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Not everyone jumping on first-time homebuyers program

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
December 19th, 2016

Not everyone is jumping on the Christy Clark Liberal government B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership rolled out Friday the the sitting BC government.

NDP housing spokesperson David Eby said instead of taking real action to bring down the cost of homes for young families struggling with record debt levels, the Christy Clark government is encouraging people to take second mortgages for down payments.

“People can’t afford housing because Christy Clark sat on her hands for two years while prices spiraled out of control,” said Eby.

“Now, instead of taking action to fix the problem by increasing the supply of affordable housing, Christy Clark thinks that first time homebuyers should get two mortgages instead of one.”

The Liberals introduced the program Friday with hopes of helping first-time homebuyers get into the markey.

The program contributes to the amount first-time homebuyers have already saved for their down payment, providing up to $37,500, or up to 5% of the purchase price, with a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.

Through the B.C. HOME Partnership program, the Province is investing about $703 million over the next three years to help an estimated 42,000 B.C. households enter the market for the first time.

“We believe every British Columbian deserves a place to call home,” said Premier Christy Clark. “We’ve invested in affordable rental housing, we’ve invested in transitional and emergency housing, and now we’re partnering with first-time buyers to make the purchase of their first home more affordable.”

But Eby said Clark’s plan for first time home buyers doesn’t do anything to help affordability. Instead, it puts young people who are already facing record levels of debt further into debt, while rewarding developers and speculators, many of whom are big donors to the B.C. Liberal party.

“Christy Clark’s early Christmas present to Bob Rennie won’t make homes more affordable, it will cause prices of the homes that qualify for this program to increase. It is not a solution to the housing crisis, it is more debt for the middle class, and more cash for Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberal donors,” said Eby.

“During the two years that Christy Clark refused to believe that speculators were pricing families out of the housing market, the benchmark price of a detached home in Vancouver shot up by over $600,000. This announcement does nothing to reverse the huge cost of her neglect.”

During the first five years, no monthly interest or principal payments are required as long as the home remains the homebuyer’s principal residence. After the first five years, homebuyers begin making monthly payments at current interest rates.

Homebuyers will repay the loan over the remaining 20 years, but may make extra payments or repay it in full at any time without penalty. The loan must be repaid in full when the home is sold or transfered to another owner.

The B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program will start accepting applications Jan. 16, 2017.

Key Facts:

The Province’s commitment to housing action is driven by six key principles:

  • Ensuring the dream of home ownership remains within the reach of the middle class

    • Increasing housing supply
    • Smart transit expansion
    • Supporting first-time home buyers
    • Ensuring Consumer Protection
    • Increasing rental supply
  • The B.C. government has committed $855 million over five years, including $575 million this year, to support the construction or renovation of 4,900 units of affordable housing throughout the province.
  • Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $4.9 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families.
  • More than 104,000 B.C. households benefit from a diverse range of provincial housing programs and services.

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