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Victoria report: New plan helps first-time homebuyers

MLA Jackie Tegart talks about the BC Liberals' new plan to help those trying to break into the housing market.
A provincial program will help first-time homebuyers enter the housing market.

I remember the thrill of walking into my very own home for the first time. I was proud to be a homeowner, and I felt truly invested in our community.

As my children have grown, it’s become especially clear to me how different it is for young people today looking to buy their first home. These days, it can take years just to save the required down payment.

I’m a firm believer that today’s B.C. families should have the opportunity to feel the same pride of ownership in their homes as mine was able to—and our provincial government shares my conviction.

Through the B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership (B.C. HOME Partnership), the provincial government will contribute to the amount first-time home buyers have saved for their down payment, with a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years. An investment of about $703 million over the next three years will help an estimated 42,000 B.C. households enter the market for the first time.

This program is aimed at first-time home buyers who can afford the costs of home ownership but are having trouble saving the required down payment.

Because it is aimed at people who were already saving money and able to qualify for a mortgage, we don’t expect it to drive prices up. Likewise, it won’t encourage additional debt, because mortgage rules require lenders to include the future mortgage payments on the B.C. HOME Partnership loan when determining the borrower’s debt service ratio, which helps determine what price of home a buyer can afford.

The program is now accepting applications. If you’re looking at buying your first home, it can give you a helping hand—and I hope it can help you turn your dream of home ownership into a reality.