Condo market stays strong

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.

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 joshk@yukon-news.com

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