Housing prices tickle the $300,000 mark

After shooting up 99 per cent in the last six years, the average price of a single-family home in Whitehorse is now $297,400, according to the Yukon…

After shooting up 99 per cent in the last six years, the average price of a single-family home in Whitehorse is now $297,400, according to the Yukon bureau of statistics.

The latest stats also show Whitehorse’s third quarter had the highest transaction values in recorded history at $60 million, 42.6 per cent higher than last year’s third quarter.

There were 207 transactions, including 121 single family homes, 27 family lots, 15 mobile homes, 11 condos, 13 duplexes, four multi-family homes, 11 commercial properties and five industrial.

The price of a single-family home was $42,300 higher than last year, an increase of 16.6 per cent.

Copper Ridge saw the greatest gains jumping 30.2 per cent, to an average of $331,800 from $254,8000.

The average country residential home increased 14.5 per cent, to $353,000 from $308,300.

Riverdale hopped up to $256,700 from $224,400, an increase of 14.4 per cent.

Porter Creek saw a modest 8.4 per cent increase, to $281,700 from $259,800.

Rising housing prices limited some people’s choices, and others are priced out of the housing market, said Mike Racz, president of the Yukon Real Estate Association.

“It means it’s going to get more and more difficult for people to buy homes,” said Racz.

“Right now you can’t even buy a lot, people don’t have a choice.

“It’s either you buy country residential home or a you buy a used house, and not necessarily in the place you want to be.”

But, it’s not quite as bad as the numbers would have you believe, he added.

“You can still get housing under $300,000; it’s not as bad as what the stats say,” said Racz.

“You can still get a half-decent home for $250,000, or $270,000 or $290,000.

“I’ve got two of them listed, so they have to be available.”

It’s the homes in Copper Ridge that are selling for between $400,000 and $600,000 that are skewing the numbers a little, he said.

Housing prices continue to climb because construction and material costs are going up and there are no lots for people to buy because the city’s traditional two-year lot inventory is empty, added Racz.

That inventory should be back within two years, said city manager Dennis Shewfelt.

The city plans to bring 20 to 30 new lots online at the Stan McCowan Arena site by September of 2008 and more lots in the Takhini North and Arkell area by 2009, he said.

“If everything goes as we think it should, we should be back at a two-year inventory, let’s call that 150 lots or so, we should be able to get back to that with the release of the combination of Arkell and Takhini North.”

The city did have a two-year inventory until 2005, and then sales outstripped projections at rate of two-to-one, he said.

“We sold something like 120 and then 140 — 2005 and 2006 really skewed things,” he said.

The statistics are not surprising, and they’re not bad news for everyone, said Mayor Bev Buckway.

“Things are good so the prices go up. Now, when someone goes to sell their house, that’s to their benefit.

“It’s not as good for someone who’s trying to buy.”

The housing boom has also led to downtown redevelopment and a greater mixture of housing types, she added.