Premier Ranj Pillai speaks with reporters in the Yukon government cabinet office on April 27. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

Premier Ranj Pillai speaks with reporters in the Yukon government cabinet office on April 27. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

Residential construction spending skyrockets in the Yukon

Data shows increase of 21.6 per cent over one-year period

The monthly investment in residential building construction in the Yukon has increased, according to Statistics Canada data received from Yukon Bureau of Statistics on May 17.

The data showed that the estimated seasonally-adjusted investment in building construction in the territory for March 2023 was $38.8 million, an increase of $6.9 million or 21.6 per cent, compared to the figure for March 2022 at $31.9 million.

The date also showed that compared to the figure for February 2023 — $33 million — the March 2023 investment in building construction in the Yukon increased by $5.8 million or 17.7 per cent.

“Nationally, investment in building construction in March 2023 decreased 0.6 per cent compared to the figure for March 2022 and decreased 1.3 percent compared to the figure for February 2023,” it was noted in an information page provided through the Yukon Bureau of Statistics.

On a year-to-date basis from January through March, according to the data, the total value of investment in building construction in the Yukon was $106.7 million. This represents an increase of $12.7 million, or 13.5 per cent, compared to the same time period in 2022 which stood at $94 million; residential investment of $68.3 million in the same period increased by $3.8 million while non-residential investment of $38.4 million was up $8.9 million.

A Yukon Liberal Caucus news release highlighted the upward trend in investment, pointing to recent efforts by Premier Ranj Pillai and the Yukon government to attract Outside investment in housing development to the territory, which the caucus said echoes the promising start to the 2023 construction season.

During a two-day trip to Toronto in May, Pillai signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ontario government which is focused on promoting investment and economic and housing development opportunities in the territory.

“The agreement between premiers will help exchange best practices for creating investment-ready housing development and encourage trade and commerce in the housing sector between the Yukon and Ontario,” read a government statement after the agreement was signed. “The knowledge, skills and connections obtained through this partnership are among the several approaches taken to enhance the market housing inventory in the Yukon.”

The statement also argued that in the 2023 territorial budget, Yukon Party MLAs all voted against investments in housing in the territory.

The government said this included $25.9 million for land development and $22.4 million for housing projects in Dawson City, Watson Lake and Teslin.

It was also noted there’s $8.7 million in funding to build affordable housing and support development of community housing, $8.2 million in loans to assist with land and housing development and home ownership, $3.9 million in subsidies and supports for renters across the territory, and $1.6 million for seniors supportive housing in Whitehorse.

The Yukon Party opposition said the government’s housing policies have caused investors to move away from the territory’s housing and rental markets.

Yukon Party housing critic Yvonne Clarke accused the government of mismanaging housing development in the territory.

“Time and time again, policies like rent control and bans on no-cause evictions have been shown to reduce private investment in rental housing markets,” she said. “The issue is only made worse by a lack of lots due to their decisions that have delayed land development across the territory.”

Contact Patrick Egwu at patrick.egwu@yukon-news.com