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President's Toronto Star Column

TREB President's Column as it appears in the Toronto Star.


Home Ownership Can Be A Formidable Challenge

June 6, 2012 -- Data from Canada’s most recent 2006 Census shows that more Canadians own their home than ever before and like many of you, Greater Toronto REALTORSĀ® believe in the many benefits of home ownership.

Achieving this milestone can be a formidable challenge for many people though, as the current economic times make it more difficult to come up with a down payment and requirements to qualify for mortgages continue to increase.

As well, there are added closing costs to consider, like the Harmonized Sales Tax and the Land Transfer Tax, which can significantly diminish affordability. Since they cannot be financed, home buyers must allocate funds, which could otherwise be used for a deposit, towards such closing costs. In turn, a more modest down payment reduces what home buyers can afford by limiting the amount they qualify to finance and increasing mortgage payments.

Fortunately, down payment loans are available to help low and moderate-income earners buy a home. In doing so, they improve lives, helping home buyers build equity, upgrade the quality of their housing and achieve financial stability, often with carrying costs that just as affordable as renting. Helping others achieve home ownership can also translate into one less person in social housing or on a waiting list for such housing.

Since 1992, the City of Toronto, using federal and provincial funding, has worked with six non-profit partners to produce 1,143 affordable ownership homes, from detached houses to condominium units, in 22 of Toronto’s 44 wards.

A recently released study that examined the last five years’ results of the City’s efforts to facilitate affordable home ownership with its non-profit housing partners offers tremendous insight into the importance of such initiatives.

The study - the first of its kind in Canada - was based on a recent survey that targeted 215 respondents who were renting before they received government financing, or indirect support through a partner organization’s financing, to purchase their current home.

Almost three-quarters of respondents who received such assistance said they would have been unable to buy without it. This strongly supports the view that a down payment is a major barrier for low and moderate-income home buyers, and that down payment assistance does help.

The numbers also show that an overwhelming majority have found home ownership to be a positive experience: Some 78 per cent of respondents were even more satisfied with their home than they expected.

Among the highlights of home ownership that respondents cited were the ability to build equity, achieve greater financial stability, and enjoy higher housing quality.  They noted positive changes with respect to personal privacy, physical health, personal safety and even their children’s school performance.  This shows that home ownership has significant effects that are beneficial on a very broad scale.

Moreover, 43 per cent of respondents intended to improve their homes with an investment of more than $5,000 in the next five years, further producing positive widespread effects.
Greater Toronto REALTORSĀ® applaud the efforts of the City of Toronto and its six partner organizations.  Recognizing the important role that affordable housing also plays in relieving pressure on the rental market and providing affordable housing stock, government policies and incentive programs should continue to support home ownership. Doing so builds a better city for all of us to enjoy.

Follow TREB on www.twitter.com/TREBhome, www.Facebook.com/TorontoRealEstateBoard and www.youtube.com/TREBChannel

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Archive
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 2012
May 25 TREB Is Standing Up For The Privacy Rights Of Homeowners
 2011
October 4 Realtors Care Foundation supports shelter-based organizations
September 16 Buyers beware in real estate purchases, too
August 20 Termites are a hidden problem
June 17 Ford Needs to Follow Through on Election Promise
June 12 TREB Moving Ahead With New Technology
June 1 Realtor Quest Was Huge Success
April 30 Buying a Condo Posses Some Unique Queries
April 8 Search for a Home Can Be Challenging
March 25 Parking red tape should be streamlined
March 4 Toronto needed to clarify parking rules
February 26 Some home improvements will pay off big
February 11 Taking steps towards homeownership
January 28 Taking steps towards the repeal of the land transfer tax
 2010
December 3 Misconceptions about the HST
October 2 Clearing up HST confusion
September 10 TREB: Energy efficiency for all homes, new and old
August 13 Making sense of housing statistics
August 6 TREB: Save HST with re-sale housing
July 30 TREB: Housing options are as diverse as the city we live in
July 23 TREB: Realtor's access to databases can assist with home search
July 16 There's no Investment Like a Home
July 9 HST will not affect resale homes
July 2 TREB: HST will not affect resale homes
Jun. 25 Celebrate Diversity during Pride Week
Jun. 4 Mayoral debate highlight of realtor conference
May 21 Set budget for moving expenses
May 14 Spring buyers boost GTA home sales
Apr. 23 Each local market has distinct character
Apr. 9 Important to understand terminology
Mar. 26 REALTORS® continue to educate themselves
Mar. 12 Housing sales typically heat up in spring market
Mar. 5 Careful renos can increase home value
Feb. 26 Some simple steps to energy efficiency
Feb. 19 REALTORS® step up to help Haiti
Feb. 12 Some encouraging news and numbers
Feb. 5 Action on Land Transfer Tax could offset the HST
Jan. 22 Year will see listings rise, price growth moderate
Jan. 8 Number of benefits to LEED-certified condos
 2009
December 18
Jan. 1, 2010
Steady flow of newcomers buoys demand for sales / Immigration helps drive housing market
December 11 REALTORS® routinely give back to their community
December 4 REALTORS® have skills to help with Rental Needs
November 27 REALTORS® have many resources
November 20 Sales still hot despite cooler weather
November 13 HST will raise cost of living, buying homes
November 9 GTA Real Estate Market Soaring