Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

The city is seen Jan. 30 from the clay cliffs.

Housing market remains red-hot

The Yukon’s real estate market continues to surge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Tim Giilck on February 19, 2021

The Yukon’s real estate market continues to surge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest figures from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics show the average sale price of a single-detached house in Whitehorse was $598,800, a record-high and an increase of $73,100, or 13.9 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2019.

The average condo sale price in Whitehorse was $459,900, also a record high.

The data show that in the fourth quarter of 2020, the total value of real estate transactions in the territory was $115.9 million: $96.2 million in Whitehorse and $19.7 million for the rest of Yukon.

Marc Perrault, the president of the Yukon Real Estate Association, said in an interview with the Star this week he doesn’t believe the market will cool off significantly anytime soon.

Perrault said he believes it’s being driven primarily by an influx of people coming into the Yukon.

Many of them are likely looking to escape the pandemic by moving to a jurisdiction with fewer people, he suggested.

He also noted the territory has a “strong immigration program” for people outside Canada.

They are also likely motivated by the Yukon’s stable economy, Perrault said. The territory’s quality of life is attractive as well.

He’s looking at the situation as a simple supply and demand challenge.

“We don’t have a lot of housing, so there’s a real demand that’s pushing prices up.”

Some of the pressure is also being driven by current residents looking to get out of the rental market, which is equally tight and pricey, Perrault said, but he attributed most of it to people immigrating to the Yukon.

Perrault said he expects the new properties coming online in the Whistle Bend area will temporarily alleviate the situation, but there’s no obvious sign the real estate boom will drop off in the immediate future.

“There’s just a demand for housing without an adequate supply,” he said. “And interest rates are favourable for buying.”

Mobile homes sold for an average price of $317,900. Condos hit a record high of $459,900.

Duplexes were also at record prices, with an average of $466,100.

In Whitehorse, the value of real estate transactions totalled a record-high $342.1 million in 2020 compared to $308.2 million in 2019, an increase of $33.9 million, or 11.0 per cent.

According to the report, the total value of the Yukon’s real estate transactions in the fourth quarter rose in 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the total value of real estate transactions was $115.9 million (a record high for the fourth quarter) compared to $96.3 million during the same period in 2019, an increase of $19.5 million, or 20.3 per cent.

Comments (26)

Up 1 Down 0

drum on Feb 25, 2021 at 5:18 pm

Developers and Real Estate people are controlling this market - it is disgusting. How are our home GROWN kids going to afford a home?

Up 2 Down 2

David Dixon on Feb 25, 2021 at 3:29 pm

It is a hopeless situation concerning Whitehorse rents and home prices. Yes land lots are limited which underlines the need for a land lottery. The average price of a land lot is 90-100 thousand dollars. |But then try and find a builder willing to build your home from your blueprint. Most contractors state that they will not take on private builds. Then consider the scarcity of carpenters with their helpers which is large i.e. a very long waiting time to secure their services. Builders get their workers and family to bid on land lottery lots. These builders then will bid a large 2000 square foot home for 220 dollars per square foot causing the total construction cost to be 440 thousand dollars. These builders could build an 1100 square foot 3 bedroom 1.5 bathroom home for 200 dollars per square foot meaning the total construction cost would be 200x1100= 220 thousand dollars. They won't build the 1100 square foot home because it won't create enough profit for them.
Why doesn't the Yukon government help finance a mobile home trailer park by servicing these lots with money from the federal government. Here is another idea. I enter the land lottery and win a lot for 90 thousand dollars. Let us say that I have have found an individual willing to be the general contractor for my proposed home build. Now let us say that YTG will back/guarantee my proposed cost to build my new home from foundation to a move in state. Then I can go to my bank and arrange a construction loan which I can with money from at each stage of my home construction after I give the bank the bill from each stage of home construction. My builder has told me it will cost 220 dollars per square foot for my proposed 1100 square foot 3 bedroom 1.5 bathroom detached one level home. This means that my total completed home cost for my home which is now ready to move into will have cost me 90 thousand for the land + 242 thousand for the home = $332,000.00 dollars. I could realize this proposed home provided YTG would guarantee with my Scotiabank to back my home construction cost.
Why isn't YTG backing Yukon citizens home construction loans now? Mike Dixon, Whitehorse

Up 7 Down 0

You may not need YTG on Feb 25, 2021 at 9:58 am

Being a YTG employee is not the only way to get a mortgage.
I worked three jobs for many years. After about a decade I had saved a 20% down payment. This was less than three years ago, not 30 years ago when housing was relatively cheap.

