2017 News Index
B.C. students shun trades as construction booms
The BC Construction Association (BCCA) is reporting a decrease in the proportion of high school graduates entering the construction trades despite a booming building pace in the province.
P.E.I., London buck downward starts trend
Prince Edward Island and the Ontario communities of London and Brantford were about the only areas that reported higher housing starts in September than a month earlier, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Legal pot spooks apartment landlords
Landlord BC and other landlord groups across the country are worried about the legal and safety aspects that may follow the legalization of marijuana in Canada next year.
Mortgage costs could rise faster than incomes
The average Canadian homeowner should see their household income rise by 2.5 per cent next year - but Scotiabank says average mortgage costs could increase by 8 per cent.
Real estate pros meet in boxing rink
Twenty-four competitive members of Greater Toronto’s real estate industry will square off during amateur boxing matches in November for a charity fundraiser
Three smart home gadgets that are actually stupid
The Internet, Bluetooth and smartphones are allowing manufacturers to create many connected smart items for homes, but some of the smart inventions are just plain stupid.
Nova Scotia Reno Expo celebrates spending surge
As residential renovation spending in Nova Scotia surges, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Nova Scotia is celebrating with Reno Expo 2017 on October 29 in Dartmouth.
Stepper Homes named Calgary builder of the year
Stepper Homes of Calgary has won the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) prestigious Ralph Scurfield Award, recognized as Calgary’s home builder of the year in the annual 2017 Alberta Awards of Excellence.
Credit scores rise for mortgage holders
Even as the federal government plans to further tighten rules for mortgage lending, a new study shows average credit scores of Canadian mortgage holders continue to improve.
Building product exports improve
While Canada continues to be a net importer of building products, the country exported $24 billion worth of building materials in 2016, up 3 per cent from a year earlier.
Vancouver developer plans world’s tallest Passive towers
A China-linked Vancouver developer is planning to build the tallest Passive House buildings in the world: two high-rise condominium towers of 43 storeys and 48 storeys in downtown Vancouver.
Ontario home builders team to protect consumers
The Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) is working with partners on a new initiative to increase consumer protection for Ontario’s new home buyers.
Sensors may lead to “smarter” cement
A new wireless sensor that can read data about concrete strength, temperature and maturity may detect early problems in concrete foundations and other cement structures.
Saskatchewan sees first Built Green community
Saskatchewan’s first Built Green community will be the Autumn Ridge Estates subdivision in Regina by Dakine Home Builders.
Richmond Hill priced like Tokyo
A typical condominium in Richmond Hill, Ontario is more expensive on a square-foot basis than in Tokyo, according to an international survey of 75 cities in 27 countries by Century 21 Canada.
Foam insulation may mitigate flood damage
Icynene foam insulation could mitigate flood damage in houses, according to Paul Duffy, chair of the Spray Foam Coalition (SFC) and chair of the SFC Research Committee for the American Chemistry Council.
BILD bullish as new homes sales fall 69 per cent
August new home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) dropped 69 per cent from the same month a year ago, but the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) contends year-to-date sales are “still very strong.”
$2,000 glass faucet turning heads
A new faucet made of glass and steel that will retail for $2,000 is expected to turn heads at trade shows this fall.
Montreal home prices, sales increase
Montreal detached house prices were up 3.9 per cent in August compared to a year earlier, and virtually unchanged from a month earlier, according to the Teranet-National Bank National House Price Index.
Tear down condos sell for $551,000 in Metro Vancouver
Older condominiums in Metro Vancouver are being eyed for demolition and redevelopment, with some owners happy to cash out and leave the hassle of repairs and maintenance behind.
Canada housing sales inched up in August
Canadian housing sales inched up 1.3 per cent in August from a month earlier. The small gain broke a string for four months of consistent declines, and still left sales nearly 14 per cent below the record level of March.
Ontario home builder covers buyers’ deposits
Great Gulf, one of North America’s leading home builders, has announced it will purchase, at no cost to homebuyers, Westmount Guarantee Services Inc.’s Westmount Protect deposit protection insurance for all new Great Gulf homes in Ontario to insure the amount of the deposit not covered by Tarion Warranty Corporation.
