Community Building

Help available for some first-time homebuyers

By Louise Sproule

March 12, 2018

If you need help to buy your first home, the United Counties of Prescott-Russell may be your answer, if your total household income falls below $84,930.

The counties are participating in the “Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario” (IAH) program. The Home Ownership component, provides an opportunity for a forgivable loan to allow low-to-moderate-income renter householders to purchase their first home.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and must be a renter household buying a sole and principal residence in Prescott and Russell. The combined annual family income must not exceed the maximum eligible income of $84,930, and the purchase price of the property must not exceed $283,100.

The contact person for this information session is Isabelle Péladeau, Projects Coordinator. She can be contacted at 613-675-4642, extension 6505.

Counties Housing Services Supervisor Alain Lacelle says that although it depends upon the applications and the purchase prices of homes, between 12 and 15 renter-households may be assisted in this round.

If the new homeowners stay in their homes for 20 years, the loans are forgiven and said that there is no capital gains tax on the funds. But if the new homeowners default on their mortgage, or opt to sell their homes before that 20-year period expires, the down payment funds must be reimbursed.

The program also includes a component which addresses emergency and/or accessibility repairs. If your home requires emergency repairs or requires accessibility adaptations for yourself or a member of the household to make it possible to stay in your home longer or continue taking care of a loved one in your home, but you do not have the funds for this project, help may be available.

Rental subsidies are also available.

In 2017, the Ontario government signed an agreement with the federal government to extend the investment in the affordable housing program. More than $801 million in new funding will be available over the next five years to improve access to affordable housing that is suitable and sustainable for households across Ontario.

As of October 2017, 54 households in Prescott-Russell had been assisted with the purchase of a new home.

Other components of the program support social housing and as of October 2017, 476 social housing units had been repaired, while 82 affordable housing units had been created.

For home down payments of less than 20%, home buyers are required to purchase mortgage default insurance, commonly referred to as CMHC insurance.

Note that the program is available as of Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Documents are available online and at the office 59 Court Street L’Orignal ON K0B 1K0.