Low cost of living = low growth?

I am the first guy to trumpet the low cost of living in the Maritimes but there are times when I would like a little cost appreciation.

Take the cost of housing.

Since 1997, the average cost of a new house in New Brunswick’s three main urban areas has increased by 12.5%. In St. John’s, the avg. cost is up 28%. In Halifax, 30%. Cripes, even new housing prices in Charlottetown have increased faster at 15%.

And we had better not even talk about Calgary 83%, Quebec City 41%, Ottawa 57%.

There is almost a direct correlation between housing price appreciation and economic growth. If you plotted population growth in those cities on the same chart as housing prices, you would see a correlation between the two. The only exception is Vancouver/Victoria which took a hit in the early 1990s and is now coming back.

I guess the Prosperity Plan didn’t include increased property values. Maybe the 5 in 5 will lead to at least better levels than Charlotte-friggin’-town.

Note: I’m a little extra grumpy after dumping a pile of dough into a big ol’ house in Moncton. I was hoping for a little Calgaryesque appreciation – c’mon Bernie!