The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its annual Northern Housing Report yesterday. The report focuses on Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit, and offers analysis of economic conditions, rental and resale markets, new construction and affordability.

According to the report, economic outlooks are positive for the Northwest Territories, because mining has driven growth and contributed to lower rental vacancy rates in Yellowknife.

Last year, the NWT’s GDP  increased by 5.1%, which is the strongest it’s been since 2007.

“The largest contributor to this growth was increased mine production. Mine production in 2017 was up 37% from 2016 to $2.07 billion due to commercial operations at Gahcho Kué diamond mine near Yellowknife. On the prospecting front, drilling continues at the Project near Dave’s Pond. Both of the projects provided some support to housing markets in Yellowknife in 2017,” the report states.

But the report also notes that mining exploration is on the decline across the territory for the fourth year in a row, “including a decline of three per cent from 2016 to 2017, suggesting that fewer new mines will be on the horizon.”

“Economic fundamentals will provide minor headwinds to housing markets this year,” says Timothy Gensey, senior analyst of Economics for CMHC.

“Expect the number of sales to hold steady and a slight decline in prices as preference and supply for condominium units strengthen. Changes to the Transitional Rent Support Program may decrease vacancy rates in larger rental units this year, as renters move into accommodations that are of appropriate size,” Gensey says.

According to the report, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Yellowknife is $1,699, up from $1,636 in 2016.

At the same time, Yellowknife’s apartment vacancy rate decreased from 4.2% in 2016 to 3.5% in 2017.