When I first moved to Iqaluit, I was lucky enough to be provided with subsidized housing through my job. It was a humble abode, but it was conveniently located and (almost) fully furnished. The 500 square feet accommodated me just fine, and I knew that I was luckier than most. However, a series of circumstances led me to seek out housing options in the private market.
And so, I began house hunting in a place known for its housing crisis.
With limited options and exorbitant rent, finding accommodations in Iqaluit is a challenge to say the least. Through my trials and tribulations, I learned some tricks of the trade. So, for those of you looking to move to Iqaluit, here are some ways to find yourself a home sweet home.
1. Co-operate; Co-habitate
I’ve only heard whispers about Iqaluit’s co-op housing. The word on the street is that the units are spacious and (relatively) affordable, but the wait list is long. My impeccable Google skills didn’t come up with much information, other than some 411.ca and Yellow Pages search results. Good luck on your mission.
2. Become a Vagabond
House sitting gigs arise fairly often, and I have friends who have saved themselves a few months' rent by house hopping. It’s a win-win situation: the homeowners' pipes don’t freeze/pets don’t starve/plants don’t die and your bank account doesn’t plummet. The only downside is living out of a suitcase, which is difficult in the Arctic given all that winter gear. But if you're up for a staycation, check out the Iqaluit House Sitters & Couch Surfers and Iqaluit Permanent & Temporary Housing Facebook pages to see what’s available.
3. Become a Home Owner
This one seems a bit extreme, but so is paying thousands of dollars into the black hole that is your landlord’s pocket. Real estate is not cheap up here, but if you do the math it just might be worthwhile. Added bonus: the incredible housing shortage in town means that it’s a seller’s market, so you may make quite the return on your property investment. Houses for sale can be found (formerly) on the Property Guys and Atiilu Real Estate websites, as well as (informally) on the Iqaluit Public Service Announcements Facebook page.
4. Shack Up
Yes, gone are the days of being able to afford your own apartment. With one-bedroom units costing upwards of $2,700 per month, shared accommodations can allow you to enjoy more space for less rent. This involves re-adjusting to life with roommates (good thing mine are so fabulous), so cross your fingers you don't end up in a frat house. You can find people looking for extra roommates on the Iqaluit Public Service Announcements and Iqaluit Permanent & Temporary Housing Facebook pages, or on bulletin boards around town (e.g. Post Office, Arctic Ventures, Baffin Deli).
5. Be Patient and Persistent
So this is my most legitimate recommendation. If you’re looking for a more traditional method of finding accommodation, there are one-, two-, and three-bedroom options available through a few property managers in town. The availability of units changes quite frequently, so it may take a while to find one that’s a good fit for you. I’ve had particularly good success dealing with Northern Properties and Nunastar. Atiilu Real Estate is also an option.
Do you have any suggestions for finding accommodation in Iqaluit or elsewhere in Nunavut? If so, leave us a note in the comment section below or get in touch through Twitter!