Affordable homeownership projects open in Scarborough and Markham

    SCARBOROUGH, ON, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - Canada's New Government, the Government
of Ontario, Home Ownership Alternatives Non-Profit Corporation and the
non-profit development company Options for Homes celebrated the successful
completion of an affordable homeownership pilot project that creates 382
affordable condominium units for sale to low-to-moderate income households in
need of affordable housing.
    Colin Carrie, Member of Parliament for Oshawa, on behalf of the
Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development;
Brad Duguid MPP for Scarborough Centre and Parliamentary Assistant to the
Honourable John Gerretsen, Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing;
and Mary Anne Chambers, Minister of Children and Youth Services and MPP for
Scarborough-East attended the event.
    "Canada's New Government is committed to supporting quality and
affordable housing for low income families," said MP Carrie. "Through
partnerships with the province and the private sector our government is making
an important difference in the lives of families here in Scarborough and
across Ontario, who are working towards building a safer, stronger and better
future for themselves."
    "I am happy to be here as we welcome the newest residents of Scarborough
and congratulate them on the purchase of their new homes," said MPP Chambers.
"The great success of this pilot program demonstrates the commitment of the
three levels of government to work together with organizations such as Home
Ownership Alternatives and Options for Homes to provide affordable housing
opportunities for low-to-moderate income residents of Ontario."
    The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario entered a
partnership with Home Ownership Alternatives and Options for Homes in November
2004, providing $2.3 million in funding under the pilot phase of the
Homeownership component of the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program. The
program's objective was to ease demand for rental housing by assisting rental
households with low-to-moderate incomes to purchase newly-built affordable
homes in three projects located in Scarborough, Pickering and Markham.
    Under the partnership agreement, Home Ownership Alternatives agreed to
help 382 purchasers by providing an average of a $22,000 contribution to their
down payments. In addition, $2.3 million of government funds were contributed
to provide an additional $25,470 contribution to the down payments of 90 units
of the 382 purchasers to allow households with incomes of approximately
$48,000 or less an opportunity to own their own home.
    The first project completed under the pilot was Liberty at Discovery
Place in Pickering, a 219-unit affordable homeownership project, with
occupancy by homeowners in October 2005.
    Attendees of today's event celebrated the occupancy of the next 262
units, located at the Village of Guildwood, in Scarborough. The final 140
units of Old Kennedy Village in Markham will be fully occupied by early
October of this year, for a total of 621 units. All were offered at a low end
market price of $20,000 to $50,000 below comparable units within the same
municipalities. Because of this, many people of low-to-moderate incomes have
been able to afford homes in these high-demand communities.
    "What excites me the most is that this is not a handout; it is helping
people to help themselves. All of the purchasers provided their own down
payments, which were combined with government funds and Home Ownership
Alternatives assistance to make their new homes more affordable," said Chief
Executive Officer, Richard Owen, of Home Ownership Alternatives.
    Options for Homes and Home Ownership Alternatives strive to make
homeownership available in the Greater Toronto Area and across Ontario by
providing affordable, quality housing. As part of the purchasing requirement,
eligible families will require a down payment of only zero to five per cent of
the purchase price of the condominiums, which will be priced at or lower than
the market price of similar condominiums.
    "I have been participating in government pilot projects and government
programs for 28 years and I have never seen one that was announced, completed
and fully occupied within 3 years. Non profit delivered affordable home
ownership offers untold opportunities for addressing the housing needs of
Ontarians," said President of Options for Homes Mike Labbé.
    The new Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program Agreement comprises a
commitment of $301 million from each of the two senior levels of government.
In total, the federal, provincial and municipal governments will invest at
least $734 million in the program, which will provide affordable housing for
20,000 households in Ontario.

    Disponible en français

    For more information visit

       The Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program - Home Ownership
                               Component Pilot

    In November 2004, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario
announced an agreement with Home Ownership Alternatives, a trust and
non-profit corporation, to provide up to $2.3 million in funding to build 382
affordable condominium units in three developments located in Scarborough,
Pickering, and Markham for sale to low-to-moderate income families in need of
affordable housing.
    The program's objective is to ease demand for rental housing by assisting
rental households to purchase newly-built affordable homes. Project
requirements include:

    -   a selling price below the average-market price for a given area, and
        not higher than what is affordable to households with low-to-moderate

    -   if the home is sold within a 10-year period, the full government
        funding must be repaid; and,

