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Northern Housing Report
December 18, 2022

Housing suitability a persistent challenge in the North

An economic recovery, driven by an expanding mining sector and growing GDP, is underway in Canada’s North – according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) 2022 Northern Housing Report.

Home prices and costs rose in the North in 2021, as they did across Canada. Both ownership and rental markets saw stronger demand and prices pushed upwards. The higher costs of construction, skilled labor, and land, compounded with elevated interest rates, caused a disruption in the housing supply continuum. This limited the capacity to address housing demand and suitability needs across the North.

The rate of core housing need in the North and the territorial capitals of Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit is higher compared to the rest of the country, especially in Iqaluit. These supply and affordability challenges are why housing in the North is a strong priority under Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS).

You can download the entire 2022 Northern Housing Report here.

Report highlights:

Whitehorse

  • Between 2016 and 2021, Yukon experienced the strongest rate of population growth among the country’s provinces and territories. Whitehorse accounted for most of this growth.
  • Buoyed by an expanding mining sector, Yukon observed the largest relative increase in real GDP in the country in 2021.
  • The incidence of core housing need in Yukon and Whitehorse decreased between 2016 and 2021, owing to a decline in the rate of unaffordable housing in the population.
  • Vacancies in the private rental market are scarce.
  • The single-detached segment is seeing record high resale prices.

Yellowknife

  • Growth in the senior population continues to put pressure on housing supply.
  • Yellowknife faces a higher degree of core housing need than the rest of Canada, especially seniors and those who identify as Indigenous.
  • Territorial homeownership increased, bucking the trend seen in the rest of Canada. This could be the result of recovering economic activities, strong labor market conditions, and a rush to complete deals in expectation of future mortgage rate hikes.

Iqaluit

  • Market affordability remains a challenge for households, particularly the younger population, in Nunavut.
  • Nunavut has the highest percentage of households in core housing need in Canada with critical difficulties in securing appropriate housing.
  • Significant price increases were recorded in the sale of single-detached and row housing units, and in the rental market.

Market overview – excluding social housing:

Whitehorse

Median Rent (two bedroom): $1,409
Vacancy Rate: 0.8%
Average Monthly Mortgage: $1,781 (entire Yukon)

Yellowknife

Median Rent (two bedroom): $1,810
Vacancy Rate: 2%
Average Monthly Mortgage: $1,611 (entire NWT)

Iqaluit

Median Rent (two bedroom): $2,843
Vacancy Rate: below 1%
Average Monthly Mortgage: $1,976 (entire Nunavut)

National Housing Strategy (NHS) Funding Announcements

Budget 2022 committed $300 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, through CMHC, to co-develop and launch an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy with Indigenous partners to address the housing needs of Indigenous Peoples living in urban, rural, and northern areas.  

The North has also benefited from several housing projects announced through NHS housing supply programs, the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF) and the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), both administered by CMHC.  


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