Chinese buyers cooling on Canada
China-based foreign homebuyers—who have been the focus of intense debate and punitive taxes in Canada over the past year—have switched their focus to other countries.
Greater Toronto: Is this the bottom?
At least one analyst is seeing the bottom of Greater Toronto’s resale housing market after August sales plunged 34.8 per cent from August of 2016, and prices fell 20 per cent from the nearest peak to just over $919,000.
Labour shortage looms as construction booms
Canada’s residential construction boom—with housing starts above a 200,000-unit pace this year—has led to a shortage of skilled construction workers.
Controversial Calgary condo tower tops off
A luxury condo high-rise that started in the depth of Calgary’s recent downturn is nearly complete—and sales have defied the doubters.
National housing starts hold steady – with some surprises
Canadian housing starts hit a pace of 219,447 units in August, up from 217,993 a month earlier, but the data held some surprises.
Vancouver new condo inventory falls to zero
The inventory of new concrete condominiums and townhomes in Vancouver has plummeted to “zero” according to the Urban Development Institute (UDI) Pacific Region.
We’re richer than we think: Census finding
The median total income of Canadian households rose from $63,457 in 2005 to $70,336 in 2015, a 10.8 per cent increase, according to Statistics Canada data from the 2016 Census—the best performance in at least 30 years.
Federal tax change could hammer contractors
Many residential contractors exist as small independent businesses, making them vulnerable to higher taxation under new federal Finance Ministry proposals.
Credit Union bullish on B.C. home starts
The British Columbia economy is “firing on nearly all cylinders” and the positive traction is seen in robust housing starts, according to Central 1 Credit Union of B.C.
Tougher to evict Ontario tenants
Got bad tenants? It will be harder and more costly to evict them following recent changes in Ontario rental legislation that came into effect September 1.
Mortgage rate hike: banks quick on the trigger
Canada’s big banks, which had been slow to lower lending rates when the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark rate seven years ago, were quick to pull the trigger on raising interest rates following the second Bank of Canada hike in September.
GTA resales slump—and rate hike won’t help
Greater Toronto Area (GTA) resale home prices and sales continued to decline in August, and a recent hike in lending rates won’t help to correct the 20 per cent price decline since the March peak, analysts say.
London builders still going flat out
After posting record detached housing starts and sales in July—the highest in a decade—London, Ontario builders are seeing few signs of a slowdown into autumn.
Lumber prices soar in P.E.I.
Lumber prices are soaring in Prince Edward Island and across Atlantic Canada, with homebuilders and suppliers citing B.C. forest fires and tariffs on lumber exports to the U.S.
National apprentice winners named
Winners have been chosen from among the “best apprentices in the country” who competed this August at a national competition held in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Winnipeg housing starts slump after fees introduced
The Manitoba Home Builders’ Association (MHBA) was not surprised that Winnipeg housing starts slowed sharply this summer after posting high levels over the past six months.
Tesla to roll our Solar Roof shingles
Electric-vehicle producer Tesla is rolling out its new Solar Roof shingles in Canada by 2018, but pre-orders are now being accepted.
Ottawa manufacturer develops super window
An Ottawa-area manufacturer claims to have developed a stronger, more energy-efficient window frame that it believes will become the standard in the home renovation industry.
Supply the answer for housing woes: Fraser Institute
Increasing the supply of housing would do more to lower housing costs than attacking buyer demand through restricting mortgage access or taxing foreign buyers, according to the Fraser Institute.
New rules cut CMHC-insured mortgages by 44 per cent
New mortgages insured by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) dropped by 44 per cent following the introduction of new mortgage loan restrictions in October 2016.
Mortgage debt rising but borrowers keep up
The mortgage debt of Canadians is rising, but homeowners are keeping up their payments, says a study by credit monitoring firm TransUnion.
