The gamble to find housing in Whitehorse

The McKenna family is feeling lucky. They were one of 158 people who put their name in a hat for a chance to win one of seven lots in Porter Creek.

The McKenna family is feeling lucky.

They were one of 158 people who put their name in a hat for a chance to win one of seven lots in Porter Creek.

Now they can plan to build a bigger home for their three children, complete with a new backyard.

They never expected their name to be pulled, said wife Krystal McKenna.

Tuesday’s land lottery was the highest turnout the city has seen for one of its lotteries, which demonstrates the impact of the lot shortage in Whitehorse.

The Porter Creek lots, all on Grove Street, average about 800 square metres in size and range from $120,000 to $130,000.

“These lots are really highly priced and they ought not to be,” said Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce president Rick Karp.

Karp and Yukon Real Estate Association president Mike Racz sounded off Monday evening to city council on the dwindling supply of housing in Whitehorse.

“Housing is a prime requirement for sustained economic growth, individual respect and personal safety,” said Racz on Monday.

“It is, in fact, a fundamental necessity and restricting its availability to residents is inappropriate and unacceptable.”

They encouraged politicians to proceed with controversial infill developments in Porter Creek and Riverdale to avoid an even greater housing squeeze.

The cost of housing has “skyrocketed,” said Karp, explaining that housing prices grew by 90.1 per cent since 2003.

So, too, have the prices of undeveloped lots, which have increased by 170 per cent since 2006.

“These increases have greatly impacted the buying power of the public,” said Racz.

It also means prospective residents may avoid moving to Whitehorse when they discover the lack of available housing, he added.

The city is creating lots as fast it it can, said officials.

“There’s a big misperception out there (about the amount of lots available),” said planning manager Mike Gau.

“We’ve been challenged to find those pockets of land that can be developed.”

After the Porter Creek D development was pulled off the table in 2005, the city scrambled to develop its lot supply.

“We’re responding as quickly as we can,” he said.

“We’re running out of areas to develop that have little conflict attached to them.”

Contact Vivian Belik at

vivianb@yukon-news.com