Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

THE CHANGING FACE OF WHITEHORSE – The average price of a single-detached home in Whitehorse reached an unprecedented $529,500 in the second quarter of 2019, statistics show. That’s an increase of $52,500 or 11 per cent compared to the average price of $477,000 in the first three months of this year.

Home prices continue to reach record highs

The price of housing in Whitehorse jumped again

By Chuck Tobin on October 15, 2019

The price of housing in Whitehorse jumped again in the second quarter of this year, setting record highs in the cost of single-family homes and mobile homes.

The average price of a single-detached home hit $529,500, up $52,500 or 11 per cent compared to the average price of $477,000 in the first three months of this year, according to the second quarter real estate report by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics.

The average price of a mobile home sold in the first three months of this year was $255,000. The average price soared by $86,300 – 34 per cent – in the second quarter, says the report.

The price of a condo, on the other hand, fell to $354,700 from the record high of $387,400 set in the first three months of the year.

Duplexes sold for an average of $378,700 in the second quarter, up from $357,400 in the first quarter, representing a difference of $21,300 or six per cent.

The second quarter report says the price of the 12 country residential properties sold in Whitehorse fetched an average $693,200.

Remove the country residential sales from the equation and the average single-family home in Whitehorse sold for $501,000 in the second quarter compared to the average of $472,500 in the same period last year.

The values of sales in urban subdivisions were led by Granger, with the price of the four homes sold averaging $554,500.

Sales were most brisk in the Whistle Bend neighbourhood, with 21 homes selling for an average price of $515,600 compared to the average price of $489,400 for the average of the 20 homes sold in Copper Ridge, which includes Logan and Ingram.

Comments (27)

Up 1 Down 2

JB on Nov 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Properties in Whitehorse are crazy expensive! (not to different from Vancouver). On the other hand Whitehorse is really appealing to people who live in BC and can't afford a house and are currently paying a minimum of $2500 per month in rent (ridiculous). Why Whitehorse?? Why not? There is lots of outdoor activities, mountains, lakes, parks. For someone who enjoys hiking, Kayaking outdoors in general and doesn't mind the cold temperatures, Whitehorse is great. I think buying in Whitehorse will be a great investments for the future as more people are thinking about going to Whitehorse. Properties will go up in value for sure!

Up 9 Down 1

Atom on Oct 21, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Ha....it is not a better investment to buy now or ever really, at these rates.
Rent. Pay a fixed rate (no need to pay property tax, insurance, maintenance, ahem, etc)
Take the saved property tax, insurance, maintenance (things do happen) you didn't pay annually and invest it or put in RRSP's. Compounded with what your RRSP contributions are after living costs (which you should be putting away even if you own) and you have a tidy sum over the course of a mortgage....which you haven't paid any mortgage interest on.
If you have a pension, you should still be doing those things.
If you could predict the housing market, interest rates and the economy, you could make out okay. But don't sweat the equity folks profess you are losing if you don't own, because that's just bunk.
People may make money on sales of houses but there are a lot of hands out to pay during those transactions, folks don't talk about those though. Shhhhh....we own, so we are better!
And they are just repaying all those above mentioned fees!
And the Banks love you too.
Bye bye now

Up 3 Down 2

Toad Thalline Fortulong on Oct 19, 2019 at 3:35 pm

Because Logan - There is Hope that one day there will be no lawyers and no politicians in Whitehorse. It is this hope and this hope alone that is driving the real estate market.

Up 26 Down 2

Juniper Jackson on Oct 18, 2019 at 9:40 pm

My income is under 40K I'm going to end up in a tent. I hope someone starts a Seniors Tent City before i have to move out.. my rent goes up at least 250. a year, EVERY year.. only one year, has it NOT gone up, and that was before J. took over. Pensions went up.. 1.57 a month? And everyone, everything is taxed. Affordable housing? For who?

Up 25 Down 2

woodcutter on Oct 18, 2019 at 4:49 pm

1200 square foot house has a $350 000.00 construction cost, not including land. I can tell you from past experience that sub trade cost have sky rocketed in the last 15 years since I built my last house. Example, electrical contractor cost approx. $5500 in 2004, now its over $14 000.00. Furnace cost approx. $7500 in 2004 now its at $38 000.00, drywall cost approx. $7000 in 2004 now its $18 000 and I supply material. There is a reason why prices are increasing and is more then supply and demand.

