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December 15, 2016

Housing action: BC HOME makes buying a first home more affordable

Premier Christy Clark. Photography by John Lehmann

Premier Christy Clark. Photography by John Lehmann

Back when I hosted a talk radio show, my favourite part of the job was hearing the thoughts, opinions, and concerns of regular British Columbians.

I still hear from those people – but as Premier, I often have the ability to do something about their concerns. That includes the challenge of saving up the down payment to purchase your first home.

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The dream of home ownership should be within reach for all British Columbians. If you work hard, plan, and save your money, you should get the opportunity to buy a home and raise a family, build equity, and be a part of your community for the long haul.

That’s the idea behind the new BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (BC HOME) Partnership – an exciting initiative that will help more British Columbians buy their first home.

BC HOME will partner with first-time homebuyers on their down payment by contributing up to $37,500, or 5% of the purchase price, through a 25-year loan that’s interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.

If you’ve worked hard and saved up for a down payment, we’ll help you get into a home worth up to $750,000, with a payment schedule you can afford.

It’s a simple idea with a big potential impact, helping as many as 42,000 qualified BC households enter the real estate market for the first time over the next three years.

We’ve limited the program to first-time homebuyers who earn less than a combined $150,000, have been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years, and have lived in BC for at least one.

Our approach reflects what I think British Columbians want from their government: one that creates the conditions for people to succeed, build the lives they want, and take care of the people they love – but also comes through to help with the challenging times that most of us will experience at some point.

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That’s why we are investing more than $1 billion this year on affordable housing programs, and committed $855 million over the next five years, including $575 million this year alone, to support the construction or renovation of 4,900 affordable housing units across BC.

It’s why we’ve brought in a property tax break for first-time homebuyers, imposed a new 15% tax to address the impacts of foreign real estate investment, ended self-regulation of the real estate industry, and passed legislation that will help improve the availability of rental units.

We’re able to do these things because we’ve stuck to our plan to control government spending and grow a strong, diverse economy – giving us the means to put British Columbians first.

Together, we are building an even stronger, better, more liveable BC. Thank you for making it possible.

By Christy Clark