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In the continent’s hottest housing market, Vancouver will try to create an “affordable home ownership” program

April 19th, 2016 · 10 Comments

The good folks at city hall are probably wishing someone had started the idea of an affordable home-ownership program 10 years ago, when prices were way more reasonable.

At any rate, they’re going to try now by getting units in new development projects through developer community-amenity contributions and then selling them to people at below-market prices, while retaining a share of the equity.

I’ll be counting the seconds until this all unrolls. Very difficult to work out. First, the province has to change legislation. Then, the city has to hold a consultation on how this will work. Who gets first dibs on these units, once people have met the income/residency/job-in-Vancouver requirements? A lottery? Or will some types of employees get bumped up the list?

And then there’s working out the financials and legals with the developer and the buyers.

All this and more is what other cities have gone through so it’s not impossible. The city’s comprehensive report outlines the efforts in places like Calgary, San Francisco, Boston and more.

Local housing experts say the program is worth a try, but will likely only be able to serve a small slice of the city’s anxious residents. They’ll need to make enough money to pay the mortgage on what will be, even with the discount, an expensive condo, but not make enough money to just plunge into the market on their own.


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