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50,000 Rent-to-Own Homes in Vancouver?

As they announced in their June 22 throne speech in Victoria, the BC Liberal Party plans to introduce a new rent-to-own housing scheme to help make home ownership more attainable for middle-income earners. The program would initiate the construction of 50,000 new family and starter homes over the next 10 years, particularly along new transit lines and corridors.

Prospective owners would start by renting the units, but a portion of their monthly payments would be put towards an eventual downpayment that would allow them to then transition into a mortgage. In her speech, the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Government, described the new program:

“Your government will work with the private sector to build 50,000 units of new housing across the province over 10 years, which will go into a new rent-to-own home program available to middle-class families. The program will help middle-class renters grow equity through their monthly rent payments until they are in a position to own the home ... Your government will work with municipalities to remove obstacles and eliminate backlogs to speed up the construction of new housing supply, especially for families.”

Premier Christy Clark said that she expects the rent-to-own scheme to give a leg up to those working to become home owners.

“The idea is you go now and are a renter and put your money into the pockets of a landlord and end up with nothing at the end of it.”

On top of this, Guichon added that Liberals pledged to eliminate problematic rental loopholes on fixed-term leases and renovictions, and that the topic of real estate speculation would be addressed at an affordable housing summit this coming fall.

The new policies announced on Thursday have an uncertain future if the government faces defeat – which could happen as early as next week.

For an overview of key promises made Thursday by British Columbia's Liberal minority government, go here.

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