A program that makes it easier for first time buyers to own a home might be approved by Vancouver City Council next Wednesday, April 20.
In order to make the Affordable Home Ownership program a reality, City Council members must request the province to alter the charter to allow shared ownership models, according to a recently released report.
While the city has many programs for affordable housing rentals, this will be the first of its kind that allows people with moderate incomes to purchase homes in the city.
The Affordable Home Ownership program would follow already established models from other cities: A unit would be priced below market value, sold to an eligible household with restrictions on ownership and resale, and then resold to the next buyer. The units are typically created by non-profits, social housing organizations, or the government.
People who qualify for the program should be earning between $50,000 and $99,000 per year, according to the report, and the city would aim to create 300 units over a period of three years. Statistics Canada says more than 30,000 households would qualify for the program.
In order to qualify for the AHO program, Vancouverites:
- Must be a resident of the city for a minimum of five years
- Must be a permanent resident or citizen
- Must be employed in Vancouver
- Must never have owned property before
- Cannot earn more than $67,540 per year for one-bedroom units
- Cannot earn more than $96,170 per year for two and three bedroom units for people with children
- Must complete a home buyer education course
In addition, half of the units would required to be two or three bedrooms for families. The city stresses that this program wouldn’t replace any low-income housing projects currently in place.
Before a program like this is implemented, several consultations need to take place with developers, the broader public, local employers and workers, and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on key aspects. A framework for managing the AHO program will also need to be developed.
The City of Vancouver’s full report can be found here.