My Dear Santa Christmas Wish List

Dear Santa,

I know you’re pretty busy these days getting ready for your epic journey. 

It was great to see you the other day at CF Market Mall and say a brief hello to you as you were getting ready to see the little ones with their smiling faces from ear to ear.

You must receive millions of letters each year. I can’t imagine how time-consuming it is for you, but if you have a minute, please read mine and hopefully you can spin your magic and make my wishes come true.

I could ask for numerous things in my life like a new vehicle, a fine bottle of Scotch, a vacation to Italy, even secure employment, but this year I thought I’d make my Christmas wishlist a little different – somewhat unique.

My wishlist is about real estate. Boring? Perhaps. And I know it’s an odd request but housing is such an important element of all our lives and right now quite frankly it’s top of mind throughout the country. 

As you know, some people have described Canada as being in a housing ‘crisis’ these days.

First and foremost, interest rate hikes in the past year or so have made the purchase of a home unaffordable for many Canadians. And for those unfortunate people who are in the position of renewing their mortgages, the sticker price shock can be overwhelming. 

So Santa can you help provide some relief in this area. It would be nice to see you convince the Bank of Canada to hold off on any more interest rate hikes in the future and, wish of all wishes, perhaps even start to lower the interest rates.

That will help the housing market across the country – even in Calgary where sometimes we appear to be an outlier when it comes to real estate. Yes, the market here is still pretty good. MLS sales continue to rise compared to year ago levels despite the economic challenges out there. But a gift of holding the line on interest rates would give the local market an even bigger boost. 

It would also give a huge boost to the local economy. Let’s face it. When mortgage rates are going higher, it diminishes the amount of discretionary spending people have and that means it’s impacting local businesses from retailers to restaurants and bars. It’s a huge domino effect.

So Santa please, please do something about the high interest rates.

The other main issue facing the real estate market in Calgary and in Canada these days is an undersupply of homes. This includes homes to be sold whether they be resale or new as well as rental homes. Quite simply, Canada is slipping when it comes to housing supply to meet the burgeoning need fueled by population growth which has been fueled by immigration. 

Calgary, and Alberta as a whole, is in a unique situation because not only is its population growing through immigration but more and more Canadians from other provinces are moving here because of the opportunities present for work as well as the fact housing is more affordable here than in other major cities in Canada.

So Santa, again, I need you to spin your magic and get all levels of government together on this critical issue to find a solution – the solution of somehow making it more feasible for real estate developers to build more homes and build more rentals in the market. It’s crucial right now.

I don’t think I’ve been naughty this year Santa, although one of my friends recently suggested I might get some coal for Christmas.

So if you can deliver on these Christmas wishes it would make me a very happy person going into 2024. And I’m sure it would make so many others joyful as well.

Have a happy and safe journey December 24. Merry Christmas!

Sincerely, 

Mario

(Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and only Canadian)