In order to ignite demand for housing in Yellowknife and Whitehorse, better economic prospects are predicted: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Northern Housing Report released late last week.
Adding to that, social housing units are expected to begin construction in Iqaluit – where the housing market is primarily non-market – by next year.
“Activity in the resale market in Yellowknife was strong in 2016. Despite increased sales compared to 2015, the average transfer price declined as a higher proportion of apartments and mobile homes were sold. Sales are expected to be strong again this year while average prices could still trend lower as sales continue to shift to lower priced homes”, CMHC announced in a statement.
“Average two bedroom rents also declined in 2016 but are expected to stabilize in 2017. In the new home market, housing construction was strong, particularly in the single-family segment which in 2016 saw 41 per cent more starts compared to the previous year”.
Meanwhile, “Whitehorses’s housing market saw growth across all sectors in 2016. Stronger demand edged the average apartment vacancy rate down while new units were added to the rental inventory. Housing starts rebounded in 2016, approaching the 5 year average”, CHMC explained.
“[However], due to limited land availability at the start of 2017, new home construction activities are expected to decrease slightly in 2017. Continued resale market growth is expected throughout 2017, as land availability limits the number of new homes”.
On the other, land availability and logistical difficulties have been cited as the driving factors of the North’s relative lack of affordable housing.
“Housing in Iqaluit is among the most expensive in Canada. Two-thirds of the Nunavut population cannot secure market housing without some sort of assistance from the government or their employer”, CMHC market analyst Tim Gensey stated.
“Nunvaut’s capital requires at least 160 additional social units to meet housing needs. Activity in the resale and private rental markets have declined with lower mining support activities”, the CMHC report added.