NNSL (Feb 17/97) - Fred Chambers, a community transfer adviser with the Financial Management Board Secretariat, the agency selling government houses, says buying is a chance for employees to build up equity.
In communities such as Repulse Bay, where housing options are limited, he encourages people to buy while they still can.
"If people look at the rents we currently charge, it's more cost-effective to own those houses," he said.
If for no other reason, an employee should buy to meet their own shelter requirements because housing is not that plentiful, he said.
The Stewart Weir MacDonald company has been contracted by FMBS to appraise numerous government housing units across the entire NWT.
Close to 300 units have been checked out within the last year, and most of them have been sold.
Lauchlin MacDonald, the company's president, said only a few communities out there have a good housing market: Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife and Iqaluit.
He said it is difficult to appraise units when there is no sales market, as is the case in Repulse Bay.
Often appraisers have to physically look at the unit, find out its age and determine its worth along with the lot it's on.
Once the appraisal is set, it's up to the realter to go after the price.
At that point, if the tenant can't purchase, he or she can weigh the limited options. It either means renting another unit if one's available or building or bringing up their own home.
MacDonald said, for comparison purposes, that in Yellowknife a single-wide trailer will cost about $150,000 to mortgage. In the smaller communities, it's going to cost a "fair amount more" for the same unit.
The owner has to pay the transportation costs of moving the unit to the community, pay labor costs, put it together and purchase a lot.