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Why Halifax Homes Are Getting Pricier During The Covid-19 Recession – Huddle Today

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HALIFAX — Residential home sales in Halifax have plummeted to their lowest levels in decades, but don’t expect a dazzling deal on your next dream house.

In April, 354 people bought homes in Halifax. That’s an almost 50 percent drop compared to April 2019 and, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, the fewest homes sold in the city since 1995.

But that hasn’t stopped house prices in the city from climbing.

Last month, the average cost of a Halifax home was $330,565. That’s a 4 percent hike compared to April 2019.

So why is it that, during the worst recession in recent memory, as home sales plummet to their lowest levels in decades, houses in Halifax are still getting more expensive?

According to Matt Honsberger, it all comes down to supply and demand.

Honsberger is the sitting past president of the NSAR. He explains that, even though there are way fewer people buying houses right now, there are even fewer selling them.

“When you look at what happened during Covid-19, from March 15 through today, the number of sellers dropped quicker than the number of buyers,” Honsberger explains.

Halifax was already in a “sellers market” before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the city. More people were looking to buy homes than sell them and that meant fierce competition for a limited supply.

As numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association show, the pandemic pushed 50 buyers out of the market in April. That would have meant less competition and lower prices if a full 60 percent of sellers didn’t also tap out.

CREA numbers show 804 new listings came onto the market in Nova Scotia in April, which was a 60 percent decline compared to April 2019.

“When Covid-19 hit people said, ‘well I’m just not going to put my house on the market.’ So those who were left who did want to buy were competing for a much smaller amount of inventory,” Honsberger explains.

He says that in the past few weeks he’s seen several instances where more than 10 people have made offers on the same house.

House Prices Will Likely Keep Climbing

Honsberger says those multiple-offer situations, as well as the fact that houses are still selling fairly quickly, means Halifax house prices will likely “stay pretty steady, or even drift up a little bit” over the next six months.

“This is not the time when prices are coming down,” he says.

The last big hit to the Halifax housing market came in 2012 after new mortgage rules and shriveling job prospects saw a flood of people sell their homes.

Honsberger said that when “the bottom fell out of the market” back then the sales volume went way down but prices didn’t.

“Even through all of that we didn’t see a lot of price adjustment,” he says. He says he believes this time things will be similar — at least in the short term.

Beyond six months it’s difficult to predict what the housing market might look like. Largely, Honsberger says, it will depend on how many people can start working again.

“Jobs and [consumer] confidence are the big things that we’re looking at right now. If the job numbers improve dramatically then we’re going to be just fine,” he says.

Honsberger says there is a three-to-six-month window where the market will stay steady. However, if large numbers of people still aren’t back to work by late in the year Halifax might be looking at a “legitimate adjustment” in the market.

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Nova Scotia researchers to evaluate treatments for moderate, severe COVID-19 – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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A Nova Scotia study will look into the effectiveness of treatments for hospital patients suffering from moderate to severe COVID-19. 

The study, called CO-VIC for COVID victory, will involve about 600 patients from Nova Scotia Health Authority sites across the province, an NSHA news release said Monday. 

The study, which the authority is doing in conjunction with Dalhousie University, will test out potential therapies and their impact on COVID-19 symptoms. 

“When additional cutting-edge therapies become available, they will also be assessed,” the release said. “Personalized measurements of immune response will help develop future therapies and predict when and how severe COVID-19 happens.”

The work, which is being led by infectious disease clinician and researcher Dr. Lisa Barrett, aims to advance our understanding of how the immune system responds to COVID and help develop future treatments and second-wave vaccines.

 “We need the best knowledge of treatments and immunity, to save lives now and in the future as we continue to fight COVID-19.”

– CO-VIC study leader Dr. Lisa Barrett

CO-VIC is partially funded by the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition.

 “As COVID-19 related deaths increase in the older population, in the young who didn’t ever expect to be ill, and in health care workers, our research community feels the overwhelming urgency to protect Nova Scotians with research that tests treatments, predicts disease, and promotes understanding of immunity,” Barrett said in the release.

 “We need the best knowledge of treatments and immunity, to save lives now and in the future as we continue to fight COVID-19.”

The NSHA called the treatment study an integral part of Nova Scotia’s pandemic response. Compared with other provinces, Nova Scotia’s population includes a high proportion of vulnerable people who are older, have underlying respiratory conditions or are immunosuppressed.

“These are all people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and this work may aid in protecting our population.”

Most Nova Scotians will be eligible to take part at hospitals outside traditional research facilities to ensure fair access to research and potential therapies, the release said. 

“While data will be gathered from Nova Scotians, for Nova Scotians, the study is designed to mirror larger international trials to promote the comparison of global data. This will allow the research team to leverage international information so it can be applied here in Nova Scotia.”

For more information, visit the study website

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No new coronavirus deaths reported in Ottawa on Monday, public health unit says – Globalnews.ca

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Physical distancing continues to be effective in Ottawa, according to the local public health unit’s latest dashboard metrics tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus in the nation’s capital.

Ottawa Public Health said it identified 11 lab-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in its latest daily report — and 27 new cases in total over the weekend — bringing the number of positive tests in the city up to 1,962 as of 2 p.m. on Sunday.

There were no new deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, reported in Ottawa on Monday, keeping the city’s pandemic death toll at 244.


READ MORE:
No ‘mask police’ when face coverings become mandatory on Ottawa transit, officials say

There are currently 38 people in hospital with COVID-19 locally, while 82 per cent of all cases are now considered resolved.

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There are 18 ongoing outbreaks in institutions around Ottawa.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

OPH’s COVID-19 dashboard, which tracks local testing and hospital capacity as well as other key metrics to monitor the spread of the virus in Ottawa, indicates a positive trend in the public health unit’s contact tracing efforts.

OPH is currently able to follow up with and investigate 100 per cent of contacts for every new case in the 24 hours following a positive test.






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The number of average contacts per new case is also down to 3.1, pointing to the success of Ottawa’s physical distancing measures.

Public health officials have noted that as Ontario’s economy reopens and residents increase their social activities, there is a risk of infection rates rising and effectively losing ground against the virus.

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According to the OPH dashboard, Ottawa remains in “orange” territory, which indicates “some” control over the virus.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Nova Scotia municipal offices implement safety measures to reopen amid COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Several Nova Scotia municipalities that have been shut down since the province declared a state of emergency in March have either reopened their administrative buildings to the public or are planning to in the near future.

Officials in the Town of Trenton reopened with limited hours on Monday so some residents could pay their property taxes in person before the end of June.

But a number of municipal buildings have new restrictions to keep staff and the public safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Region of Queens Municipality, which also reopened on Monday, public access is limited to one set of doors. Only one member of the public is allowed inside the building at one time, unless the person needs assistance.

In the Municipality of Pictou County, officials also planed to reopen on June 1. Safety glass has been installed at customer counters, the seating has been removed and the number of people allowed in the foyer will be limited.

On the other hand, the Town of Pictou has what it calls a “slow reopening plan.” The public will have access to its offices starting on June 8, but hours will be limited for the first week.

In the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, municipal staff returned to the building on Monday, but it will not be open to the public until June 15.

Others are taking an even more cautious approach. In Berwick, municipal staff will only resume working at the town hall on a full-time basis once the province lifts the state of emergency.

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