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Rental demand strong in Iqaluit and Yellowknife, moderates in Whitehorse, as housing affordability challenges persist in Northern Canada

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) (CNW Group/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Housing affordability challenges continue to be the most pressing issues facing housing markets in the North. This analysis is based on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Northern Housing Report, released today.

CMHC’s Northern Housing Report focuses on housing market conditions across the three major centres in the Territories: Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit. Unlike the rest of Canada, a large proportion of housing in the North is provided through Territorial Housing providers (Yukon Housing Corporation, Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, and Nunavut Housing Corporation). However, there is also interaction in the traditional homeownership market. 

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has created volatility in employment, incomes, and migration throughout the North. Although this report does not focus on the precise impacts of the pandemic on housing fundamentals for the North, the severity and duration of COVID-19 continues to pose a major risk to housing markets in the region.

Report Highlights


  • An aging population and a slowdown in international migration has moderated rental demand in Whitehorse.
  • Low resale inventory and persistent sellers’ market conditions have supported price gains across many housing forms.


  • Improvement in employment among young adults has resulted in increased demand for rental units.
  • Decrease in the population of young adults (first-time homebuyers), high cost of construction, as well as land availability issues has resulted in a decline in housing starts.


  • A growing population in Nunavut is contributing to housing demand across the Territory; however, supports are needed to ensure the availability of both public housing and market units.
  • Rental demand remains strong with vacancy rates near zero in both market rentals and social and affordable housing units.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

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SOURCE Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation




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