in home values across much of the city, most Calgarians should still expect a hike in property taxes in 2020, the city assessor said Thursday.

The city assessed the typical residential home in Calgary at $455,000 — down four per cent from the previous year — according to data being mailed to Calgarians this week.

However, the drop in home values likely won’t translate to savings on most residential tax bills, said city assessor Nelson Karpa.

Council’s decision in November to shift some of the property tax burden from businesses to homes is expected to result in a 7.5 per cent hike for the typical homeowner in 2020.

“If a residential property went down by minus four (per cent), chances are you’ll still see about a 7.5 per cent property tax increase, mostly because of the decision by council,” said Karpa.

“Conversely, on the non-residential side, even if your property went up by that two per cent, chances (are) you’ll mostly likely see a decline in your non-residential property taxes from last year.”

The move is estimated to mean a 10 per cent cut to property taxes for the typical business next year.

Karpa says the decline in home values was relatively consistent across the city, though high-end homes have seen a greater decline compared to more moderately priced ones. The median single-family home was assessed at $455,000, down $20,000 compared with last year’s data.

The typical condo suite was assessed at $245,000, down $10,000 from last year.

Assessments are based on market valuations made as of July 1, 2019. The city comes up with a number that is typically based on sales of similar properties.


A city assessment finds Calgary house values have dropped 4% from last year. Thursday, January 2, 2020. Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Calgary Real Estate Board chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said the four per cent drop in assessed residential value is consistent with market conditions.

Lurie said Calgary’s continued high unemployment and the new mortgage stress test have helped drive prices down for single-detached homes in particular.

“The challenge is also where the job growth has been — it hasn’t been in the traditionally higher-paid sectors, so that has impacted the ability for prices to grow as well, especially on the detached side,” said Lurie. “So we’ve seen prices fall there just because there hasn’t been a lot of demand, there still has been supply and that weighs on pricing.”

However, certain segments of the residential market are doing better than others.

“Homes priced below $500,000, they’re doing better, so we’re seeing that the sales activity is actually improving in those markets,” said Lurie. “The challenge still really remains in the higher end of the market, where we’re still seeing supply gains and we’re not seeing as much demand growth, and sales activity continues to fall a bit in those areas.”

Commercial property values increase

After taking a hit in recent years, the city’s non-residential properties saw a modest increase in value, including in Calgary’s beleaguered office sector, which had seen huge losses in value as a result of the economic downturn and high vacancy rates.

The typical non-residential property saw a market value increase of two per cent, Karpa said, primarily driven by strength in the retail sector. Office properties across the city increased in value by roughly one per cent.

Karpa said it’s still too early to tell if the worst is behind the city when it comes to empty spaces in downtown office towers.

“I’m not so sure I’d be prepared to call it quite yet,” said Karpa. “We have seen renewed interest by investors in those office properties. Again, a little too early to tell what we’ll see coming forward for (2021). Early indications seems to be relatively positive, but we’ll wait and see.”

Overall, the total value of the city’s assessment roll, including business and residential properties, is about $301 billion — a decrease in value of about $5 billion from the previous year.


A city assessment finds Calgary house values have dropped 4% from last year. Thursday, January 2, 2020. Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Calgarians have until March 10 to review their assessment notices and approach the city with any questions, either online at calgary.ca/assessment or by calling 403-268-2888.

There were a total of 3,171 complaints filed with the assessment review board based on last year’s assessments. Nearly two-thirds of those were for valuations on commercial properties.

Less than one per cent of property owners in the city filed a complaint about their assessments in 2019.

Calgarians can expect their 2020 tax bills to be mailed out in May.

mpotkins@postmedia.com
Twitter: @mpotkins

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Premier Eschews Media Questions in House – VOCM

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Premier Andrew Furey refused to take questions from the media today regarding two key issues facing the government.

The media was seeking clarification on the status of government’s talks surrounding the merger of Husky Energy with rival Cenovus, as well as the status of embattled MHA Perry Trimper.

The premier did take questions in the House but when the time came to face the media afterward, his office said he would not be available.

The Premier spoke with Innu Nation Grand Chief Etienne Rich earlier today after Rich called for Trimper to be removed from the Liberal caucus over controversial comments he made regarding Indigenous people in Labrador.


The premier’s office issued this written statement late this afternoon:

“I spoke with Innu Nation Grand Chief Etienne Rich this morning, and we agreed that we have a good dialogue we plan to maintain. We continued a conversation about moving forward with cultural sensitivity training throughout government.”