Halifax new home starts up 37 per cent
Housing starts in Halifax surged 37.4 per cent through the first half of 2017 compared to a year earlier, to 1,290 units.
Legacy builders lead Calgary housing starts
The 51 new home permit applications for builders in the award-winning Legacy subdivision were the most of any new development in Calgary during July, according to the city’s planning and development department.
Builder partner sought as Port McNicoll resort reboots
The new owners of the stalled Port McNicoll Resort Village on Georgian Bay are looking for a “builder partner” as they reboot a development that was once envisioned as a $1.6 billion megaproject with 1,400 homes.
GTA inventory low as new home sales slow
The inventory of new homes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) remains at record lows while prices nudge all-time highs and new home sales slum.
Victoria builders blast BC Step Code: “will add up to $80,000 in unnecessary cost”
The new BC Energy Step Code will add up to $80,000 to the cost of a new single-family house and will make a minimal impact on energy efficiency, according to the Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA).
Nova Scotia renos worth way more than home building
Home renovations in Nova Scotia, particularly in the Halifax area, are worth far more than expenditures on new homes.
Seniors will lead Ontario home renovations
Ontario homeowners aged 55 to 74 represent the biggest single market for home renovations, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Vancouver condo owners fight forced sales
Some Metro Vancouver condo owners are fighting the forced sale of their home as allowed under Bill 40, a change to the British Columbia Strata Property Act that came in last year.
Advice for sellers: lock in big down payment
Home sellers in Toronto and Vancouver should take some defensive steps to pro-tect themselves in a suddenly slowing market, cautions real estate consultant Ozzie Jurock.
New mortgage loans: nearly 40% were new buyers
There were just over one million new mortgage loans in 2016—a 1.4 per cent in-crease compared to 2015, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Millennials: most can’t afford to buy
64 per cent of Canadian millennials believe that homes in their area are unaffordable.
Forest fires drive lumber prices higher
The price of building lumber continues to inch up following the introduction of higher U.S. duties on Canadian softwood exports—and the effect from B.C. forest fires.
Newfoundland welcomes affordable housing
An official groundbreaking was held August 14 for a new affordable housing complex coming to rural Newfoundland, at a cost of about $125,000 per unit.
Halifax a highlight as national housing starts ramp up
Halifax proved a highlight, with July detached housing starts up 15 per cent and multiple family starts up 31 per cent from a year earlier.
B.C. construction industry rallies for fire relief
Support for the Here4BC campaign, launched on July 18 by the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA), has gained huge momentum across the Canadian construction industry.
Genworth hammered by new mortgage regulations
New mortgage insurance rules announced in 2016 by the federal government are taking a toll on Canada’s largest private sector mortgage insurer.
Foreign buyer tax hits detached sales in GTA, Metro Vancouver
The introduction of a foreign home buyer tax helped to drive down sales of resale detached housing in both Greater Toronto and Metro Vancouver.
Care award winners announced in Victoria
The Victoria Residential Builders Association has announced finalists for the 2017 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) Awards of Vancouver Island.
Winnipeg housing starts rise 44%
Housing starts in the Winnipeg region soared 44.2 per cent in June, compared to the same month a year earlier.
Calgary not alone with empty homes
The City of Calgary refers to a study of the latest Census in noting that Alberta’s largest city has 23,600 vacant homes, up by 2,700 units from a year ago.
Metro Vancouver boosts sewer DCC costs
Residential developers in Metro Vancouver will be soon facing much higher fees related to sewage upgrades for new homes. The regional government is reviewing its liquid waste development cost charges, a fee that funds 99 per cent of the cost of new sewage projects.
Nearly 30% of homes house one person
Almost 30 per cent (28.2 per cent) of Canadian homes house a single person, according to the 2016 Census, the highest proportion of single-person households ever recorded.
Saskatoon builders suspect arson
Arson is suspected after a series of fires damaged new home construction sites in Saskatoon, warns the Saskatoon and Regina Home Builders’ Association. (SRHBA).
