Developer to hold condo lottery

Housing prices in Whitehorse are no longer rising at the same frantic pace that they've seen over the last few years, but demand is still high, said Jeff Barrett, the director of planning and development for Evergreen Homes.

Housing prices in Whitehorse are no longer rising at the same frantic pace that they’ve seen over the last few years, but demand is still high, said Jeff Barrett, the director of planning and development for Evergreen Homes.

In fact, sales were so strong for the first phase of its Central Park condo development in Takhini North that Evergreen is holding a lottery for units in the second phase.

“It just started snowballing and a lot more people were finding out about it, so we thought it would be easier and more equitable if we did it by lottery,” said Barrett.

Although the Yukon government has been selling off land by lottery for years, this is a first time a private developer has done it with finished homes.

When selling off the first phase, Barrett said the demand was so high that a few people ended up getting “ticked off” when they couldn’t get the unit they wanted.

“With homes there’s a lot of emotion involved,” he said.

By putting homes up for lottery the hope is it will smooth out those emotional bumps and help promote the project, said Barrett.

“From a marketing perspective it definitely drums up a little more interest.”

After a decade that saw the price of single-family homes in Whitehorse double, the real estate market has started to level off a bit, but Barrett doesn’t see it bottoming out anytime soon.

“My personal take on it is that the market has become a little more sane,” he said. “If you have a good product, well thought out, well designed, and you have a good reputation, it seems to sell.”

In real estate, as the saying goes, it’s location, location, location. That’s something that’s working in Evergreen’s favour, said Val Smith, president of the Yukon Real Estate Association.

Over the last year, the prices of single-family homes in the territory have fallen off a bit, to $437,100 in the third quarter of 2012, down from a year earlier when prices peaked at $455,700.

But the prices for condos have never been higher. In the third quarter of 2012 the average condo sold for $330,600.

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

In a small market like Whitehorse, though, it doesn’t take much to skew the quarterly numbers, cautioned Smith.

With 30 units going up for sale at prices ranging from $309,000 to $389,000, the second phase of the Central Park development is about average for the city.

All of the units are Super Green homes, which is a important part of Evergreen’s philosophy, said Barrett.

“The sustainability factor is really the heart and soul of what we’re trying to achieve up here,” he said.

Making sure that the condo board is set up properly is also a important part of the work that they do as a developer, he added.

“Condos are actually a really great idea,” said Barrett. “You’re sharing a lot of the costs, it’s more of an affordable way of owning land, but if it’s not done properly it can be a total disaster.”

Prospective buyers can register for a unit in the new development online. The lottery is scheduled for March 11.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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