No reason was immediately given for the premier’s no-show, which Tory Leader Ches Crosbie called disgraceful, given the importance of the Husky merger and the highly-charged and sensitive issue of Innu relations with government.

It was left to Energy Minister Andrew Parsons to field questions regarding the Husky-Cenovus merger, noting a call with executives of the newly formed company is still planned for this week.

Trimper, meanwhile, says he has no further comment, adding he’s looking forward to continuing to assist his constituents until ‘the writ is dropped’ on the next election.

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Microsoft beats quarterly revenue estimates, shares rise – Investing.com

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© Reuters. The Microsoft store is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City
© Reuters. The Microsoft store is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City

By Stephen Nellis and Akanksha Rana

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (O:) beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue and profit on Tuesday, powered by a slight uptick in growth in its flagship cloud computing business as the software maker continued to benefit from a global shift to working from home and online learning.

The pandemic has accelerated a move already under way toward cloud-based computing, helping companies such as Microsoft, Amazon.com Inc’s (O:) cloud unit and Alphabet Inc’s (O:) Google Cloud. For Microsoft, it has also boosted demand for its Windows operating systems for laptops and its Xbox gaming services as families work, learn and play from home, leading to profit that was about 30% above expectations.

“It was another healthy quarter, with continued demand for remote offerings continuing to power results,” Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood told Reuters in an interview.

Revenue growth for Azure, the company’s flagship cloud computing business, was 48%, up from 47% in the previous quarter and ahead of Wall Street estimates of 43.45%, according to consensus data from Visible Alpha. Hood said the rise was driven by “an increase in larger, long-term Azure contracts.”

GRAPHIC: Microsoft Azure revenue growth – https://graphics.reuters.com/MICROSOFT-RESULTS/xegvblbbnvq/chart.png

Microsoft has shifted to selling many of its products via recurring subscriptions, which investors like because it generates stable revenue flows. The value of Microsoft’s future recurring revenue contracts with big business customers was flat from the previous quarter and its proportion of one-time deals rose slightly after two quarters of growth.

Microsoft bundles together several sets of software and services such as Office and Azure into a “commercial cloud” metric that investors watch closely to gauge the company’s progress in selling to large businesses. Microsoft’s commercial cloud gross margins – a measure of the profitability of its sales to large businesses – was 71%, compared with 66% a year earlier.

Hood said some of the rise was explained by a change in accounting rules for Microsoft’s servers, but the better margins were also driven by sales of lucrative software such as Dynamics 365, which competes with Salesforce.com (N:).

“That Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 38% was better than we thought and quite good,” Hood told Reuters.

Microsoft said 93% of commercial cloud products were sold as subscriptions, compared with 94% the quarter before. The company’s remaining performance obligations – a measure of how much revenue has been booked for the future in sales contracts but not yet formally recognized as revenue – stayed flat at $107 billion in the fiscal first quarter but was up from $86 billion a year prior.

Microsoft said revenue in its “Intelligent Cloud” segment rose 20% to $13 billion in the first quarter, with 48% growth in Azure. Analysts had expected revenue of $12.7 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue from its personal computing division, which includes Windows software and Xbox gaming consoles, rose 6% to $11.8 billion.

The company’s revenue rose 12% to $37.2 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, beating analysts’ estimates of $35.72 billion.

“Microsoft’s strong earnings beat shows its market share in cloud computing is expanding while its legacy software products such as Windows and Office are in great demand during the pandemic,” said Haris Anwar, senior analyst at Investing.com.

Net income rose to $13.89 billion, or $1.82 per share, from $10.68 billion, or $1.38 per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.54 per share.

Microsoft shares were down 0.2% at $212.77 in after-hours trading after the results, although trading is often relatively muted until after Microsoft executives give financial guidance. The company will hold a conference call later on Tuesday.

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New COVID-19 case reported in Nova Scotia – CBC.ca

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Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday, giving the province six active cases.

The province said the new case is in the Central Zone and the person had travelled outside of Atlantic Canada. The person has been self-isolating, the province said. 

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 610 Nova Scotia tests on Monday. So far, the province has recorded 109,462 negative test results, 1,102 positive cases and 65 deaths. No one is currently in hospital related to the virus.

The latest numbers from around the Atlantic bubble are:

  • P.E.I. reported no new cases and one active case Tuesday.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases and 4 active cases Tuesday.
  • New Brunswick reported 3 new cases and 60 active cases on Monday.

Anyone with one of the following symptoms should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the website or call 811:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.

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