Tallest wood condo building built in Quebec
North America’s tallest wood residential building is nearing completion in Quebec, but a planned University of British Columbia student housing project may put it in the shade by four to six floors.
Vancouver seeks builder for 900 homes
The City of Vancouver has released a Request for Proposals to build nearly 900 homes in the city under its Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA).
New Built Green homes popular in Calgary
New homes registered to Built Green Canada standards saw a stronger uptake from Calgary and area builders this year than in the same time in 2016. In fact, starts of all types of new homes are trending higher this year in Alberta’s biggest city.
Toronto new condo sales hit record high
New condominium sales in Greater Toronto hit a record high in June, accounting for three of every four new homes sold, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).
Alberta HBA and UDI merge as BILD Alberta
Members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Alberta and the Urban Development Institute Alberta Division have voted to amalgamate the two provincial associations.
Passive House faces ice-box challenge in Vancouver
The City of Vancouver, which introduced a new zoning bylaw on May 1 that will eventually lead to Passive House standards for all new homes in the city, has set up an ice-house challenge to show the public how Passive House performs.
First Ontario concrete houses being built
The first all-concrete house in Ontario is being built in Woodstock and a second is sched-uled to start this summer in Burks Falls.
Moncton “most affordable” for housing in Canada
Moncton, New Brunswick has the most affordable housing in Canada according to an international affordable housing index released by the Atlantic Institute of Market Stud-ies.
Rebates offered to “green” home builders
Homebuilders in the Township of Langley, B.C. can receive up to $1,500 in building permit rebates if they build to EnerGuide standards.
Mortgage defaults fall as lending rules get tougher
As the federal government prepares to make accessing mortgage loans even harder, its housing agency reports that defaults and delinquent mortgage rates are declining to mi-nuscule levels, even in Canada’s most expensive cities.
Rebuilding Fort Mac homes could take four years
It will take abut four years to rebuild the first 844 homes lost to the Fort McMurray, Al-berta, wildfires in May 2016, according to a report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
Tax experts voice warning on laneway houses
As Toronto considers rezoning to allow laneway houses on single-family lots in the city, tax officials are cautioning the detached rentals may have an affect on the principal residence tax exemption that all Canadian homeown-ers enjoy.
What it costs to build a house
Excluding land values and so-called “soft costs”, the construction cost to build a single-family detached house in Greater Toronto ranges from $105 per square foot to $200 per square foot.
Foreign buyers bought less than 900 properties
Data flowing in from the Ontario government shows that foreigners bought 5 per cent of homes sold in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region since a 15 per cent foreign-tax was announced in April.
Nova Scotia Builder Lien Act now law
As of June 30, 2017, changes to the Nova Scotia Builders' Lien Act came into ef-fect and are expected to protect the rights of subcontractors and suppliers.
The legislative amendments will allow financial holdbacks to be released earlier for building tradespersons once the work is completed.
OFSI aims to extend mortgage stress to every buyer
A stress test for uninsured mortgages is among proposals released this month by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) in a bid to further tighten mortgage underwriting standards.
Housing starts slump a surprise in Vancouver
New housing sales in Vancouver have been on a blistering pace over the past two years and the inventory of new condos is at historic lows, so it was a surprise to some when housing starts plunged through the first half of 2017.
Canadian housing starts increase
The annual pace of housing starts in Canada picked up in June, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Oshawa, PEI, Victoria hot spots for housing starts
While Canada-wide housing starts hit the seasonally adjusted highest level in nearly five years, June data shows some markets are out-performing the national average.
Stressed and scrambling: young Toronto buyers on the brink
The mortgage stress test now required for anyone who doesn’t have at least a 20 per cent down payment is creating near panic in some young would-be buyers in Toronto and Vancouver.
Banks jump gun on rate increase
At least four major banks have jumped the gun on mortgage rate increases as the Bank of Canada apparently prepares to pull the trigger on a rate hike this week.
First-time home buyers sheltered if mortgage rates rise
It is now widely expected that the Bank of Canada (BoC) will begin to raise its overnight lending rate this week – but first-time buyers using insured mortgages should not be restricted in the maximum amount they can borrow.
