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Housing prices jump 12 per cent

Stephan Burnett
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 09/05) - Buying a home in Yellowknife cost about $25,000 more last year than it did in 2003.

The average price of homes sold in 2004 was $230,670. That's an increase of 12 per cent over 2003's mark of $205,810.

"Basically the idea is buy now," said Shane Clark, past president of the Yellowknife Real Estate Board.

Current president, Ken Pearman wasn't surprised with the 12 per cent jump in prices.

"It's based on supply and demand and there's a greater demand than supply," he said. "Yellowknife is growing, there's more people moving in than moving out."

While the population is increasing there were only 63 housing starts in Yellowknife in 2004, a drop of 39.4 per cent from 2003's 104 starts, reports the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Part of the problem was that Niven Lake's Phase 6 development was delayed, said Pearman.

Added Clark: "In the last couple years the new lots were either Niven Lake or the mobile homes near Kam Lake. Other than those two developments we've virtually had no openings where you can build."

With Niven developments on track for 2005, he expects to see construction climb this year, adding the city didn't make much land available in 2004.

"In 2003, there were two ballot draws," he said. "You purchase a ballot for $1,000 and if you're lucky enough to get picked, you go down and select the lot of your choice, but in 2004 the city only had one ballot draw."

Another ballot draw is expected later this week by Homes North, said Clark.

At the same time, CMHC states the number of Yellowknife residential sales in 2004 was up by 6.3 per cent to 487 from the 458 homes sold in 2003.

"That would be a pretty typical jump," said Pearman. "There's more activity in the resale market."

The next major developments in Yellowknife are being undertaken by private developers, said Clark. "Along with Homes North in Niven as well Bayview Estates, it's the private industry that is taking charge in providing these major projects," he said.