Living in: Great university towns
Located just 70km north of Stockholm near the upper shores of Lake Malaren, Uppsala is the seat of the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden and home to the oldest university in the Nordic region, Uppsala University, founded in 1477. Around 45,000 students attend classes here and join the 13 Student Nations, social clubs named after regions of Sweden that organise events, lectures, dances and other activities for their members. The university also houses a number of museums, important art collections and the largest library in the country, all adding to the city’s cultural vibrancy. The city has a large medical research and biotech sector, as well as commuters who work in Stockholm, and the unemployment rate is the lowest in Sweden. A compact centre means you can bike or walk most places, making Uppsala a very desirable place to live. “By 2050 it is estimated that the population will reach 350,000,” said Gunnar Brege, of Brege & Holm estate agents. “So the demand for houses and apartments will increase.” It can take a very long time for students to find a place to rent because demand so far outstrips supply, even up to one to two years. “Therefore many students, together with parents, buy apartments,” Brege said. “The effect is higher demand for smaller apartments and the prices are booming.”
The Fyris River divides the city, with historic buildings such as Uppsala Castle on the west side and the commercial centre on the east. Residential Fålhagen, just east of the city centre, is a very desirable area with many apartment blocks close to the action, while Luthagen, a large neighbourhood to the northwest, is not far from the university. To the south, quiet Kåbo is near many large parks. Sunnersta is a wealthy suburb about 8km south of town with both single-family homes and some student housing, as well as frequent transport connections to Uppsala. The average price for a two-bedroom property in Fålhagen and Luthagen is about five million Swedish krona, while in Sunnersta it is about 3.5 million krona. An average rent in the city is around 8,000 krona month, while a small 15sqm room rental is about 3,000 to 4,000 krona a month.
- Upsala Nya Tidning: local, regional and national news, plus student life
- Related article: Living in… Stockholm
Roughly equidistant from Montreal and Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston is home to prestigious Queen’s University, founded in 1841, as well as the Royal Military College of Canada and St Lawrence College. Every September, about 25,000 students swell Kingston’s population. Cultural institutions such as the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and festivals such as the Kingston WritersFest are well established, giving the city a cosmopolitan air. “Kingston has all the amenities of a large city, but still retains that small-town feel,” said Tim Barber, 2013 president of the Kingston & Area Real Estate Association. “We have an excellent job base, varied private and public sector employment opportunities and plenty of recreational activities.”
Many of the wealthiest and most desirable areas are in the downtown core, such as Alwington, one of Kingston’s oldest neighbourhoods with many 19th-century houses built out of the limestone that the city is known for. Homes here are within walking distance to Queen’s and the central business district. Just across the Cataraqui River, the districts that make up Kingston East are popular with military families employed at the Canadian Forces Base Kingston for their easy access to downtown. The areas in Kingston West, west of downtown, such as lakefront Fairway Hills and Reddendale, have many different types of housing stock. The average house price in a downtown area is approximately $465,000 Canadian dollars, while in Kingston East it is around C$330,000. The average house price in Kingston West ranges from approximately C$300,000 to C$320,000.
Due to the number of students entering every year, Kingston has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in Ontario, which keeps rents high. A three-bedroom flat in the city centre costs C$1,550 a month, while outside the centre it is C$1,400 a month.