Renovation spending tops $72 billion record
Canadian homeowners are forecast to spend a record $72 billion on renovations in 2017, topping the $71.2 billion in 2016, and then ascend to another record of $74 billion in 2018.
‘Bone’ housing part of $400 million Ontario subdivision
Steel home builder Bone Structure has inked an agreement with Toronto-based Skyline Investments Inc. to complete 27 new detached houses in Deerhurst Sanctuary, a Skyline subdivision in Muskoka, Ontario.
GTA house sales down 35% as listings leap to 19,600
Sales of existing homes through the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) plunged 37.3 per cent in June, compared to June 2016, following a 20 per cent year-over-year decline a month earlier.
Housing generates 29% of Ontario’s economy growth
The Ontario government should pray that the recent slump in the housing market does not become more widespread, according to an eyeraising report released this month.
What single female buyers really want in a home
Single females are becoming a factor in the Canadian housing market, estimated at represented 20 per cent of first-time buyers and a growing proportion of repeat buyers and investors.
Montreal trumps Vancouver for China investors
Montreal will surpass Vancouver this year as the Canadian destination for mainland China-based real estate investors, according to China’s largest foreign-market real estate portal.
DIY renovators face higher risk from asbestos
There is a fresh danger for amateurs who tackle a do-it-yourself home renovation aside from shoddy work and busted thumbs.
“Overbuilding” cited in seven cities
Seven Canadian cities are seeing more new homes being built than demand suggests, according to a study by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) – and the worst offenders are on the Prairies.
Water view can raise condo price 60 per cent
How much more is a new condo worth if it has a water view?
Up to thousands of dollars more, based on study done of Vancouver condominiums by marketing firm MLA Canada.
Housing plan had little effect on GTA new home market
Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan has apparently had no effect on rising new home prices in the Toronto area, according to the 1,450-member BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association).
Toronto edges Calgary as top U-Haul destination
Toronto has reclaimed the No. 1 destination city for U-Haul moving trucks, taking the top spot from Calgary, which slipped to second place after posting a 10.2 per cent decline in arrivals from a year earlier.
Cost of 2x4’s rise as lumber faces U.S. duties
Prices of standard building lumber are inching higher as Canada and the U.S. negotiate a revised Softwood Lumber Agreement, which expired in 2006.
More homeowners opt for renovations
More Canadian homeowners are choosing to renovate this year, but are spending less to do so, according to a May 2017 survey by CIBC. Homeowners will spend $11,800 on average in 2017 – the lowest in three years – the survey found.
Housing sales, starts head in different directions
Housing sales in Canada have plunged reports the Canadian Real Estate Association while starts of new homes have ramped up 13 per cent from a year ago, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Canada's social ladder stumbles on housing costs
Canada’s global ranking on the Social Progress ladder would likely be higher if not for housing costs, according to an international survey of 100 countries.
First buyers turn to bank of mom and dad
As Canadian house prices increase, more young first-time buyers are turning to the ‘bank of mom and dad’ for help with the down payment.
Some renovations pay off. Others not so much.
Renovation spending in Canada is $12 billion a month pace and the typical consumer is dropping more than $13,000 into the effort, according to Statistics Canada and TD Bank.
Canadian home sales drop sharply in May
According to statistics1 released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales posted a sizeable decline in May 2017.
CMHC survey provides insight into mortgage consumers
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its annual Mortgage Consumer Survey in June, the largest survey of its kind.
Victoria home first to be qualified under the new CHBA Net Zero Home Labelling Program
Falcon Heights Contracting in Victoria has built the first net-zero energy home in Canada to be qualified under the new Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) Net Zero Home Labelling Program.
Combatting the underground economy requires partnership
The CRA has produced several tools that can be used by anyone concerned about the underground economy to raise awareness of its impact and to reduce participation.
CaGBC honours Canada’s green building leaders at 2017 Leadership Awards
Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) honoured the 2017 Leadership Award recipients as a part of Building Lasting Change, the 2017 CaGBC National Conference and Showcase.
