Cam and Crystal Hamilton are coming home from Alberta. They are part of a growing number of ex-pats lured back by affordable housing and job opportunities.
Hamilton finished his studies as an architectural technician in 2000.
“I applied for jobs in Regina and Saskatoon and had no offers. I didn’t even have to apply for a job in Edmonton and I got one,” he said.
He moved to Edmonton to work and Crystal followed, marrying a year later. The couple said they enjoyed Edmonton but noted Regina has changed since they left.
The birth of their son Brady made them want to be closer to family in Regina. Cam began the hunt for a career in Saskatchewan.
“There’s so many jobs available now. He had four interviews in November and was offered all four jobs,” she said.
He took a job in Regina with Brownlee Beaton Kreke, a consulting firm and returned to Regina last January. The favourable housing market sweetened the deal.
“Being able to pay off all our debt when we moved here was nice. We profited from the sale of our home in Edmonton,” she said.
Re/Max’s Affordability Report said the average price for a house in February in Regina was $126,000.
That compares to $313,000 in Edmonton or $385,000 in Calgary. Regina was named “most affordable place to live in Canada,” according to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
“Last year and this year I’ve had clients moving back. It’s because of jobs and family,” said Rob Nisbett, a broker with Re/Max.
He’s noticed a growing trend of people returning to Saskatchewan and sees an upswing in real estate investment.
“There’s a whole new attitude about our province and city. I have always firmly believed people would move back if jobs were available,” he said.
More than 250 homes sold for $33 million, February records in home sales were crushed, according to the Association of Regina Realtors.
Regina’s housing market has enjoyed more than 25 years of steady and solid growth, free from booms, busts and speculation, according to Gord Archibald, the executive officer of the association.
Re/Max’s Nisbett was optimistic about the future. He said the provincial government will likely lower the PST further and predicted more investment in real estate.
For little Brady Hamilton, living in Regina means he gets to see grandma and grandpa more often.
“It’s been nice to see friends and family,” said Cam Hamilton, “We knew when we came back we’d like it.”