Whitehorse Daily Star

Housing prices continue their lengthy upswing

Prices are up again across the board for residential properties in Whitehorse,

By Chuck Tobin on March 2, 2018

Prices are up again across the board for residential properties in Whitehorse, whether it be single-detached homes or condo units, say the most recent numbers.

This week’s real estate report by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics says that in the fourth quarter of 2017, the average Whitehorse house sale price was $463,400.

That is a record-high, and an increase of $43,100 from the fourth quarter of 2016.

The report says Copper Ridge was again the hottest ticket in town for the number of urban sales and the value of transactions, though country residential properties remain supreme.

In the last three months of 2017, statistics show, 15 single-detached homes in Copper Ridge sold for an average price of $510,700.

The second-hottest neighbourhood was Whistle Bend, where 10 homes sold for an average of $468,500, says the report.

The seven country residential properties sold in the fourth quarter of last year went for an average of $596,500.

The value of real estate sales in the last three months of 2017 represented an all-time record for fourth-quarter sales, says the bureau’s Gary Brown.

Even if the abnormal $18.8 million in the sale of commercial properties from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 was removed the equation, Brown told the Star, it would still be a record fourth quarter.

The statistics, for instance, show that the value of real estate transactions in the final three months of 2017 hit $72 million, compared to $48.8 million in 2016 and $50.3 million in 2015.

In all of last year across the city, the 283 single-detached houses sold for an average of $444,400, up $22,900 or 5.4 per cent from the average price of $421,500 for the 285 single-detached homes sold in 2016.

The average price of the 195 condo units sold last year rose to $317,800 – up $8,500 or 2.7 per cent over 2016 prices.

The 26 mobile homes on their properties sold for an average of $259,600. That’s up 14 per cent from the average price of $227,400 in 2016.

The average price of the 49 duplex units sold last year was $335,400, representing an increase of $21,500 or 6.8 per cent compared to the average of $313,900 paid for the 37 duplexes sold in 2016.

The most recent population figures to the end of last September estimated the Yukon’s population at 38,641, a rise of 20 per cent from Sept. 30, 2007.

Statistics show government spending is by far the largest contributor to the Yukon’s gross domestic product.

Second is the mining and oil and gas sector.

Marc Perreault, the president of the Yukon Real Estate Association, said Wednesday he believes the increase in real estates prices is partly due to the lack of land available for housing and development.

It goes back to the principle of supply and demand: when there is not enough land for new housing, upward pressure is put on prices for existing housing, he said.

Perreault said more land for housing allows contractors to respond with new construction.

That which in turn keeps older homes at more affordable prices for some.

Increasing consumer confidence, he suggests, is behind the seeming upswing in commercial and industrial sales of real estate, as Outside investment is beginning to flow into the territory.

Perreault said the mounting confidence is being influenced by things like activity in mining and mineral exploration, enhanced relationships with First Nations and an expansion of the tourism sector.

Comments (13)

Up 3 Down 0

Sorry on Mar 8, 2018 at 1:07 pm

To break it to you all, prices are not that high here relative to household income, about the Canada average.

The real Yukon issue is income disparity, that we have built a 2-tier system. You are either an 'in', one of the 9,200 (and rising) government paycheques, plus benefits and pension galore, or an 'out'. Your perspective on the cost of everything will adjust accordingly. A $450,000 house is no biggie when you have a guaranteed income for the 25-year mortgage term, and the banks know it.

No matter the politicial colours, Yukon will never build a decent private economy all the time that government payroll keeps expanding by hundreds a year, sucking in the best talent.

Up 2 Down 1

doug martens on Mar 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm

The main reason for the high prices is the artificially low interest rates available currently on mortgages. That has kept the payments "low". I strongly caution any potential buyer to add one percent to the current rate and work out how much your monthly payment increase. $400 dollars on a $500k mortgage. Now try it at a ten percent increase! And remember, rates went as high as around 20 percent in the early 80's. I got caught back then and have been debt-shy ever since.  AND should rates rise significantly, your property values will go down the crapper as well as your payments rising significantly! That's higher payments and lower property values. 
And if you've already signed on at these prices, I wish you the very best!