118,000 Retiring Workers in Residential Construction Means Great Career Opportunities for Millennials
Over the next decade, Canada’s residential construction industry will need to attract some 94,100 new workers in order to meet the housing needs of Canadians.
Canadian Home Sales Drop in April
According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales declined in April 2017.
CMHC releases 2016 Annual Report “Innovating for Better Housing Outcomes”
In 2016, CMHC supported over 500,000 Canadian households through long-term social housing commitments and provided mortgage loan insurance for more than 350,000 homes.
Economic Impacts of the Housing Industry 2016
CHBA reports on the significant economic impact of the residential construction industry across Canada at the national, provincial and community levels.
Net Zero Home Label to Recognize Homes that Produce as Much Energy as They Consume
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) officially launched its Net Zero Home Labelling Program.
Strong evidence of overall problematic conditions, with some centres showing improvement in housing market conditions
CMHC is reporting strong overall evidence of problematic housing market conditions nationally due to moderate evidence of overvaluation and price acceleration.
Government of Canada takes historic action to create new rental housing
The Rental Construction Financing initiative will provide $2.5 billion in low-cost loans to support the construction of new rental housing
Statistics Canada — New Housing Price Index
The The New Housing Price Index (NHPI) rose 0.4% in February compared with the previous month. Ontario accounted for the majority of the gain, as new house prices increased in all 10 of its surveyed metropolitan areas.
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1/2 per cent
The Bank expects global GDP growth to increase from 3 1/4 per cent this year to about 3 1/2 per cent in 2018 and 2019.
Affordable housing — Budget 2017
Budget 2017 proposes to invest more than $11.2 billion over 11 years, in addition to preserving the baseline funding for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation related to expiring social housing agreements.
2017 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence Finalists Named
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2017 National Awards for Housing Excellence.
Statistics Canada - Investment in New Housing Construction
Total spending on new housing construction increased 8.7% year over year to $4.0 billion in January. Six provinces posted increases, led by Ontario and British Columbia. Nationally, investment increased for every dwelling type.
Federal Budget 2017
A ‘Complete’ National Housing Strategy is Key to Addressing Housing Affordability - Home Builders
Sustainable plumbing guide for builders and plumbers
The residential sector in Canada uses 43% of municipal water supplies and accounts for 17% of secondary energy use. This guide suggests practical ways to make sustainable and cost-effective changes.
Drywall Decision Seeks to Remedy Excessive Duties Contrary To Canada’s Economic Interests
Announcement from the Minister of Finance reducing the anti-dumping duties on drywall from the U.S. coming into Western Canada.
PCR Created for Roof Coating Materials
Global public health organization NSF International, in cooperation with the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA), has created the first product category rule (PCR) in North America for roof coating materials.
BMO Financial Group: 2017 Economic Forecast
Canada’s regional economic growth landscape should become a little less rugged in 2017, with the gap between the best and worst performing provinces expected to narrow.
CMHC: Mortgage Performance Highlights
In its 2016 Q3 report, CMHC highlighted a few noteworthy mortgage performance insights found in the numbers.
Canadian home sales edge down from December to January
According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales were down slightly in January 2017 on a month-over-month basis.
Canadian House Price Growth Remains Elevated: CMHC Reports
Canada saw house prices grow by 7 per cent year-over-year at the end of the third quarter of 2016 after adjusting for inflation. However, removing Ontario from the calculation would have seen house prices remain flat through to the third quarter.
Canadian Home Sales Up From November to December
National home sales rose 2.2% from November to December.
CMHC: GTA Housing Prices Spilling Into Nearby Markets
According to a recent report by CMHC, the GTA’s high housing prices are spilling over into nearby markets, especially those within commuting distance.
Drywall Duty Report Recognizes Negative Impact on Builders, Renovators, Consumers and the Canadian Economy
The Tribunal has provided a number of recommendations to the Federal Government to mitigate the negative impacts on the residential industry.
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