This city ranked No. 2 on our list for three good reasons: jobs, jobs, and jobs. As a result of the city’s booming employment market, its population has grown a healthy 4.6% over the last four years and people from across Canada are flocking here. Oil, potash, uranium, diamonds and farming are all booming sectors, giving Regina one of the lowest unemployment rates of cities we ranked—only 4.4%. And even though house prices have almost doubled over the last four years (up 93.4%), homes still remain affordable with an average price of about $255,000. Couple this with a surprisingly high average household income of $86,485 and you can see why times are good for Regina.
Our research shows that Regina’s economy has momentum and should keep on bustling right through 2010. There’s a university (The University of Regina), talk of a new covered Dome in the works for the city’s beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders and a new intra-module facility being built by Canadian Pacific that will make the city a major rail cargo hub, linking to Chicago and the West Coast. The city’s steady economic growth over the years is one of the reasons that Lee Parent, a freelance writer, has lived in Regina for the past 18 years. When she bought her family home in the Hillsdale neighbourhood of Regina in 1991, she was looking for a leafy street with good schools for her young daughter. “I loved Hillsdale right away,” says Parent, 60. “Of course, the public school system is good but what I really love about the area is that I can walk to almost anywhere in the city in less than half an hour.”
Whitmore Park is another convenient neighbourhood. It’s close to the university and homes cost about $250,000. Newer suburban areas include Harbour Landing where lots measuring 50 x 100 ft go for $150,000, and newly built four-bedroom homes with a garage go for $350,000 and up. “People are prospering here,” says Jeremy Cossette, a real estate agent with ReMax/Crown Real Estate in Regina. “We’re getting a one-million-sq-ft Wal-Mart store and a one-million-sq-ft Lowes. Incomes are going up all around and people want to live in nice houses. They know they can have a very comfortable lifestyle here in our city and their families can prosper. What more can you want from a city?”