With health-care premiums being eliminated next year in the latest Alberta budget, Albertans, new and established, have one more reason to feel they live in one of the most economical areas of the country.

Housing prices have softened a little in the past few months, but recent figures show the average home in Edmonton is selling for $353,000. According to MLS listings, in Greater Vancouver a similar home sells for $581,000 and in Toronto, homeowners are paying $366,000. Calgary is considerably higher at $436,000. Rents vary widely, too, with Vancouver advertising one-bedroom apartments at $1,500 a month and up, and Toronto offering a similar suite for $1,250 plus utilities. Meanwhile in Edmonton, a one-bedroom apartment just west of downtown can be obtained for $895 per month on a one-year lease.

When you consider the province has no sales tax and an annual economic growth rate of 5.5 percent, Edmonton continues to attract Canadians from all over the country.

And the outlook is promising as projects worth billions of dollars are being planned in northern Alberta, which will keep the area in the centre of economic development.

Everything considered, it’s a pretty economical city, and combined with great entertainment at more than 30 festivals a year, wonderful sports facilities, and almost-unlimited employment opportunities, it’s a great place to live and work, too.

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