I recall in the late 80's it was cheaper to buy a house then to build one. Total construction cost to build in 2004 for a 2 bedroom, full basement home was about $160 000.00. Sure the requirement to build have changed significantly and that has driven costs. But I agree , it's nuts and not sustainable.

Up 32 Down 2

Incomes on Oct 18, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Average income for 2-or-more person households in Whitehorse is over an impressive $140K, driven largely by government jobs. So those families can easily get a $500K mortgage and buy these homes, hence the market.

The Yukon has become a two-tier society. You are either in on the government gig (jobs, consultants etc etc) and none of this phases you, or you are not. And so sadly that is now the dream to which most everybody has to aspire.

Up 8 Down 6

Wilf Carter on Oct 18, 2019 at 7:56 am

Land development is the problem and its cost is a problem in Whitehorse.
We need to have 150 lots a year for next 5 years just get back to a normal housing market.
If not, our housing market will crash and a lot of people will lose money who purchased at the high end of the market.
What will really put a drop in housing is Federal Liberal tax on the sale of housing.
There should not be a market value on land for sale because of supply and demand.
There is no real market and the only developer is COW and YTG.
Government system of development is driving up housing prices which is a receipt for failure which has been proven in the past in COW.
The big problem is lack of experience in politicians understanding the problem and then putting a plan in place to address it before it falls apart.
Number one issue is politicians are not listening to people.

Up 30 Down 3

Adam Smith on Oct 17, 2019 at 10:56 pm

Really, we are all suffering? Give me a break. This is a crooked game.
When the supply and price of lots is determined by the Govt. and not the market we have a ponzi scheme that has to play out. Add in a city that wants us to pretend we want to live on top of each other in one of the least densely populated areas in the world; it is apparent the 'game' is broken.

What is not discussed is the transfer of wealth this rigged game has caused. Realtors getting 20k in commissions up from 7k in 10 years, builders getting a 30% margin from 10%, YTG passing on all their inefficiencies (I say 33% waste) with no oversight. A lot of people have done well and continue to do so.

What about all the freeloaders (sorry 25% 'declared' income that does not explain the vacations or new truck) in Yukon Housing or Grey Mountain Units?
I pity anyone trying to move here.

We need a leader to call it as it is and address it. The solution is easy but a whole industry and govt departments will stand in the way to stop and delay it.
Why do we allow YTG to set the price of land as their cost? it just gets passed on.
We are all guilty in this puppet show.

Up 15 Down 1

Gringo on Oct 17, 2019 at 5:27 pm

We are all screwed because even if the COW decided to sell the next phase of lots for cost plus 10%, do you think the contractors will sell the house they build for less when the market dictates otherwise, not a chance. Even if contractors were not allowed to buy these reduced lots people would just build and flip them...welcome to armageddon!

Up 23 Down 6

People are staying on Oct 17, 2019 at 5:05 pm

It used to be rare for someone to stay here once retired ... their house would go on the market and they'd be moving south. Now retirees are not only staying, but people are bringing their aging parents to the Yukon to live. This isn't the only reason there's a housing shortage, but probably accounts for 12? 15? more ? houses per year not coming onto the market.

Up 38 Down 8

Max Mack on Oct 17, 2019 at 3:56 pm

The Yukon, particularly Whitehorse, is an artificial economy that is massively distorted by growing government employment.

In 2018, "Public Administration" accounted for 6,658 employees. One can reasonably add to that 1,409 employees in "Educational Services" and another 1,364 employees in "Health Care and Social Assistance". These industry groups combined accounted for over 9.400 employees out of a total of almost 22,000 employees. Therefore, government employment accounted for about 42% of all employment. That's pretty close to half of all employment in the Yukon.

It can be fairly said that government employment, with its high salaries and sheer numbers of employees, is a major cost driver in terms of housing.

