Program to increase vacancy rates in hot market

by Jennifer Paterson02 Apr 2015
One of Canada’s hottest housing markets is now focused on turning renters into homeowners with a new program – the scope of which will dictate investor fortunes.

“I don't think this will have much impact on investors as the city only has funds for 25 families when there are over 61,000 renter households in Hamilton,” said Erwin Szeto, aka “Mr. Hamilton,” an investor and sales representative at Rock Star Real Estate.

Municipal officials in Hamilton, Ont., are focusing the new down-payment assistance program on the city’s less affluent areas such as Jamesville, Beasley, Keith, Gibson/Landsdale, Stinson, Sherman, Crown Point, McQuesten, Riverdale, Davis Creek and Rolston.

“My concern for these potential homebuyers is that they are limited to lower income areas that are more run-down, so they will need to be aware of the work involved to remedy the types of deferred maintenance they will come across in older, poorly maintained houses,” added Szeto.

“If I was the homebuyer, I would prefer a rent-to-own as a path to ownership because I could choose the neighbourhood with good schools for my kids and a house with less potential problems. But this program would be the next-best thing.”

To qualify for the program, a buyer must be renting for at least six months in Hamilton and be pre-approved for a mortgage. The applicant must also have a maximum yearly gross household income of $70,000.

The city said it is aiming to encourage local investment in these neighbourhoods, loosening the local rental market by turning tenants into owners.

To find out more details about hot neighbourhoods, cities and regions across Canada, check out CREW's free online investment hotspot tool.

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