    -   eligible projects will be located in neighbourhood revitalization

    Home Ownership Alternatives

    Home Ownership Alternatives is a non-profit corporation dedicated to
creating ownership housing for low-to-moderate income households that
contributes to healthy and economically diverse communities.
    Under a formal Declaration of Trust, all of its assets are held in trust
to assist in the development of affordable ownership housing.
    Home Ownership Alternatives lends funds to co-ops to assist them with
feasibility studies and land acquisition, and financial guarantees needed to
support construction financing and new home warranties.
    Home Ownership Alternatives also provides down payment assistance in the
form of second mortgages to the co-op members purchasing the new homes. No
payments of principal or interest are required until the home is resold,
although the homeowner may choose to pay it out at any time. When the
homeowner no longer needs assistance (by sale or by voluntary payout) the
homeowner then pays out the mortgage plus a proportionate share of the
increase in the value of the home. Home Ownership Alternatives then uses these
funds to makes new loans to create more affordable housing for new purchasers.
In this way, the corporation preserves and increases its revolving fund of
equity available to support its goal of creating affordable ownership housing.
    During its nine years of operation, Home Ownership Alternatives has
assisted the creation of 1,400 completed and sold homes, and is providing
financial support for another 800 homes currently under development.

    Options for Homes

    Options for Homes was launched in 1992 by Mike Labbé, and structured to
bring low-to-moderate income people into the condominium market. The
corporation has developed and built six Toronto area housing communities
providing home ownership opportunities for families and individuals with gross
annual incomes as low as $40,000. Partnering with Deltera Construction Ltd.
and Home Ownership Alternatives, Options for Homes has a long-standing
tradition of quality and cost-effectiveness in the Greater Toronto Area.
Options for Homes is a private, non-profit corporation that finds residential
land and designs, develops, and pre-sells low-priced condominiums to
individuals of all income levels.

    The Options for Homes model increases affordability by:

    -   charging buyers only the cost of building the unit;

    -   purchasing residential land that is less expensive than land used for
        private condo developments;

    -   reducing advertising costs; and,

    -   eliminating amenities, model suites and sales commissions.

    Buyers are offered a payment-free second "regular" mortgage representing
the difference between the cost of building the home and the home's market
    Moderate and low-income people are offered additional payment-free
financing in the form of an additional "deferred" mortgage that provides
further help with the down payment.
    These mortgages are to be repaid when the home is sold, or at any time
the owner can afford to do so.
    Home Ownership Alternatives and Options for Homes use any proceeds from
regular and deferred second mortgage to start other Options for Homes
affordable housing developments.

    How it Works

    Option for Homes coordinates the development of condominiums and town
homes. Initial purchasers of condominiums and town homes form a Co-operative
Housing Corporation to serve as the developer of the buildings, retaining
Options as their development consultant for a fee for its services that are
included in the purchase price of the homes.

    For example:

    -   Condo unit costs Options $100,000 to build while market value is

    -   Options sells for $100,000

    -   The difference of $10,000 becomes the second mortgage. The down
        payment is based on the market value. So a minimum 5 per cent down
        based on the market value of $110,000 is $5,500

    -   The down payment is taken off the cost price ($100,000) leaving the
        buyer with a mortgage of $94,500, $10,000 less than they would have
        had to pay at full market price

    -   As the condos appreciate, so does the second mortgage, an amount
        buyers must repay only if they rent or resell. This money then goes
        into an equity pool that is used to develop similar projects.

    To buy an Options for Homes condominium, individuals:

    -   form a co-operative;

    -   retain Options for Homes to coordinate the development;

    -   obtain part of the financing as a bank mortgage; and,

    -   access the remainder of the financing from Home Ownership

    Projects Completed

    Old Kennedy Village, Markham

    Located at 90 Old Kennedy Road in Markham, this project of 140 units is
within blocks of the Milliken GO Station, the Pacific Mall, grocery stores,
schools and banks. Units started at $169,546, and range from 660 to 1,335
square feet.

    The Village at Guildwood, Scarborough

    This new community consisting of 262 units in an apartment building at
the corner of Eglinton Avenue East and Kingston Road, on the edge of the
Guildwood area of Scarborough. Units range in size from 435 to 1,300 square
feet and prices started at $91,400.

    Liberty Place, Pickering

    Located at 1200 The Esplanade North in Pickering, this 219-unit
condominium is occupied. Highway 401 and GO Transit are just minutes away.
Suites range in size from 540 sq. ft. up to 1,202 sq. ft., and each comes with
a dishwasher and individual climate control. Units started at $120,790.

    Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Carlene Siopis, Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation, (416) 529-2710; Patti Munce, Office of Minister Gerretsen, (416)
585-6333; Michel Labbe, Options for Homes, (416) 867-1501; Brent Whitty,
Affordable Housing Inquiries, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, (416)
585-7172; Richard Owen, CEO, Home Ownership Alternatives, (416) 214-0494

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Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

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