Being frugal goes a long way, and it pays off after many years. I would have loved to have bought a new car, but I settled for an old beater which I still drive today. I would have loved to have gone on an expensive vacation every year, but I settled for the occasional "economic" vacations.

During that decade of saving I had considered purchasing a home with a sibling. This could have worked, as we were both employed. I know of multi-generational families buying homes together.
Sometimes you need to start small. Instead of buying a $600,000 starter home, consider buying a trailer for $150,000. You could eventually upgrade. I know of families that have done this.

You may not need a YTG job if you are willing to start small, work hard, save hard, be patient (10 years for me), and be frugal.

Up 2 Down 7

Wilf Carter on Feb 24, 2021 at 4:17 pm

I can't stand people running our community down. Where's the respect?

Up 9 Down 4

Jim on Feb 23, 2021 at 10:23 pm

@john, yes immigrants are also doctors, dentist and other professionals. But if you did read my comment, I said immigrants working at a gas bar or fast food joint. Of course it would be great if we had an increase in doctors and dentists, but I think you will agree that there is not an abundance of either.
@woodcutter, I’m not sure if you’ve been in for a mortgage lately, but with low interest and covid, banks are not giving out mortgages to easy. Very seldom does a bank take a couples 4 or 5 jobs into account. And others living under the same roof may help with the costs, but the mortgage is usually one couple. As stated in a previous comment, another 1000 workers in the last year alone by the government is a bigger insight as to what’s really going on. Government jobs are stable, usually permanent and even with covid salaries are still there.

Up 21 Down 7

YT on Feb 23, 2021 at 1:21 pm

Seems to me the ones making out like bandits right now are the realtors.

Up 31 Down 4

Yukoner on Feb 23, 2021 at 3:37 am

I’m tired of listening to people use “YTG” workers as a valid argument point. Many of us single, YTG workers, who are trying to buy their first house, cannot afford a two bedroom house on a single income. You’re only option is a trailer in a trailer park, even then you’re paying $400-600 a month on pad rentals. You can’t win right now.

Up 18 Down 2

Charlie's Aunt on Feb 22, 2021 at 2:15 pm

@ Jack; You are correct. Some of us remember when interest rates went to 14% on mortgages and many house keys were handed in to banks. People couldn't afford the payments, realized they had only so far paid off the door knob, and walked away. Those who have recently taken out huge mortgages with low interest rates may have an unmanageable shock if the economy recovers.

Up 6 Down 15

Matthew on Feb 21, 2021 at 6:33 pm

Come on Sue Sez, here, let me do your sons homework.. www.rentfaster.ca type in your price range and enjoy hundreds of rentals in different major Cities..

Up 45 Down 11

Woodcutter on Feb 20, 2021 at 9:16 pm

Wrong jim, the immigrants play a huge role in the market. That person working the cash register also works cleaning rooms, her husband drives truck during the day and stocks shelves at night. Both working two sometimes three jobs. Combine this with several other wage earners living under the same roof and all kicking in to operate the place, makes for great savings, excellent credit rating and purchasing power you've never seen before. A couple of paychecks from mid level government workers is probably less than half.

Up 35 Down 2

jack on Feb 20, 2021 at 9:00 pm

Even modest inflation in the economy can trigger a rapid decline in house prices. I know of several people who couldn't handle even 1/2 point increase in their mortgage.

Up 26 Down 2

Sue Sez on Feb 20, 2021 at 8:51 pm

Mathew, please point my son in the direction of the Any City where a 1 bdrm. Appt. can be rented for the wee sum of $1,000.00 per month. Even with parental back-up, that many do not enjoy, it is community cluster flop housing based on incomes for a lot of young - trying to be working professionals. I had to share housing for years, 45+ ago, but eventually people want their own place. Hard for the average worker.

