Varcoe: Welcome to the recovery, Alberta — please fasten your seatbelt

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For the first time, Calgary has made the Top 10 list of cities in North America to live and work as a moviemaker, topping other centres such as Dallas, Seattle and Toronto.

However, a new economic forecast details several obstacles blocking a smooth liftoff, including the pace of vaccinations and COVID-19 restrictions.

If Albertans were riding an airplane on this turbulent trip, they’d be reaching for the sickness bag.

How could one describe these mixed signals of an expected recovery?

“Confusing,” Calgary Economic Development CEO Mary Moran said Tuesday.

“It will be long . . . and it will be bumpy. COVID is creating greater turbulence with respect to the oscillation of this recovery. The bumps are more severe.”

As the instability continues, the individual pieces of economic news paint a complicated picture.

The CREB is projecting housing sales will jump by almost five per cent, while annual prices are expected to increase by 1.3 per cent.

The board notes significant uncertainty exists that will affect the pace of the economic rebound, such as the removal of pandemic restrictions. It cautions that consolidation in the energy sector could lead to more job losses, undercutting consumer confidence.

However, the supply of homes for sale has come down. A more balanced market will help support prices, CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said at the board’s annual forecast event.

A home for sale in the Calgary community of Redstone was photographed on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Asked for one word to describe 2021, she didn’t hesitate.

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