Loans available to aid with down payment

Comments of Paul Forsyth of Niagara this Week

Upwards of 121 Niagara families or individuals could find themselves owning a home, under a new program meant to get people into a place they can truly call their own.

Known as “Welcome Home Niagara,” the new program will see renters living with a low or modest income be eligible to receive loans of up to $9,150, which they can use as a down payment on a home.

Lora Beckwith, general manager of Niagara Regional Housing, which is overseeing the new program with funding from the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing program, said often the only thing keeping renters from being able to afford their own home is the down payment.

This is a wonderful opportunity that will give low-and moderate-income families the chance to own their own homes
-Lora Beckwith
“This program eliminates that hurdle,” she said. “This is a wonderful opportunity that will give low-and moderate-income families the chance to own their own homes.” At least 121 homes are expected to be purchased through this program.

The Niagara housing agency has received $864,000 from the joint provincial-federal housing program for the program. Under the program, eligible people can get a loan worth five per cent of the home, to maximum of $9,150. The maximum price of homes is $183,000, and the homes can be single detached, semi-detached, townhomes, duplexes or condominiums.

To be eligible, program participants must not own residential property at present, must not owe arrears to another housing provider, must have a gross household income below $55,100 and assets below $30,000, and must be eligible to obtain a mortgage.

Under the program, if homeowners keep their home for 20 years the loan is forgiven. If they sell it before then, they are required to pay the loan back plus five percent of however much their home has increased in value.

Acceptance of qualified applicants will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants will be notified of their eligibility within 10 days of applying.

Beckwith encouraged qualified renters to consider applying. “This could be your dream come true,” she said.

For more information call 905-682-9201 ext 3927 or visit the Niagara Regional Housing website: www.nrh.ca.

Eligible Purchasers

To be eligible for a down payment loan, prospective purchasers must:

Be a Canadian Citizen, Landed Immigrant or have Refugee Claimant Status with no outstanding removal order

Be 18 years of age or older

Not own or have an interest in other residential properties or owe arrears to another housing provider

Currently be renting and looking to buy a sole and principle residence

Have a household income before deductions below $55,100 and assets below $30,000

Be eligible to obtain a mortgage and demonstrate sustain ability

Eligible Units

New homes

Resale homes (home inspection must be undertaken and paid for by the purchaser)

Purchase price cannot exceed $183,000

May be detached, semi-detached, townhome, duplex or condo (triplexes are not allowed)

Home must be purchased in the Niagara Region

A home that the applicant or any member of the applicant’s family has an ownership interest is not eligible for purchase

Conditions

Niagara Regional Housing

Administers criteria and ensures program requirements.

Homeowner Assistance Levels

5% of the cost of an eligible home (max $9,150) to be provided to eligible purchases at the time of purchase closing and sale of home

No interest will be charged on the loan

Documentation is required to verify eligibility to secure the down payment

Conditions of Repayment of Down Payment of Loan

If the home is sold before the 20 year period expires of if the homeowner no longer lives in the unit:

Homeowners are required to repay the original loan plus 5% of the realized capital gain

An independent appraisal of the property may be required

A homeowner may agree to voluntarily repay the loan at any time. Interest will not be charged

Land Transfer Tax Rebate

Purchasers who are eligible for a land transfer tax rebate (new houses only) will be provided with a down payment loan, net of their land transfer tax rebate. i.e if the household qualifies for a loan of $9,000 and the rebate is $1,500, the household will be provided with a loan in the amount of $7,500.

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