Will Canadian homes be more affordable in 2023? – Brandon Sun

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Dec. 13 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Royal LePage is forecasting the aggregate price of a home in Canada will drop by one per cent to $765,171 by the fourth quarter of 2023.

A real estate sign is displayed in front of a house in the Riverdale area of Toronto, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. Royal LePage is forecasting the aggregate price of a home in Canada will drop by one per cent to $765,171 by the fourth quarter of 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Evan Buhler

The real estate company says it expects prices to flatten in the second quarter and then modestly increase in the second half of the year, ending 2023 on an upward trajectory.

Its calculations show the median price of a single-family detached property will fall by two per cent to $781,256 and condominiums will slide one per cent to $568,933 by the end of next year.

Royal LePage attributes its predictions to declining affordability, which has been exacerbated by rising interest rates, and continued housing supply shortages, which are acting like a floor on home price declines.

It foresees homes in Vancouver remaining the most expensive in 2023, dipping only one per cent next year to more than $1.2 million. Regina will be the most affordable of the places it studied as aggregate home prices will fall 1.5 per cent to $361,495 by the end of 2023.

The Canadian Real Estate Association previously forecast home prices will increase 0.2 per cent in 2023 to $721.814 in 2023.

Also this …

Defence Minister Anita Anand is expected to update Canadians today on the military’’ efforts to address sexual misconduct in the ranks.

The update was be provided on Monday, but was delayed when the House of Commons adjourned due to the death of former Liberal cabinet minister Jim Carr.

The update is in direct response to a scathing report released by retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour earlier this year.

That report laid out dozens of recommendations for addressing inappropriate and criminal sexual behaviour in the military.

That included a call to remove the military’s jurisdiction over the investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes.

Arbour’s report followed a yearlong study that coincided with explosive allegations of sexual misconduct involving a number of senior military officers.

And this too …

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants European nations to join Canada in sanctioning Haiti’s elites for alleged ties to the violent gangs that have paralyzed that country.

Trudeau also said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press that Canada must avoid some of its past mistakes, as Haiti’s unpopular government calls for a foreign military intervention.

Haiti has not held elections since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and violent gangs have taken control of critical infrastructure and the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The country is facing a cholera outbreak and a humanitarian catastrophe that has the United Nations supporting calls for a foreign military to create corridors for humanitarian aid.

Yet the UN has already led multiple military interventions since a 1991 coup d’état, and Canada’s efforts to train Haiti’s national police hasn’t helped them push back on violent gangs.

Trudeau said that means Canada can’t be naive and must try to push Haiti’s political players to find a consensus on how outside powers should respond.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON _ President Joe Biden is poised to sign into U.S. law new federal protections for same-sex marriages, a step aimed at defending civil liberties that some fear are in danger because of a conservative Supreme Court.

Biden is expected to sign the Respect for Marriage Act during a ceremony today at the White House.

Congress introduced the bill in July, shortly after a high court decision on abortion that observers say threatens other privacy-based precedents, including same-sex and interracial marriage.

Getting it passed took on new urgency after Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in last month’s midterm elections.

Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale Canada, described the passage of the legislation as a bittersweet moment.

Kennedy says the new law, while important, marks just another step in a never-ending battle for same-sex rights that has been underway for decades.

“It’s fantastic for the gay community in the U.S. to know that they have a president that supports them and believes in their right to exist,” she said in an interview.

“At the same time, we have to think about the others who don’t have those privileges, and there’s still a lot of work to do.”

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

BEIJING _ Some Chinese universities say they will allow students to finish the semester from home in hopes of reducing the potential of a bigger COVID-19 outbreak during the January Lunar New Year travel rush.

It wasn’t clear how many schools were taking part, but universities in Shanghai and nearby cities said students would be given the option of either returning home early or staying on campus and undergoing testing every 48 hours. The Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 22 this year, is traditionally China’s busiest travel season.

Universities have been the scene of frequent lockdowns over the past three years, occasionally leading to clashes between the authorities and students confined to campus or even their dorm rooms.

Tuesday’s announcements came as China begins relaxing its strict “zero-COVID” policy, allowing people with mild symptoms to stay home rather than be sent to a quarantine centre, among other changes that followed widespread protests.

