“For several years, the territory has seen the effects of the latest commodity-fueled mining rush and stimulus spending. It’s also seen a remarkable shortage of housing lots.
So, alongside the money, Whitehorse has near-zero vacancy rates sparking high rents and crazy housing prices.
The effects have rippled throughout society, with the poor and professionals alike trying to cope, in their own way, with the inflation and homelessness.
For eight weeks, Yukon News reporters and photographers fanned out to chronicle the crisis – the problems people are having, why it happened and some possible solutions.
Here is what we found…”
- ‘Gimme Shelter’, as series of special reports on the Whitehorse housing crisis, 16 Jan 2012
“Apparently, the higher the number of people who own a home, the more others will want one of their own.
No one wants to be the only person in town renting.
In Whitehorse, between 1991 and 1996, these rates increased to 67 per cent from 60.
Two of every three households in the city own their own home. This exceeds the national rate.” …
“The average sale price for a single detached house in Whitehorse has increased at a relatively steady rate between 1999 and 2005.
Prices increased by 34 per cent to $199,000 from $149,600.
After that, prices skyrocketed. Between 2005 and 2008 housing prices shot up 62 per cent.
That same house that was once worth $149,600 is now worth $322,800.
Housing prices have only continued to climb in the past three years.” …
“In order to buy a $325,000 home, an annual household income of about $81,500 is required, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s online mortgage calculator.
Given that the average household income was $92,308 in 2006, this would appear to be affordable for the average Yukoner.”
The above link via e-mail from ‘Zerodown’, who comments:
“Having spoken to people there I echo the panicked tone of the articles. I tend to be a demand-sider on Canadian housing (sentiment, ease of credit, buyer and holder mania), but the Whitehorse market has genuine supply problems (city planning incompetence: trust me there’s plenty of land) and actual economics driving the demand (ramp in government hiring; gold rush).
That the crisis is also felt in rents (and availability) reveals a contrast to the rest of the country. People who know better are buying because they need somewhere to live, others are choosing not to move there.
Sadly, knowing the quality of local governments there, I am inclined to conspiracy theory that city council (baby boomers of course) are more than happy to watch their homes skyrocket in value while they destroy economic potential. How much of a factor is it that (nationwide) policy makers are all about 60 years old right now (Carney the obvious exception, but I mean down the totem pole a bit)?”
[Thanks, Zerodown. -ed.]