Yukon News

Condo market stays strong

Josh Kerr Monday January 21, 2013

Mike Thomas/Yukon News


Condo prices in Whitehorse continue to climb while the cost for single-family homes has gone down.

Whitehorse condos reached record-high prices last year.

Yukon Bureau of Statistics is reporting that the average condo unit in the city sold for $330,600 in the third quarter of 2012.

That’s a 10.3 per cent jump from the previous record, which was set only a few months earlier.

But while condo prices continue to climb, prices for single-family homes continued to trend downwards.

The average price for a single-family home is now $437,100. That’s an $18,000 drop from the third quarter of 2011, when the average price peaked at $455,700.

The latest numbers didn’t come as a surprise to Val Smith, the president of the Yukon Real Estate Association.

“It seems consistent with what we’ve experienced working in the field the last year,” she said. “We definitely felt that we had made the transition to sellers’ market to buyers’ market.”

However, she cautioned about reading too much into these short-term statistics, especially in a small market like Whitehorse.

“It takes six or eight high-end country sales to skew the average home price,” she said.

It’s a warning that was echoed by the statistics bureau in its report.

The average price for a mobile home in Whitehorse was $241,200 in the third quarter of 2012, which is down more than $30,000 from the peak in 2011. However, with only five sales during that period, “there is a fair bit of volatility in the average sale price of mobile homes due to the relatively small number of sales in any given quarter,” the bureau’s report states. 

The number of sales was down across the board in the third quarter.

Single-family homes saw the biggest decline, with a 29 per cent slump in transactions, based on a five-year average.

At 52 sales, condos were well above the five-year average of 29, but down slightly from the record high of 80 sales set in the last quarter.

Because condos are largely pre-sold, an entire development will often close in the same quarter, skewing the numbers a bit, said Smith.

She doesn’t see anything ominous in these numbers.

“I think all of it reflects that it is still a really healthy, high-priced little market,” she said. “On the bright side as well, a lot of supply, a lot of good options for buyers.”

The biggest question is whether the unprecedented growth of condos and high-density developments can be absorbed into the market, said Smith.

So far, the answer seems to be yes, she said.

Contact Josh Kerr at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Riptide wrote:
6:19pm Friday January 25, 2013

“if people were to use their brains and do some research and not jump at the first opportunity then they can dictate to the market.” - hmmmm

Hmmm, that’s fine for 1 individual person who already has a place to live and can afford to wait (not everyone has that option). But unless EVERYONE does the same thing, then it doesn’t mean squat. You can bitch all you want about condo/housing prices being too high… but as long as the market says that price is reasonable (ie places being sold/bought) then we can bitch, but the price isn’t too high.

christina wrote:
6:48pm Wednesday January 23, 2013

to the last comment, have you tried getting house insurance in Yukon?  the cost they set to rebuild your house is almost double what your entire property is!! my property (on an acre) on the market is worth 240k but to rebuild my insurance company says will be 396k!!! go figure.  so using that formula, the devolopers are not making much money, maybe the real estate people are though for sure.

Bin Fine wrote:
10:52pm Tuesday January 22, 2013

I am neither a real-estate person nor developer but you have just near perfectly explained how the market dictates the price…  not the actual cost.    Everyone has to make their own judgement whether to wait for prices to go down or go up.  If they decide to wait for a year, they might be spending $15-$20K in rent while they wait.  That has to be factored in also.  Right now, the buying public as a group are demonstrating that $330k is currently the right price.  Any nervousness about future trends is presumably already factored in by anyone who is considering such a purchase.

hmmm wrote:
7:44pm Tuesday January 22, 2013

I can only gather that Bin and Monkey are either real-estate people or developers. They would have people be mortgaged for the rest of their lives. Yes I agree the market dictates the value of the place being sold but, if people were to use their brains and do some research and not jump at the first opportunity then they can dictate to the market. This is similar to what happened in the US. It’s starting to happen down south now.

So these developers and real-estate people would have the people of Whitehorse believe that they should be paying more for a condo or house than in Vancouver. Hahahaha well if Yukoners are stupid enough to believe that and the belief the Whitehorse market was notoriously low then you are real SUCKERS. Get the governments to open up more land to be developed and watch the housing prices drop. Another factor is the low interest rates. When the interest rates start climbing and they will, let’s see if your belief that housing prices won’t drop. I will bet my house against yours that the minute interest rates go up a point housing prices will drop within the year because the people carrying these big mortgages won’t be able to absorb the extra costs and especially if their mortgage is due up. You see the developers and real-estate people want buyers and sellers ignorant of the facts and don’t care if you have a huge mortgage that you will be paying long after retirement.

Educate yourself and wait it won’t be as long as you think.

Darkroom wrote:
5:40am Tuesday January 22, 2013

Well, I have to say I agree with both of the previous comments.
$250 for a cord of firewood: ridiculous amount for what it is but people keep buying so there is no way for prices to drop down.

Monkey wrote:
3:07am Tuesday January 22, 2013


You are ignoring the basics of a free market system. This is Grade 8 economics.  The market sets the price, if no one was buying then prices would drop BUT people are buying.  The prices are higher on everything than the we’re a year ago and if you are waiting for them to drop they won’t.

The market in whse is correcting after an eternity of notoriously low housing prices.  Two govie workers shaking down 80k a year can certainly afford $500000 let alone $300000 for a place

Bin Fine wrote:
12:42am Tuesday January 22, 2013

I find it humorous that so many Yukoners write letters stating that the prices of various properties are too high.  You should understand that if people will pay it, then it is the correct price!!  The price is dictated by the market, not the cost per square foot to build it!!  If you are waiting to buy a house at less than market price, you might be waiting for a long long time.

hmmm wrote:
10:39pm Monday January 21, 2013

Wow I never took Yukoners to be suckers but anyone buying a condo for $330k is one of the biggest suckers I have seen. The real-estate people and developers are laughing at you so hard I am surprised they can keep a straight face while looking at you in the eye or until you sign the contract. You should not be paying more than $200k at the most!! If I was anyone buying a condo I would be asking what was the cost per square foot to build. If the real-estate person won’t tell you that run don’t walk run from them. Then compare that price against the market. Also ensure there is nowhere in the contract where it gives the developer the right to alter the development by a percentage. The only ones making serious money right now are the developers and real-estate people because they are suckering in a lot of people who have not researched what the real cost should be.

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