Increasing the minimum wage will do next to nothing to alleviate the housing affordability problem. Rather, increasing the minimum wage will shift the demand curve (admittedly, minimally) while also increasing inflation across the board - perversely putting upward pressure on housing costs.

What will make a difference? Put a brake on government employment - relieve some pressure on the demand side. On the supply side, lower building standards so that it doesn't cost $500,000 to build an average home. R2000 is a ridiculous minimum building standard. Make more land available and cheaper to attain and develop for ordinary folks. Encourage people to build on their existing properties. Subsidize development for ordinary people. Stop the perks for the development corporations and well-heeled investors -- these groups game the system to restrict housing to increase their profits.

Finally, implement relatively cheap and stable energy solutions. Wind and solar are costly and unreliable alternatives that will simply make the cost of heating homes more expensive. Oh yeah, get rid of the carbon tax which not only increases the cost of heating fuels but also increases the cost of living across the board.

Up 23 Down 0

JC on Oct 16, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Yukon Justice. Your right. And if homelessness is bad today, wait 15 years.

Up 17 Down 7

JC on Oct 16, 2019 at 9:37 pm

Mick, so you made 120% on your investment. Do you think in 15 years todays prices are going to bring in that? The bubble is going to break soon. You can take that to the bank. Then to the poor house. Scuse the pun.

Up 12 Down 21

Will Knaught-Hertz on Oct 16, 2019 at 6:21 pm

Dear Mark Johnson - Please desist with your colonial-settler-ideals. The land you refer to is spoken for. It is not for the commons. That promise is gone forever.

Up 20 Down 0

Lot prices on Oct 16, 2019 at 6:07 pm

For a very long time, lot prices were cost of development plus about 10%. At some point, and I can't remember when, maybe late 1980s or early 1990s? the City decided to sell lots at 'market value' instead. There's no going back but that was the warning sign that housing prices would start to take off, especially if lots didn't keep up with demand .. and that's where we are today. The City selling lots to the highest bidder, or keeping lot prices artificially high and the result is $500,000 plain homes that 'should' cost half that. Great for people in my situation who bought in late 80s, paid off mortgage and sold for quadruple what I paid. Not great for people trying to get into the market

Up 35 Down 2

Yukon Justice on Oct 16, 2019 at 3:56 pm

In 1980 I bought a lot in Porter Creek for $5,000.00, built a house, total cost $55,000.00, sold in 1988 for $150,000.00.
In 2008 I bought a lot in Copper Ridge for $72,000.00 built a house that is worth nine + times the cost of the lot.
I feel sorry for young people starting out today. The opportunity to own their own home is much more difficult than when we were young.

Up 23 Down 2

Mick on Oct 16, 2019 at 3:53 pm

@ Logan who said: Why the heck would people want to buy a home in Whitehorse?
Well, you either buy a home or you pay the mortgage of the person you are renting from. What do you think is the best choice? See below:

Option 1: If you buy a home you have the equity. Ex: I bought a house 15 years ago, I paid $240K. It's worth $600k now. I own ~$100K. I've made (on paper) half a million.
Option 2: If I chose to rent those 15 years, I have nothing to show for it...aside from paying off my landlords property.

15 years ago $240K was an outrageous amount of money for a brand new house and friends/family thought it was nuts. My advice is buy the house, it's expensive but property values are not going to trend downward ever here or in Canada. 15 years from now you'll have a pile of equity you can use in retirement.

Up 19 Down 18

Yukon real estate Prices are awesome! on Oct 16, 2019 at 2:41 pm

I love watching my investments pay off like this on my Whitehorse properties! Best investments I've ever made.
Thanks everyone for inflating the market!

