Why is the rent in Yellowknife so high?
That’s what Sam Gamble and real estate investing company, CloudWorks Adventure Capital, are trying to understand.
“…anywhere else in the country, [$50 000] is a good living. Here in the North – you just need that much more.”
Gamble has a theory – he just so happened to write a series of articles on the topic. He says part of the high rent can be chalked up to how the Territory’s economy has been structured.
“I think the issue is that there is a huge amount of Federal government transfers going into the NWT economy. The commitment to ensure that Canadians anywhere in the country have an equal level of high quality service requires a high level of Federal transfers to different areas of the country. That’s not necessarily an issue because, as Canadians, we have this social contract to provide these services, and everyone deserves them.”
Gamble would go on to say that the high amount of Federal transfers have led to a higher cost of living, namely in areas like rent. He felt that a lot of what is pushing this forward is what is considered as the middle class of the North.
“People making less than $50 000 are really what is pushing this, which is crazy when you hear $50 000; anywhere else in the country, that is a good living. Here in the North – you just need that much more.”
Gamble has spent most of his life in Yellowknife and says he very much prides himself on his Northern roots.
‘Cost of Living – Revisited’
In November, Alternatives North brought in Economist, Michel Haener. She was tasked with finding a rough estimate of how much the cost of living is in Yellowknife. The number Haener came to was a family of four needing close to $90 000 a year, with each parent earning $22.24 an hour.
The amount that Haener’s work provided was propped up by what she described as ‘high rent and food costs’. Many food stores in the Yellowknife area have privately disputed that point. While not being mentioned, they have stressed the amount of work they put in to provide comparable food prices to the South.
To hear Gamble go into further detail, you can hear him speak at an upcoming local event, hosted by Alternatives North. He has put together a 45 minute discussion on the high rent in the North. It’s at the North Star Building tomorrow night (Feb. 8), from 7:00pm – 8:30pm.