Up 36 Down 7

John on Feb 20, 2021 at 8:02 pm

@jim... immigrants are dentists, doctors, professionals.... might want to have a look around.

Up 31 Down 29

To Unreal on Feb 20, 2021 at 7:01 pm

Hey Unreal--leave then. Some of us have lived here all of our lives and love it here. You don't?-- go back to the city.

Up 26 Down 11

martin on Feb 20, 2021 at 3:16 pm

I wonder if YG creared this situation on purpose or just by ineptitude?

Up 30 Down 5

More guvvy on Feb 20, 2021 at 2:18 pm

Another 1,700 government jobs in Yukon since the Liberals change in Nov 2016.
Fully 1,000 of them in the last year alone. (Yukon Bureau of Statistics)

All you need to know to rationalize the bid up in house prices combined with record-low interest rates and equity saving as nobody spending on vacations. Been a lot of second (rental) home buying in last year from those folks that still have those incomes.

Up 62 Down 7

Jim on Feb 20, 2021 at 11:01 am

Well we know one thing for sure. Immigrants that come to the Yukon and working at a gas bar or fast food joint are most likely not buying a house in the upper $500k. Our stable economy is government jobs. Feds, YTG, First Nations, City, etc. Those are the salaries that can get a mortgage and buying these properties. I would love to see a reporter do a story on private sector compared to government sector ratio, job numbers, salary difference, etc.

Up 45 Down 9

MikeC on Feb 20, 2021 at 8:58 am

Must be lots of drug dealers moving into Whitehorse then..who’s making all that money up there that they can afford those prices? Those prices are starting to rival Kelowna prices without the HA and wineries. YTG doesn’t pay that much! Hmmm

Up 33 Down 68

Wilf Carter on Feb 19, 2021 at 7:46 pm

The 15 people that thinks Whitehorse is a S**thole please leave so someone who wants to live here can have a house.
The housing problem is in crises because our present liberal government did nothing to keep demand and supply equal.
Larry Bagnell promoted $950 for community development in writing to the Yukoners but delivered nothing.
Trudeau only wants to help dictatorships around the world instead of Canadians.
Larry does as he is told to do so he can collect his $189,000 tax payer paid salary and buy $500 coats.

Up 16 Down 12

Terrance on Feb 19, 2021 at 7:16 pm

Of the $116,000,000.00 for the one quarter what percentage is the parasite rakeoff or unadded value.

Up 40 Down 8

Naturelover on Feb 19, 2021 at 5:36 pm

It is easier to fool people,
than to show them that they have been fooled.

Up 45 Down 15

Unbelievable on Feb 19, 2021 at 4:31 pm

What would the average house price in Whitehorse be without the ridiculous transfer payments YT receives and all the government jobs. It will come to an end one day.

Up 40 Down 39

Tater on Feb 19, 2021 at 4:22 pm

@Unreal
Perhaps your best action is to leave, sooner than later.

Up 37 Down 17

Matthew on Feb 19, 2021 at 3:41 pm

Just waiting for the next huge crash. 20% minimum coming up. Then people will be stuck in homes that are worth a lot less than paid.
All this means is that the price of rentals are through the roof and NOT affordable, for a young professional it's simply not worth moving here to start your life. For $1000 you can get 1 bedroom apartment in ANY city in Canada. Not Whitehorse though.. Can't even get basement suite for under $1500.. something terribly wrong here.. I mean who pays 500K for a home that needs a complete reno? Oh right, gov workers, cause they're the only ones who can afford them..

Up 70 Down 90

Unreal on Feb 19, 2021 at 3:19 pm

Not sure why people continue to purchase houses in this Northern infested sh@thole.

Up 34 Down 26

Josey Wales on Feb 19, 2021 at 2:40 pm

just with this...
Many of them are likely looking to escape the pandemic by moving to a jurisdiction with fewer people, he suggested.
He also noted the territory has a “strong immigration program” for people outside Canada."

The comments on this tale should truly entertain. I will officially not partake
beyond this.

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