High population growth and the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated the housing crisis in Nunavut, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) 2021 Northern Housing Report.

Affordability remains as one of the most pressing concerns in the territory, particularly among young people and seniors, CMHC stated.

The average monthly mortgage in Nunavut is $1,886 compared to $1,602 in Yellowknife and $1,539 in Yukon.

The rental market in Iqaluit is also extremely tight with a vacancy rate of 0.7 per cent. In Yellowknife, the vacancy rate is 3.6 per cent. In Whitehorse, it’s 2.1 per cent.

The average monthly rental rate for a two-bedroom unit in Iqaluit is $2,785. In Yellowknife, it’s $1,769. In Whitehorse, it’s $1,296.

Construction was affected by the pandemic, which led to labour challenges and the skyrocketing cost of supplies.

“The closure of Canadian lumber mills, as a Covid-19 preventative measure, caused disruption in supply and volatility in the price of lumber,” the report reads. “This combined with the high costs of land and labour in the North, put downward pressure on the creation of new housing supply over the last year, further exacerbating persistent housing supply and housing affordability challenges.”

The supply and affordability challenges in the three territories are the reasons why the North “is a strong priority” under Canada’s first National Housing Strategy and why “significant” federal and territorial investments were made in housing in Budget 2021, according to the CMHC.

As of June 30, through the National Housing Strategy, the federal government has invested $331 million to help 2,962 households access safe and secure housing in Nunavut, $312 million to help 4,828 households in Northwest Territories, and $178 million to help 2,973 households in Yukon. the CMHC stated.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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