If you’re a Canadian Nurse moving to the picturesque maritime province of New Brunswick you may have been drawn to the North and it’s predominantly French speaking population with pockets of English. Perhaps it was the melding pot of Moncton where French and English meld into what some would call “fringlish.” If it wasn’t the largest city in NB, but you still wanted to have a New Brunswick big city experience Saint John with the Atlantic Ocean, River systems, and a reinvented city that still gives off Old Boston feels, while embracing the new self with cranes starting to dot various parts of the city. Whatever the experience you choose, welcome to New Brunswick, and lets chat costs.
Specifically, this blog will look at 4 regions– Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John, and Northern NB. Yes, this is a broad grouping, that does not take into account some of nuances of different areas. Ex: Hampton versus Miramichi but it gives a starting point to Canadian Nurses moving to the region who might wish to then narrow in further on one specific location. Therefore here are the categories we’ll look at for the nurses reading the blog:
1. Average house costs
2. Municipal tax rates (of immediate city and one or two suburbs)
4. Other Costs
Average House Costs
For most Maritimers this is the number one reason they’ll tell you to live here. The
housing is inexpensive they’ll state versus the rest of Canada, and the lifestyle is laid back. Four years ago this statement was true, today, it’s still mostly true. NB is now on average the second least experience place in the country to buy a house having surpassed Saskatchewan due to a staggering 34.1% growth year over year in house values. Full credit should be given the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) for the data below. A link to their website can be found below the chart if you're interested in digging further:
House Prices in February 2021
House Prices in February 2022
Percentage Change versus 2021
National Average House Price February 2022
2022 National Housing price versus local rate
Greater Saint John
Of note on the above each of these regions noted above contain pockets like any municipality or region with higher or lower prices. Beyond that while these are February 2022 states it appears New Brunswick real-estate shows no sign of slowing and likely all regions will continue to experience double digit real-estate growth. This is driven in each region by different factors. In Moncton, their role as a regional hub continues to attract new companies to the area that can service most of the population of NB, NS, and PEI within 3 hours. Fredericton has carved out a niche embracing government, IT, and post secondary education. Meanwhile Saint John has re-embraced its vision as a Port City. The Port has spent a quarter billion dollars on new infrastructure in the last few years. This coupled with added services at the Port, and construction cranes starting to become a constant on the "uptown" skyline signals this city has turned a corner.
Municipal Housing Tax Rates:
While housing average prices are cheap - municipal tax rates bring rates in line with what many might expect to pay on a more expensive house in BC. Keep this in mind when moving here. Also for those that might consider NB as a location to pick up a few houses, the province has a secondary home, or non-residence tax that nearly doubles the rate you'll pay on every house other than your primary residence. All in all housing taxes are not nearly as "cheap" as you might expect. One final comment, if you're in shell shock over the major city tax rates in NB and are willing to spend 15 minutes on the road take a look at the suburbs. While 2022 brought aggressive tax cuts by nearly all municipalities due to the rapid increase in valuations suburbs such as Rothesay and Quispamsis (just outside of Saint John) offer a much lower tax rate than Saint John. These rates come with generally well water, and an understanding that many amenities will be found in Saint John. Another word to the wise - generally public transit is limited outside of the city, therefore you'll want to budget to have your own vehicle to move you to and from work and home. This example tends to hold true for many of the other major urban centres in the province. Therefore as a registered nurse who may be working shift work, or otherwise factor in how close you want to live to your place of work and then shop for housing accordingly.
Let's face it, not all of us want to own our own place. There's some real value in handing a cheque to someone else once a month and then making a call if there are any concerns. Rent rates in the urban centres are climbing as of late due to a combination of lack of quality supply and the inbound demand. Saint John for example saw over a 20% increase in rent rates versus 2021. Nevertheless, rates remain reasonable in comparison to other major Canadian centres, but finding an apartment may prove to be the challenge.
Here are the average 2022 rent price by month in each of the four regions:
Greater Saint John
A couple notes from the table. Fredericton has a large university population which explains the higher cost for a one bedroom apartment for the many students that want to live by themselves or young professionals. Meanwhile Northern NB suffers from years of out migration and industry leaving an absolutely gorgeous area of the province. As a result rental prices tend to be depressed. It is expected this will shift as the population of NB cleared 800,000 in 2022.
For a full breakdown of costs we recommend taking a look at livingcost.org. We are in no way affiliated with the site but they offer a great visual to begin to look at when considering where you would like to live in Canada as a registered nurse. We've placed a link below.
New Brunswick is.a stunning province to live and work in. The population is friendly, experiences plentiful, and if you like being able take a long weekend to Boston, or Montreal; they're within driving distance. While property taxes can come as a surprise, housing is still quite affordable.
As a word of caution - if you move to any Canadian province before January of a calendar year you will pay taxes to that province for the full year. This works in your favour sometimes, and other times can result in a high tax bill.
We wish you well as you move across Canada, and remind you to check out our checklists to make your move as a Canadian RN, just that much easier.