In this Behind the Headlines podcast episode, OBJ publisher Michael Curran speaks with OBJ editors David Sali and Peter Kovessy about some of the week’s most-read local business stories on OBJ.ca.
CURRAN: A recurring theme in this podcast is looking at how businesses will be using their office space going forward. Dave, what kind of trend is developing when it comes to commercial real estate?
SALI: I spoke with several brokers who are dealing with a lot of clients looking to sublease space. Some predict office demand could shrink by as much as 10 per cent – a lot of businesses are taking a second look at how much space they need. A lot more firms think there is going to be a more flexible approach to work which means not everybody is going to be in the office at the same time and not need as much space.
CURRAN: We’ve often heard that Ottawa’s housing market is on fire. Amid all of that optimism, a recent CMHC report is saying otherwise. Peter, tell us about those findings.
KOVESSY: They did predict that Ottawa home prices are going to soften a bit in 2021, which did come as a bit of a surprise. The CMHC pointed to uncertainty surrounding income and job losses as the potential catalyst behind the market decline. One of the big factors that sent housing prices soaring in the first place has been the limited supply. There aren’t that many houses being put up for resale. CMHC did acknowledge that that is likely to continue and that’s likely what will drive a rebound in housing prices in 2022.
CURRAN: Thursday was a big night for the city as the Ottawa Stronger Together broadcast debuted. It was a different type of celebration for the annual Forty Under 40 award recipients.
Dave, tell us about the show and some of the highlights.
SALI: The show really illustrated the theme of the evening, which was resilience in the face of adversity. Most of the entrepreneurs were affected by the pandemic, had to pivot, had to adapt, just like the organizers of the event. We saw some great video segments featuring Karla Briones, the owner of a local Freshii franchise, and Harley Finkelstein of Shopify, who had a heartfelt message of “We’ve got your back.” The show was even capped off by a brilliant music video by Six Over 40, a band made up of local CEOs, including Kevin Ford from Calian and John Sicard from Kinaxis.