Houses for sale in Ottawa

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The program was first rolled out in September 2019 to bolster homeownership among first-time buyers. It was a key initiative under the National Housing Strategy.

The program offered prospective homeowners an interest-free loan ranging from five per cent to 10 per cent of the property’s purchase price, with the government taking a stake in the property’s equity, subject to an annual cap of eight per cent on gains or losses.

The primary objective of the FTHBI was to alleviate the financial pressures faced by homebuyers, enabling them to secure smaller mortgages and, consequently, more manageable monthly payments.

Participants in the program were required to settle the loan and a portion of any equity gains upon the sale of the property or at the 25-year mark, whichever occurred first. The program also offered the flexibility of early repayment without incurring any penalties.

Though the FTHBI aimed to assist first-time homebuyers, it faced criticism for its limited impact, particularly in high-priced markets.

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Critics also took aim at its complex structure, restrictive eligibility criteria, the requirement to share equity with the government and concerns about long-term financial implications for homeowners.

More to come.

• Email: shcampbell@postmedia.com

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