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Condo sales dominate market
Popularity of affordable homes brings city's averageresidential resale price down

Thandiwe Vela
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012

While house prices in the city have increased slightly this year, according to quarterly data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a rise in condo sales has lowered the city's average home prices.

NNSL photo/graphic

Copper Sky condos at School Draw Avenue were sold out within days of listing. - Thandiwe Vela/NNSL photo

The average residential resale price in Yellowknife went to $331,000 in the first quarter of 2012, from $356,850 in the first quarter of 2011, a drop largely attributed to an increase in condo purchases, said Regine Durand, CMHC market analyst.

"It's down seven per cent, however, we know that it's due to a greater portion of sales in the ($200,000) to $300,000 range," she said, noting these sales made up about 48 per cent of sales in the first quarter. "So it's just that we had more condo sales during this first quarter."

Big condo developments in the city include Copper Sky, which sold out within days of listing. Two bedroom condos at Copper Sky went from $219,900, and a one bedroom unit was listed at $199,900. The School Draw Avenue development, coupled with Niven Heights, put 39 town homes and 160 condos on the Yellowknife market.

"The fact that so many condos came onto market, that kind of skewed (the city's average house prices)," said Adrian Bell, Century 21 Greenway Realty managing realtor. "I don't think there's any faltering of house prices in town."

Coldwell Banker owner Rod Stirling, has seen no decline in housing prices, noting supply is down, prices are up, and activity is up.

"The activity level is very, very busy and the prices are actually up from last year," Stirling said. "It's an extremely busy market and the prices are up."

Resale activity in the city continues to be strong, Durand said, due to a strong job market, stable carrying costs, and high incomes.

With condos taken out of the equation, the average price for a single detached non-modular home increased to $466,250 in the first three months of 2012 from $455,200 in the first quarter of 2011.

The average single detached modular price also increased to $334,900 from $328,050 over the same period.

The annual average residential sale price increased to $375,050 in 2011, from $367,000 in 2010, so the average of $331,000 for the first quarter of this year is "kind of unusual," Durand said, but emphasized the increase in condo sales caused the lower average.

Changes in the city's home prices will be more clear after the summer months, when there is more activity in the market, Stirling said, estimating about 60 per cent of people that move in Yellowknife move in June and July.

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