Dec. 18, 2019 | Mario Toneguzzi
A Calgary real estate Christmas list
It's me again. You know, that real estate geek who wants to know everything there is to know about the industry.
What can I say? I've been following the real estate market – residential and commercial – for many years now in Calgary, Alberta and across the country. It has become a hobby and my passion.
I'm very troubled these days by what is happening in real estate, particularly in Calgary and area. My wish list this year includes some general economic dreams I have that, in a perfect world, would come to fruition and put this city back on the path to economic prosperity.
We all know that real estate is really driven by jobs. So please, can you see to it that Calgary's labour market improves? We've been going through some dark times here since late 2014, when oil prices collapsed and sent the city into recession years in 2015 and 2016. Thousands of jobs were lost as a result, and fewer jobs mean fewer people looking to buy homes, as well as fewer people filling the offices in all those downtown skyscrapers.
Housing starts in the region continue to be at low levels. MLS® System sales also continue to be sluggish, as demand is nowhere near the levels it reached when the city's economy was booming. Meanwhile, the downtown office market continues to experience elevated levels of vacancy, now hovering in the 25 per cent range.
Unfortunately, the pain in the labour market doesn't seem to be over, as we saw in the fall, when hundreds of jobs were cut at Husky Energy and Federated Co-operatives Limited.
With a 6.9 per cent unemployment rate in the Calgary region, a lot of people are looking for work.
So, my Christmas wish list this year is a very small one. I don't need any of the latest electronic devices that will be replaced next year by brand-new models. All I want for Christmas is one thing: jobs.
Yes, it may be difficult for even you to perform this magic. Times remain tough. They say tough times don't last, but tough people do. That may be true, but let's not sugarcoat things – the economy needs a boost, so people can regain a little bit of hope and optimism.
It's Christmas, Santa. It's the season of hope, the season of new life. We need some of that new life in the way of job creation in the city. That is the only thing that will spur more housing starts, more MLS® System sales and fewer downtown office vacancies.
You have the magic, Santa. Please make it happen. Merry Christmas.
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