Vancouver aims to help middle-income home buyers

Affordable Home Ownership plan would allow city to invest in shared ownership of condos with long-term residents

A program aimed at helping middle-income earners buy a condo in Vancouver will be considered by city council on Wednesday.
Modelled on similar programs in Calgary, San Francisco and New York, the program would be restricted to families with an annual household income of less than $96,000. Under the terms outlined in the staff report, one member of the household must be employed in Vancouver, and one member must be a permanent resident or a citizen of Canada. The program also focuses on first-time buyers who have lived in the city for at least five years.
“We’ve been hearing from many, many voices now about how Vancouver’s becoming less and less affordable,” said Coun. Raymond Louie, “so this is an attempt to build some model where people have a chance to buy into a place where they’ve lived most of their lives.”
According to Louie, the plan would use the typical community amenity contributions that a developer makes to the city during a rezoning process. The city would invest these funds into purchasing a 20 per cent stake in several units of a new development. A qualified buyer could purchase the home at 20 per cent less than market value. If the unit’s value appreciates, the city’s share would also appreciate.
The program would require the province to amend the Vancouver Charter to allow the city to use the shared ownership model. The staff report proposes that the city would begin with an investment in 300 homes.

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