Starting from Tuesday, China has stopped tracking some travel, potentially reducing the likelihood people will be forced into quarantine for visiting COVID-19 hot spots. Despite that, China’s international borders remain largely shut and there has been no word on when restrictions on inbound travellers and Chinese wishing to go overseas will be eased.

The move follows the government’s dramatic announcement last week that it was ending many of the strictest measures, following three years during which it enforced some of the world’s tightest virus restrictions.

Last month in Beijing and several other cities, protests over the restrictions grew into calls for leader Xi Jinping and the Communist Party to step down _ a level of public dissent not seen in decades.

China reported 7,451 new infections on Monday, bringing the nation’s total to 372,763 _ more than double the level on Oct. 1. It has recorded 5,235 deaths _ compared to 1.1 million in the United States

On this day in 1990 …

The Canadian Senate passed the GST by a vote of 55-49.

In entertainment …

YEONCHEON, South Korea _ Jin, the oldest member of K-pop supergroup BTS, was set to enter a frontline South Korean boot camp Tuesday to start his 18 months of mandatory military service, as fans gathered near the base to say goodbye to their star.

Six other younger BTS members are to join the military in coming years one after another, meaning that South Korea’s most successful music band must take a hiatus, likely for a few years. Their enlistments have prompted a fierce domestic debate over whether it’s time to revise the country’s conscription system to expand exemptions to include prominent entertainers like BTS, or not to provide such benefits to anyone.

With lawmakers squabbling at Parliament and surveys showing sharply split public opinions over offering exemptions to BTS members, their management agency said in October that all BTS members would perform their compulsory military duties. Big Hit Music said that both the company and the members of BTS “are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.”

Jin, who turned 30 earlier this month, is to enter the boot camp at Yeoncheon, a town near the tense border with North Korea, for five weeks of basic military training together with other new conscript soldiers. After that training, he would be given a specific role and sent to a certain army unit, a process that all other conscripts go through.

“It’s time for a curtain call,” Jin wrote Tuesday morning on the online fan platform Weverse. He posted a photo of himself Sunday with a military buzz cut and a message saying, “Ha ha ha. It’s cuter than I had expected.”

About 20-30 fans showed up near the camp, a small number given Jin’s huge popularity. Jin and Bit Hit Music have separately asked fans not to visit the site to prevent any issue caused by a crowding and didn’t plan any special events Tuesday involving Jin near the base.

By law, all able-bodied South Korean men must serve in the military for 18-21 months. But the law gives special exemptions to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers if they have won top prizes in certain competitions and enhance national prestige. K-pop stars and other entertainers aren’t given such benefits even if they gain worldwide fame and win big international awards.

BTS was created in 2013 and has a legion of global supporters who call themselves the “Army.” Its other members are RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook, who is the youngest at 25. The group expanded its popularity in the West with its 2020 megahit “Dynamite,” the band’s first all-English song that made BTS the first K-pop act to top Billboard’s Hot 100. The band has performed in sold-out arenas around the world and was even invited to speak at United Nations meetings.

Did you see this?

OTTAWA _ The Royal Canadian Air Force says two military officers have been handed reprimands and minor suspensions of pay for failing to enforce the military’s orders on preventing and addressing sexual misconduct.

The charges and disciplinary actions stem from an informal meeting known as a “call sign review board” on June 22 at one of Canada’s two main fighter jet bases, 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta.

Former fighter pilots have described such review boards as informal meetings after major training exercises or operations in which pilots assign nicknames, or call signs, to newer members over drinks.

The Air Force says that during the meeting in June, several fighter pilots proposed, discussed and assigned an “inappropriate” call sign for another pilot.

Col. Colin Marks is being deprived of eight days of pay after his guilty verdict at a summary hearing, and Lt.-Col. Corey Mask is losing five days of pay.

The Air Force says in a statement that the decisions did not mark the end of the matter as a broader cultural shift is underway.

A third, more junior officer was also charged with undermining discipline or morale for what the Air Force has said was participating in the assignment of an “inappropriate call sign.”

The charge against that officer, whose name has not been released, was later dropped and the officer instead received what the military calls administrative measures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2022.

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