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Saskatoon could axe home buying assistance program as demand falls
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019 6:10PM CST
A city program to help modest income households purchase a home could be on the chopping block.
A report for the Planning and Development committee recommends the equity-building program be discontinued due to declining participation and changes in the housing market.
The program was launched in 2011 when house prices were rapidly increasing and first time home buyers had trouble purchasing a home.
It provided households with modest incomes a low-interest equity loan for a down payment for the purchase of an entry level house. The city partnered with Affinity Credit Union to operate the program.
Use of the program has been declining steadily and the economics of the housing market have changed since it was introduced, the report says.
In 2011 the program issued 30 equity loans compared to only three in 2018. Over the eight years the program has operated, a total of 135 equity loans have been issued.
The program was reviewed by city administration and Affinity Credit Union last November. The review concluded the equity loans were no longer needed due to reduced demand caused by changes in the housing and mortgage markets.
More than half of the loans have been fully re-paid and only one went into default.
The report is scheduled to be tabled Monday at City Hall.