Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during the a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. More than 800 applicants were vying for land in the latest Yukon government lottery for residential land and commercial sites, mainly in Whistle Bend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during the a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. More than 800 applicants were vying for land in the latest Yukon government lottery for residential land and commercial sites, mainly in Whistle Bend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whistle Bend lottery draws more than 800 applicants for less than 200 properties

Demand outstrips supply yet again

More than 800 applicants were vying for land in the latest Yukon government lottery for residential land and commercial sites, mainly in Whistle Bend.

On Jan. 12, the territory’s lands branch opened bids for the eight commercial lots in the neighbourhood that were sold in groups of two along with holding the lottery for 11 multi-family lots and 20 townhouse sites.

Then on Jan. 13, the lottery for five country residential lots in Hidden Valley as well as 140 single-family lots and a duplex site in Whistle Bend was held.

Of all the properties up for grabs, just two of the commercial sites remain unspoken for and will be sold over the counter beginning Jan. 19, Susan Antpoehler, the manager of client services for the territory’s land management branch, said in a Jan. 14 interview.

As of the morning of Jan. 14, a number of those who were fortunate enough to have their numbers drawn in the lottery were already coming in to the lands branch to make their minimum down payment, Antpoehler said.

“It’s early,” she said of purchasers making their down payments.

Down payments of at least 20 per cent of the cost of each lot are due by Feb. 12.

For the single family and duplex sites, the lowest down payment would be $18,001 each for five single-family properties priced at $90,005 on Eugene Avenue.

The highest down payment would be $50,000 each for any of the Hidden Valley properties priced at $250,000 on Couch Road.

Meanwhile, prices for the multi-family lots range from $278,100 for a lot on Keno Way to $1.18 million for a property on Tyrell Crescent.

Townhouse sites range from $223,290 for a site that could accommodate a three-plex on Leota Street to $409,320 for a site that could accommodate a six-plex also on Leota Street.

In a Jan. 14 interview Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis referred to the interest in the lottery as “remarkable”, though he also added it wasn’t totally surprising given the city issued so many development permits in 2020.

By comparison in 2019, 244 applicants put their name in the Yukon government lottery for 55 lots.

“The growth is just astronomical,” he said, arguing it’s a good problem to have but also a challenge as the demand makes it pretty much impossible for there to be a two year supply of lots that governments aim for.

And he does not expect demand to lessen anytime soon as growth continues for the city.

“It does weigh on the OCP (Official Community Plan),” he said, highlighting the need to determine through that process where the city may plan next for development after Whistle Bend.

The OCP serves as a guiding document for the city with work now being done to update the document that will set the direction for the city for the next 20 years, including where the city may consider development.

It’s anticipated the next release of lots in Whistle Bend will be in the fall.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Housing crisisWhistle BendYukon government

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