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Council approves Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program in principle

April 21 2016

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The Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program was approved in principle today by City Council, with the goal of making available 300 homes for local residents.

This program is the first of its kind in Vancouver that will allow young families aspiring to own a home to enter the market for the first time and put down roots to live and thrive in Vancouver.

Program hopes to fill a gap in the housing market

The pilot targets moderate- and middle-income working households who face a shortage of affordable family-sized units in Vancouver. The city's housing market has a rental vacancy rate of less than one percent.

“The Affordable Home Ownership Pilot is the latest in a series of steps Council is pursuing to relieve some pressure on young working families who want to enter Vancouver’s housing market,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This pilot program will help fill a gap in our housing market for working families, and the City will continue to look at all options available to invest and improve affordability in Vancouver for all residents.”

The City conducted research into affordable home ownership programs nationally and internationally, analyzed local housing affordability gaps, and explored potential buyer demand to develop the draft pilot program.

How the program would work

First-time home buyers who have lived in Vancouver for the last five years could be eligible to participate in the program.

The eligible household income for the program ranges from $67,540 per year (single and couple households) up to $96,170 per year (households with at least one dependent child).

At least one buyer must work in Vancouver and can't have owned property before.

Levels of discount for buyers will vary but the City is targeting that households pay no more than 35 per cent of their income on housing costs.

The City would maintain an ownership stake in the housing as a way to bring the cost down, with the City and owner sharing in any equity gains.

Next steps

City staff will immediately submit a Vancouver Charter amendment to the provincial government to start pursuing pilot options.

Staff will report back to Council with a framework for the pilot and final recommendations later this year.

View a presentation on the pilot program PDF file (2 MB)

Vancouver Housing and Homelessness Strategy

Since the creation of the Vancouver Housing and Homelessness Strategy, the City has been working to increase housing options for all residents; however, lack of affordability remains a key issue.

The Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program could provide an attractive and affordable housing option to help Vancouver retain working households which support a diverse, sustainable, and economically-vibrant city.

In addition to exploring this pilot program, the City will continue to progress in creating further housing for renters, families, and at-risk residents.