Up 2 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Mar 7, 2018 at 4:48 pm

You'll find that most senior bureaucrats pull up stakes and head for the warmer climes with their pockets stuffed when they retire, so most of what they approved for the elected people to approve does not impact on them very much at all. Central Vancouver Island seems to attract a good number of them.

Up 4 Down 3

jc on Mar 5, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Of course housing prices are rising. Government workers wages are steadily rising. The rest of us in the private industry have to bear the brunt of it. I notice the food prices rising too every time the government gets raises. Soon, only government workers will be able to afford any kind of housing. Maybe it's time for the rest of us to set up tent cities around government buildings. It worked once. Just need a leader. Helen Hollywood, where are you?

Up 3 Down 2

A Regular Working (Private Industry) Mature Single Yukon Woman on Mar 5, 2018 at 7:40 pm

I'm angry, very angry. Currently living in a basement suite, awesome!! Love it, Landlords are fantastic, but they're having health issues with stairs so looking at selling & moving. They had a realtor come through to assess the place and the realtor proceeded to tell them they could be getting ANOTHER $200.00/month on their rental! Is this what you're going to advise the 'new' owners?! How dare you! I CAN'T AFFORD another 200.00 a month, although I could pay it, I'd have to cut the grocery budget, eating is over-rated anyway, right? That's another conversation.
Apparently the world is now made up of youth & seniors, anyone in the middle is completely ignored. I'm okay with that to a point, give me an affordable option, not even necessarily money, actual housing options, so I can have a roof over my head and I will gladly participate and pay my own way as I've always done. NOT a 'density' building! I need my pets, garden and sunshine to make life worth living.

Up 5 Down 4

drum on Mar 5, 2018 at 10:18 am

Have a look at Senior employees wage packages (DMs, ADMS, Directors) not just wages but severance package - money could be saved there.. How about the waste of money for chunks of land bought and paid for by YG without asking neighbors in residential areas if it is the best place for a YG run residence.
In my humble opinion the Real Estate Association sets prices amongst themselves for maximum profits of the Real Estate agents.

Up 0 Down 3

Josey on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:14 pm

@north of 60
What pattern?

Up 4 Down 4

Mike on Mar 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Can you say 'mini Vancouver'? Comparatively speaking it's really on par. I mean as far as quality of life versus cost. I think I'd rather live down south.

Whitehorse's housing and rental market is a joke! As well as high cost of living for other things like heat, electrical and other utilities...you just exist to make ends meet if your lucky and for what? So you can enjoy your 2 months of summer if your lucky! Good luck!

Up 7 Down 0

north_of_60 on Mar 4, 2018 at 12:39 pm

BnR, going into debt happens when your total spending is more than your total earnings. Your comment is like saying you went into debt because of the food you bought not because of the money you spent on booze, smokes and lotto.

Up 4 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Mar 4, 2018 at 8:49 am

So when will the first nations get on with leasing land as the politicians said they were working so very hard at? In the present market both Taan and KD are in a very good position to make a boat-load of money and create some jobs - so what's the hold up? Or could it be the politicians were fibbing? Say it isn't so.

Up 1 Down 1

Joe on Mar 4, 2018 at 12:12 am

Problem is too many people buying / getting ripped off buying overpriced private sold homes without appraisals. Before you buy get an appraisal

Up 0 Down 7

BnR on Mar 3, 2018 at 10:32 pm

North_of, YG doesn't go into debt on wages. Capitol works projects are where the debt is incurred. Wages and O&M are factored into the budget.

Up 9 Down 0

north_of_60 on Mar 2, 2018 at 6:54 pm

YTG goes deeper into debt to pay for government employee wage increases and housing prices rise. The pattern should be obvious to anyone with at least half a brain and a government job.

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