Up 18 Down 1

Oya on Oct 16, 2019 at 1:17 pm

@JC Sorry, but I don't agree with you when you say the only reason is greed. The fact of the matter is: it is simply supply and demand; basic economics. First, YG removed all preferences for Yukon hires meaning a LOT more people starting moving up here for those high-priced jobs. Then the immigrants started to come to fill those jobs that Canadians won't take. Meanwhile, the City of Whitehorse and most communities seemed to forget about developing housing and/or putting in the infrastructure for new subdivisions to accommodate all these new people flocking to the Yukon. There were not enough houses for all the people so demand outpaced supply resulting in higher prices.
You are suggesting we all stop buying houses. That means people would have to rent, but there is a shortage of rentals also. Rent prices would skyrocket - way higher than they are today. Would that assist anyone other than the lucky landlord? And what about the people who will never be able to afford to buy? Toss them out because they can't pay the exorbitant rents? I don't think you thought this one out very well.
Generally speaking, the market should correct itself in time provided the City and the communities do their parts in setting up the infrastructure for new housing starts. Once supply equals demand, the prices should decline.
When supply exceeds demand, the prices will bottom out.
It's all about what the market will bear. It is not about greed. If you bought a house 10 years ago for $250K that is now worth $500K, I'm pretty damn sure you would be asking the half-a-mil and you would likely have no problem justifying that... you know, inflation, interest rates, your nest egg, present value of a dollar and all that.
PS It is against the law to hire immigrants (or anyone else) to fill striking union worker positions. It is a union worker's legal right to strike. Those union workers give up the right to individually sue an employer; striking (and/or filing of grievances) is their legal route to challenge employers for better conditions (and/or for legal wrongs committed by the employer against a worker).
If you want to point the finger at anyone for the crazy real estate prices here: look to the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon Government (or First Nation government) for failing to provide the needed infrastructure so supply and demand can find the proper equilibrium.

Up 20 Down 8

Revolutionary Angst in Whitehorse - RAW on Oct 16, 2019 at 12:49 pm

@ JC - And those government workers who bought investment home real estate with their over-inflated wages at the expense of those earning sub-government level wages.

Government caused inflation. Government caused homelessness. Government doing its best to maintain the social issues it says it is working to eradicate. LOL! It’s hard to un-see it.
They are supposed to work for the people and “not” work the people for...

Up 45 Down 13

Mark Jonnson on Oct 16, 2019 at 10:55 am

I don't get this. Whitehorse is a small city in a massive territory with land in all directions. How on earth are houses costing what they are? The city needs to free up more land for housing to reduce the cost. No house should be more than $250k in the Yukon if the land supply for housing was increased

Up 40 Down 8

Matthew on Oct 16, 2019 at 7:05 am

Seriously.. who wants to pay 500K for a home that needs to be completely gutted and renovated.. prices are about 300K above what they should be, something needs to happen, and quickly!

Up 14 Down 34

JC on Oct 15, 2019 at 8:45 pm

The only reason for this is greed!. It's time to fight back. Don't buy for a year or until it goes down to an affordable level. People keep buying, the greeders continue to up the price. And the Unions, especially the one representing the governments need to be reigned in. Fight them. When they go on strike, hire the immigrants to fill in. It's been done before successfully. Just takes b@!!$.

Up 32 Down 4

Guncache on Oct 15, 2019 at 8:06 pm

Where do these crazy prices come from? It was in the early 80's I bought two adjoining properties each with a one bedroom house for $35,000 and $15,000. House prices and even bare lots are insanely priced. The only good thing about it is I have 10.8 hectares of sub dividable land with a big house and a big shop and no mortgage. It's insane up here.

Up 25 Down 14

Poor Boy Struggling with the Rent on Oct 15, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Let’s get real about your estate. It ain’t worth that much. This gross over inflation serves whose interests? The interests of the few!

Hopefully climate change will speed up so all the homeless and newly homeless people can stay warm. WTF?

Up 12 Down 11

Josey Wales on Oct 15, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Of course those record highs get higher...
When one factors in the land pimps, revisionist history and the also too...record high of collective stupidity?
The graph would look suspiciously parallel...those data points.
There is a lot of record highs being achieved.
Dissenting opinions on a myriad of social engineer tactics certain is also highest?
Moderator has also too presumably thee highest work load per engaging thread?
More gators in the largest swamp, feeding as best as ever on all whom traverse their waters.
Record highs, you don’t say?
I really could drone on awhile, but record setting like...naaaah!

Up 24 Down 23

Logan on Oct 15, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Why the heck would people want to buy a home in Whitehorse?

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.