City accused of profiteering on Stan McCowan sales

The Yukon Real Estate Association is concerned about the cost and bid process used to sell off the Stan McCowan housing lots.

The Yukon Real Estate Association is concerned about the cost and bid process used to sell off the Stan McCowan housing lots.

“The city is moving away from a long-standing policy where the territorial government sold land at the cost of development and ensured a surplus of lots,” said Terry Bergen of the Yukon Real Estate Association.

“Now, they’re creating a shortage and then asking people to bid on them.

“If a developer were doing that it would be called profiteering.”

In the lot lottery, 10 lots are priced between $74,559 and $154,350.

Most of the single-family lots are around 600 square meters.

Three of the larger, more expensive lots — including 36 Stan McCowan Place, which at 1,270 square metres is going for $154,350 — are large enough for duplexes.

These prices are much higher than the last five single-family lots that were sold in the Copper Ridge area, said Bergen.

“Those were in the $50,000 to $80,000 range for single-family lots,” he said.

“And they were probably worth more —their market value is probably higher than these new lots.

“So it looks like a 30 to 40 per cent increase in pricing now that the city is doing the development.”

The lot prices are fair, said city planner Zoe Morrison.

“I’m not sure how the Yukon government comes up with their prices,” said Morrison.

“Our lots did get a market value assessment done and then we adjusted that price.”

“So it’s based on the market conditions in the Whitehorse area. It doesn’t make sense for the city to be subsidizing lots.”

When it comes to the multiresidential lots, the Real Estate Association isn’t as concerned about the price.

 The problem is that the lots are being sold through a bidding process.

One multiple-family lot will be sold to the highest bidder at a minimum price of $250,000.

Meanwhile, two blocks containing five townhouse units each will be bid on at a minimum of $198,000 and $189,000.

“The multifamily and the duplex lots, historically, have been sold by lottery,” said Bergen.

“And they’re doing that by bid process.

“I guess I have some concerns where the city controls the location and the numbers of lots for sale, which drives the prices up, and then ask people to bid on them.”

The Real Estate Association has been warning for months that the city will cause irreversible economic damage if it doesn’t provide more single-family lots.

Based on past sales within the city, the association predicts Whitehorse needs at least 125 new lots each year.

The new Stan McCowan subdivision doesn’t represent anywhere near what the community needs for new land development, said Bergen.

“Our stand is that we expect the city and the territory to provide a surplus of lots so that we don’t have a shortage,” he said.

“This creates an escalation of prices just due to the fact that there’s no lots available.”

The next batch of lots to be offered up in Whitehorse will be the undeveloped lots scattered throughout Porter Creek.

After that will be the Arkell expansion — now named Ingram subdivision — which should be ready some time next year.

Information packages on the land bids and lot lottery are available at city hall.

As of noon Tuesday, 23 bid packages and 27 lot lottery packages had been picked up.

The closing date for bids is October 10 at 2 p.m.

The lot lottery will close Friday, September 12 at 2 p.m.

The city will then hold the lottery draw on September 15. The lots will be transferred to owners by the end of the year.