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Houses selling like hotcakes in YK

The Yellowknife housing market stayed hot throughout the second half of 2021, painting a picture of a market that is highly competitive.

While the numbers for sales were strong, they weren’t crazy, according to Adrian Bell, president of the NWT Realtor’s Association. But comparing the first six months of 2021 to 2020, more houses were sold, they were selling quicker and were costing more.

Bell says the 36 days on average houses spent on the market is about as low as he’s seen, dropping 56 per cent compared with 2020. He added it likely won’t go any lower, because the process of selling a house means it can’t happen much quicker than 30 days.

Some houses are receiving offers on their first day of being on the market, added Bell.

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“There are things we’re seeing this year that we haven’t seen in the past,” he said. “We’re having a lot of multi offer situations, people going in to purchase a home and losing out on multi-offer situations 10 times and finally hitting it on their 11th and it’s been really tough for buyers, almost disheartening.”

The number of multi-listing sales — properties that are listed with multiple realtors — went up 60 per cent to 193 in 2021 compared with 121 in 2020, but the supply remained low. At this point in 2020, there were 81 houses listed for sale. In 2021, there’s only 30.

That doesn’t mean houses aren’t going up for sale. Listings are still going up for sale, but sales are clearing as fast as listings can go up.

But housing prices didn’t spike like they have in other bigger markets.

Bell says this is in part due to the territory’s relatively flat job numbers, meaning people are mostly moving around town rather than moving into town from down south.

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Looking into the future, Bell says an increase in interest rates could see the housing market slowdown. Bell added he expects a slowdown for the next couple of months while people travel outside the territory and spend time at their cabins.

“I was wrong about this year, I really thought I thought there would be way fewer listings, I thought this place would empty out in the summertime, it didn’t,” said Bell. “So it’s just difficult to say there’s so many other considerations, so many things going on.”

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