North

Yukon land lottery sees record-breaking demand

A land lottery billed as Whitehorse's largest-to-date has shown record-breaking demand. A draw held Wednesday saw 780 applicants applying for a chance to build on single-family lots, duplex sites and country residential lots.

Hundreds of applicants seek their chance to build a home or develop property

Yukon government staff held an online raffle for the lots on Wednesday, where they picked from hundreds of applicants at random. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A land lottery billed as Whitehorse's largest to date has seen record-breaking sales, as the territory experiences a boom in construction and real estate investment.

On Wednesday, Yukon government broadcast a livestream of a raffle process as staff picked winners' names from a barrel.

The lottery saw 780 applications for single-family lots, duplex sites and country residential lots mainly in Whistle Bend.

A separate lottery for multi-family lots, commercial lots and townhouse lots saw 88 applicants on Tuesday. 

There were 250 lots available in all through the lottery.

This means demand for the lots exceeded supply by roughly 3.5 times.

The Yukon government is pledging to publish a list of lots sold on Jan. 18.

'It's really an insatiable appetite'

Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis says the lottery sales are a sign of a construction boom.

According to Curtis, the most recent quarterly figures for building construction and permits in Whitehorse surpass anything in city records, which have been kept since its incorporation in 1950.

"It's really an insatiable appetite," he said.

Curtis says he realizes the sale will be disappointing or frustrating for people who are eager to build and seek land.

"We've always suggested that we'd have a lot supply of 200 but it's hard to do that when you just can't keep up," he said.

Whistle Bend is now set to surpass Riverdale as Yukon's largest neighbourhood.

"It's really mind-blowing for me personally because I can remember a little over eight years ago when we had two properties that had buildings in the Whistle Bend area," Curtis said

'Unprecedented demand'

In 2019, the Yukon government released 55 lots and saw 244 applicants in Whitehorse.

This year's lottery was broadcast online due to COVID-19. 

In the run-up to the sale, Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai said he expected there would be strong interest, as Yukon is seeing "unprecedented demand for land."

Lots in this year's sale were primarily in Whistle Bend, with a few country residential lots in Hidden Valley.

The sale also included commercial lots in Whistle Bend for the first time.

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