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Civic Impact

City funds help Options for Homes build diverse new condo project

Ana Bailao, Greg Banfield, Jason Arias, Cheryl Preminger and Mike Labbé attend the grand opening of Cranbrooke Village last week.

Options for Homes has always dedicated itself making home ownership more affordable for Torontonians who may otherwise not be able to buy a home. But with its Cranbrooke Village project, which officially opened last week near Bathurst and Lawrence, it was able to provide housing for buyers who made have found it impossible to get a mortgage any other way.
Established in 1994, the not-for-profit helps buyers with their mortgage down payment by providing loans that are only paid back when the buyer rents or sells the property. But with Cranbrooke Village, a $1.42-million investment from the City of Toronto’s Home Ownership Assistance Program (HOAP) enabled the program to give about 25% of the home owners extra help.
“The average person [in the Options for Home program] would get $30,000 towards the down payment. The city allowed us to increase that by up to $70,000 or $80,000 in total, which gave lower-income individuals a chance to own,” says Mike Labbé, Options President and CEO. “Our homes usually allow for people with incomes $20,000 less than the average owner to have a chance to own. By the city getting involved, we were able to reduce that by another $10,000 or so of annual income.”
The condos, built by Deltera, a member of the Tridel group of companies, are more affordable from the get-go. Permission for increased density allowed for lower land costs for the 341 units. “The community support for this project is one of the things that made it stand out,” says Labbé. As well the Options for Homes strategy kept marketing, sales and commissions costs to about $4,000 per unit, a reduction of about $20,000 over the regular market. In the design, amenities are kept to a minimum—a multipurpose room, which Labbé estimates saves another $15,000 per unit.
Home Ownership Alternatives
also contributed $584,000 to the project.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Mike Labbé
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