Building homes with a ‘boost’ for new buyers
For Marie-Lauren Gregoire, home ownership in Toronto seemed out of reach.
She lived in Regent Park’s Toronto Women’s Housing Co-operative since 2008, and didn’t want to leave the neighbourhood.
“Normally, people think about home ownership and they think you have to go to suburbia,” she says.
But, in 2012, she took the first steps toward buying in her own neighbourhood with the help of Daniels Corporation who, over the last decade, have assisted more than 225 people in the Regent Park community transition from renting to home ownership through gradual deposit payment plans in their FirstHome and BOOST programs.
The company has announced a new project in Scarborough, along with DiamondCorp and the City of Toronto’s Build Toronto agency.
Called Daniels FirstHome Markham Sheppard, the development will dedicate 30 per cent of its 328 suites and townhomes to new buyers with a household income below $90,500.
The “FirstHome BOOST” program will allow approved first-time purchasers to make $1,000 monthly payments after two initial $3,500 deposits until they reach 5 per cent of their purchase price and then provide an interest-free second mortgage for an additional 10 per cent of the purchase price, “boosting” their 5 per cent deposit to a 15 per cent down payment. Daniels Corp will also offer seminars for new buyers to learn more about ownership.
A similar program helped Gregoire invest in her new home in One Park Place condominium, at Sumach and Dundas Sts., where she moved in 2014.
“Owning a home in Toronto is a potential, it’s real, it’s possible,” Gregoire says. “(The Daniels Corp. program) made it very much more possible for me to be able to invest in a condo. I didn’t feel like I was stretched to the limit. It made it much more tangible.”
That tangibility is what impressed Brittney Gay, 25, who lived with her parents until last year and moved this June into her Daniels Corp. townhouse in the Sunny Meadow development in Brampton — with the help of the FirstHome program, which asked for a 5 per cent deposit.
“All the other condos I was looking at were like 20 per cent. How are you supposed to have a life and save money and pay your bills?” she thought during her condo hunt, which took her to Barrie and Innisfil.
“Being a first-time homebuyer is extremely frustrating,” she says. “It’s hard to find places with people who genuinely care.”
For Niall Haggart, executive vice president at Daniels Corp., Gregoire and Gay’s stories are what community development is all about.
“It’s a way the city of Toronto can really, in a measurable way, contribute to creating housing stock for families.”
NIALL HAGGART EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT AT DANIELS CORP.
“This is something that we’ve been doing for years in the Regent Park community to create the ability for people to transition from renting into home ownership,” he says.
With the incoming Scarborough project — which will feature 100 townhomes and 228 suites in three six-storey midrise condos — Daniels and DiamondCorp have entered an innovative partnership with Build Toronto, which sold the land and for the first time mandated the 30per-cent affordable component.
Toronto mayor John Tory was at the news conference announcing the project, on Thursday.
All of the units at the FirstHome Markham Sheppard community will be eligible to first-time buyers, who will get to tour the pre-built community rather than flip through glossy pamphlets of blueprints in a showroom.
“All of that will be announced this fall, with the hopes that we will have people coming to participate in the seminars who we’ll work with and roll up our sleeves,” Haggart says.
“What I said to Build Toronto is that we’re creating something special. Let’s go replicate it. Let’s go find some other lands now. It’s a way the city of Toronto can really, in a measurable way, contribute to creating housing stock for families.”