Leading credit unions launch $10 million program to complement HeadStart on a Home

SASKATOON, Jan. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - The HeadStart Equity Builder ProgramTM is a major commitment by Saskatchewan's leading credit unions, of up to $10 million, toward down payment assistance for purchasers of new homes constructed through the HeadStart on a Home Program.

Eight of Saskatchewan's leading Credit Unions - Advantage Credit Union, Affinity Credit Union, Conexus Credit Union, Cornerstone Credit Union, Innovation Credit Union, Spectra Credit Union, Synergy Credit Union and Weyburn Credit Union - will provide a down payment loan for purchasers of HeadStart Homes through the HeadStart Equity Builder ProgramTM.

The down payment loans will be provided to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price of a HeadStart Home. The loan is repayable over 5 years at the attractive rate of Credit Union prime. This unique program has been approved by CMHC and Genworth under their non-traditional source of down payment guidelines.

"Access to entry level housing is an issue that reaches all corners of Saskatchewan. Together with the Province, Saskatchewan's Credit Unions are committed to building stronger, healthier communities," said Mark Lane, Chief Operating Officer of Affinity Credit Union.

This program is complementary to and enhances the objectives of the HeadStart on a Home Program as it addresses one of the most significant barriers to home ownership allowing entry-level home purchasers to access down payment funding, second to affordable inventory.

"New approaches are required if we are to meet our current housing demands as well as build for the future," Social Services Minister and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation June Draude said.  "Our government is ready to work with public and private partners to move the housing strategy forward and, most importantly, provide Saskatchewan people with more opportunities to own homes.  We are proud to work with Saskatchewan's participating credit unions and Westcap Mgt. Ltd. to put this goal into action."

The HeadStart on a Home Program, a $200 million initiative announced by the government in 2011, will finance the construction of at least 1,000 new, entry-level homes over the next five years. With municipalities as the program applicants, builders and developers are eligible for construction loans of up to 90 per cent of the cost to bring new homes to market.  Financing is provided without the requirement of pre-sales of housing units and at an interest rate of four per cent per annum.

The target price for the homes will be at or below the average MLS for similar homes in the respective municipality, expected to range from $180,000 to $300,000.  The homes may include condominiums, multi-unit, single family dwellings, modular homes, or ready-to-move units.

The program is delivered by Westcap Mgt. Ltd., in partnership with its eight Credit Union Community Champions.

As Saskatchewan's largest private venture capital fund manager, Westcap has over $500 million in capital under management. Westcap specializes in the development, launch, and fund management of niche funds that address capital funding gaps in Saskatchewan. Westcap's history and experience in delivering new funds and programs throughout Saskatchewan, such as the well-known Golden Opportunities Fund Inc., is integral to the success of the program.

"HeadStart on a Home is a Made in Saskatchewan solution that will help sustain our exciting growth and prosperity in this Province," said Grant Kook, President and CEO of Westcap Mgt. Ltd. "This new $10 million commitment by Westcap's Credit Union partners is another innovative example of what can be achieved through strategic partnerships with a common goal of building our economy."

Through their strategic partnership and as leaders in Saskatchewan's financial industry, Westcap and the HeadStart Credit Union Community Champions will help ensure that the program reaches all communities across Saskatchewan.

For more information about the HeadStart Equity Builder ProgramTM of HeadStart on a Home, visit the website at: headstartonahome.ca

SOURCE HeadStart on a Home

For further information:

Mark Lane, COO 
Affinity Credit Union 
Grant Kook, President/CEO 
Westcap Mgt. Ltd.
Linda Saliken
Social Services 


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