Yukon Market Update


Graham Frey

Daniel: Mr. Graham Frey is a top realtor in Whitehorse and where I live by the way for 13 years. We're going to find out what the market is like, and what's happening in Whitehorse these days? Where are you Mr. Graham?

Graham: I'm here now.

Daniel: Hey Graham, how are you doing?

Graham: Very well. Yourself?

Daniel: I'm fine. What's the population of Whitehorse right now, roughly?

Graham: It's roughly 30,000 here in Whitehorse. And then Yukon as a whole, I would say it's right around 42,000.

Daniel: When I was there, when I left there, I lived there from 81 to 94. When I left Whitehorse was 23 and the whole Yukon was 30. It's grown quite a bit. And one of the things I remember from when I live in Whitehorse, anytime you meet somebody new. The first question out of your mouth is where are you from? Because of my experience back then, and I'm sure it hasn't changed. Almost everybody who lives in Whitehorse was not born in Whitehorse, they're from somewhere else. You're one of them. Where did you come from?

Graham: Originally from Winnipeg, I'm a Prairie guy and left there and went to Colona and was there for a couple of years and then came up to the Yukon. There was, and that was about 12 years ago now. And when I got here, there was a little bit more of a divide of a born Whitehorse and not, but I've seen that start to fade away a little bit recently.

Daniel: What brought you to Whitehorse? People don't know anything about Whitehorse. I could talk about Whitehorse for a whole evening, but it didn't cover a couple of points of what makes life and Whitehorse that attracts people to go and live there.

Graham: I think a lot, originally for people coming up, is the adventure, the outdoors, and It's not as remote as it used to be. You're a two hour flight from Vancouver, Edmonton or a 16 hour drive to Edmonton. But I think it's that a lot of it is his work as well. There's a lot of good paying jobs. Our major employer is the government. They're stable and high paying.

For most, there's a very good work-life balance here. And there's other benefits as far as Northern living allowance goes and travel incentives and taxes and that sort of thing. I think it varies from case to case, but that's definitely a driving factor for a lot of people that come here.

Daniel: I remember back then, one of the features was that it was a very safe place because I don't know if it's still like that. But back in 1990, you could go to the food store. When one's cold in the winter, you let your car run, you go and do your grocery. You come back, you open the door, you get in and you drive. You never have to worry about your car being stolen. At least that's what it was back then. And at the time my wife was working in a restaurant. She would walk home, seven or eight blocks at three in the morning. Never ever ,I'm wondering if she's going to be okay or making your own soul. Is safety still?

Graham: It still is a very safe community. And total property crime is very low. I deal with a lot of RCMP relocation here and to end that's one thing they often comment is property crime is really low. We do have a few sectors that maybe could be improved and that aren't on the up but over and all, like all property crime, yeah, absolutely. We leave our cars unlocked. We leave our cars running in the winter, when we go into a store that sort of stuff is a very safe feeling that way.

Daniel: Income wise people in Whitehorse as a whole, family income or household income is a little higher than it is across the country. Correct?

Graham: I think it is a little bit higher than it is across the country. I think looking at those things and looking at averages and I'm not a big average guy just because of my previous life in the golf business with golf. Let's take the PGA tour for example, if you were average run of the mill every year and every statistic, putting fairways speeds and regulations and everything like you lost your job. And so there's a big swing, I think between the higher level and the lower level. But the average statistically would be higher than the normal.

Daniel: If somebody today wanted to purchase a property in Riverdale for example, which is on the side of the Yukon river, what kind of price would they pay for a bungalow or a house, whatever, 1700 square feet or something like that? What would they pay for?

Graham: In that neighborhood in particular they would probably be looking at a property that would be listed in the mid to high five. And they would probably have to pay low to mid sixes to get it. It's just that' I'm sure of the nature of the market everywhere, but yeah, and that would be our most desirable neighborhood for sure.

Daniel: If somebody buys that property and based on what the rents are, might somebody be able to do cash flow in Whitehorse?

Graham: I do think so. I think it is one of the places where rents certainly support purchase prices. Our rental market is very strong. I was looking at the ranges of a downtown condo here for rental. Now, they're going to range anywhere from 1500 a month for a bachelor apartment or a bachelor condo up to $3,000 a month, if for a newer two bedroom condo. There was a large disparity in the quality of the offering. Let's say older units, first newer units certainly fetch a premium. Our rental market is very strong.

Daniel: When you and I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago, you mentioned something very interesting about doing business in Whitehorse. I understand that not all lenders will approve deals in the Yukon.

Graham: Correct. Yeah. That's why I did follow up a little bit with my banker on that and it's basically we're deemed a one industry town that's why we were big banks. When we're dealing with properties down South, you can get into other trust companies or something like that typically, with better rates, they won't lend up here. We're dealing with the big banks. The RBC, CIVC, BMO, Bank TD, all that sort of stuff.

When I'm dealing with clients that are moving here and they're like, oh, we have a broker. I first have to make sure that they've lent in the Yukon before. And so that they know that every product may have their broker offers may not be available.

Daniel: Folks listening to this were like I said, lifting the corner because when we go back, when we do this April eight event, we're going to have Graham again. And Graham, you're going to be showing us that at that point, because I think you have a couple of projects, whether they're townhouses or something, but I know we talked about some projects.

It would be relatively easy for people to cash flow. I want to hear about those when we're talking again on the eighth, come back guys on the eighth, listen more to Graham Frey, who is a very successful realtor up in Whitehorse. He's going to have some very interesting news for you and you can make some money up there, right?

Graham: That's right.

Daniel: Thanks Graham.