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Real estate tales from the borderlands

Sizing up capital cities along U.S.-Canada boundary

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About two months ago, I took a look at how the housing markets in two of North America's capital cities -- Washington, D.C., and Ottawa, Canada -- fared in the recent downturn. As it turned out, both markets saw some slight downturn, but with a stable employment base of federal workers and government lobbyists, the cities came through the global recession without the bruising real estate market maladies experienced in other major cities. That got me thinking about state and provincial capital cities, so I abstractly chose a region in North America along the Canada/U.S. border to take a peek at municipalities where smaller but equally prevalent government bureaucracies were a key factor in the local economies. My region of choice was northern New England and the province of Quebec, which borders my three states of focus: Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. It was interesting to throw the province of Quebec's capital city, Quebec City, into the mix because of the four ...