I thought I would show you a picture of this house, which except for one detail seems to be fairly unremarkable...
Although it's not for sale and I don't have a clue as to the specifics of the place, this is what a $300,000 house looks like in Iqaluit. It's a guess, you understand. But the average house in town costs $330,000. There are some very nice, large houses kicking around town. But there are also places you wouldn't use as a cabin out on the pond.
So I imagine this place is pretty close to the average. Also, and you can't tell it from this angle, but it has a nice view of the city and bay. So it wouldn't surprise me if the actual price would end up closer to $350,000.
It's part of the sticker shock that most Newfoundlander feel when they get here. If you're coming from Toronto or Vancouver and were told this house was $300,000 you would like go "Yeah, okay. That sounds about right." In Newfoundland, if you're spending that much money you're expecting to get something more...grand. Perhaps something like this.
Which I imagine is probably in the $500,000 to $600,000 range here. It also has a pretty good view.
Now, even if we had that much money to spend, I don't think I could buy the first house. There's something entirely too off-putting about having my ass hanging over quite that much open air when I go to bed. I'm sure the house is well-constructed and all. And every house is built on stilts. Every building in the north has space between the bottom and the ground because of the ways permafrost shifts.
Just not normally quite that much.
However, in case you're thinking that an apartment would be a better, more affordable option well here's the information on that. There's a new apartment complex going to be opening up in town by November. Out of curiosity I e-mailed them about rent costs. Here are a few samples of the prices of the units available...
The absolute cheapest is a one-bedroom, no balcony (most of the apartment's in this building have them. Yes, a balcony where it is below zero for about eight months of the year might not seem like something you want, but apparently there are people who really want to barbecue) with 63.32 square metres is $1,723 per month
A one bedroom with a balcony, but still with the same amount of floor space, is $1,823 per month. So I guess you must really want to barbecue to spend an extra $100 a month, even for those months when it's -40.
The cheapest two bedroom, with 78.97 square metres, is $2,211 a month.
The most expensive apartment in the building is a two bedroom on the fourth floor with 128.86 square metres of space. It goes for $3,737 per month.
It's a new building so perhaps the rents are possibly a little above average. But working out what our rent is, once you remove the government subsidy, it isn't too far off what we're paying.
Here's the kicker to all of this - according to statistics the vacancy rate in town is zero. When a house or apartment becomes available, it gets snapped up in a hurry. There are 28 units in that apartment complex. It's another 3.5 months before they're ready for occupancy. Already a quarter of them are rented.
And again, I understand that if you're coming from a large metropolitan area when mortgages and rents are sky high, that these prices will barely cause you to blink, let alone sweat.
I guess coming from St. John's, where the most I spent for rent was $600 per month for a two storey, two bedroom apartment on Bond Street with a view of the harbour and a balcony (I still miss that place), it's a bit of a shock. I can only imagine what it's like for people coming from some parts of rural Newfoundland where a three bedroom house with a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean gets you maybe $40,000. If you can sell it.
So just a note for people thinking of coming here. If you get the right job the money you can get is amazing. Just keep in mind there's a reason why they're paying you that much....