My friend Hans spotted this article, or something like it, and asked if it was going to affect myself and Cathy.
The short answer is...yup.
A little history here for people to understand. Some Government of Nunavut jobs come with housing. That means the government will find you a place to live and subsidize part of the rent. Now, not every government job comes with this, but it so happens that Cathy, as a teacher, qualifies. There's also a massive housing shortage going on up here, but more on the consquences of that in another post.
The subsidy is not bad. A one bedroom apartment in Iqaluit probably goes for about $1,600. We're paying less than $1,000. Which is still freaky considering our apartment is about half the size of what we had on Bond Street in St. John's, but 50 per cent more to rent. But I digress. Things work differently up north.
Come January, our rent is going up 15 per cent, or about $140 a month. That's continuing until 2010, when the government will be out of the housing subsidy market in Iqaluit.
This editorial argues it's going to cause pain, but that it will be a good thing in the long run and I see the logic in their arguments. Still, it's kind of freaky to people like us who just got up here and discovering that one of the nice things about being up here, a subsidized apartment, is going to vanish. Especially since I'm still an unemployed bum who still hasn't gotten his ROE from his last employer.
It's also worth noting the government has tried this before and backed down in the face of the backlash. There are already rumblings from some people I've overheard that another one is in the making. So it should be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few months.
It does mean some rethinking. For example, if I land a government job, we would qualify for a two bedroom apartment. We were going to apply because the extra space would be nice. Now, we have to decide if it's going to be worth the considerable extra cost. After the subsidy is removed I imagine a two-bedroom place will cost around $2,500.
We'll also have to decide whether or not we'll take the plunge and buy a house or condo. We had a five year plan which we're now going to have to reevaluate. It's going to be interested to see what incentives the government is going to offer to encourage home ownership. I've seen modest houses for sale here in the $500,000 range. I think they're going to need some pretty impressive incentives.