Gateway to northern B.C., Prince George is a staging ground for major hotel, residential and infrastructure projects. In recent years, the growing presence of Canadian National railways has helped diversify the city’s historically pulp-based economy and lessened some of the dependency on commodities. The North Central Region is home to the University of Northern B.C., the University Hospital of Northern B.C. and a range of professional services. These employment draws give Prince George the distinction of having likely the most diverse economy of Northern B.C., according to the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s State of the North report. While the city was holding out hope for the now-scrapped B.C. LNG project, the remaining Site C near Fort St. John project is expected to complete by 2024. A new major $35-million dollar Mariott hotel project will hopefully draw in dollars and jobs for the city's hospitality sector, while $72.6 million in residential building permits will likely contribute to the continued increased in real estate prices. Average home prices in Prince George increased 7.4 per cent from $297,185 in December 2016 to $319,167 in December 2017.