Saving for a down payment is one of the major obstacles many non-homeowners or renters face when they plan to buy their first home.
A Manulife Bank of Canada Debt Survey reveals seven out of 10 Canadians who do not own a home are concerned about saving up for one, including as many as four in 10 who worry a lot about this.
Two realtors from Royal Lepage Parksville-Qualicum Beach Realty are aiming to help at least one person or a family make their dream of buying their first home come true.
Through Dreamhomes Vancouver Island Group, Karen Kenyon and Simon Lee Phillips are holding a contest called the Dream Home Project. The prize is $50,000, that will assist the winner in placing a sizable down payment towards the purchase of a new home.
“What led to this project is we have really seen people struggling to get into the market,” said Kenyon. “Salaries have not gone up as quickly as house prices have. People would qualify for a mortgage but they just can’t keep up with the deposit. They just can’t get enough and pass the mortgage stress test. So we started to think of what we can do or an initiative to help at least one person. That’s how this really started.”
With the ongoing pandemic, Phillips said there’s never been a more difficult time for buyers, especially those aiming to purchase one for the first time.
“Realtors, some have been benefitting from the increasing prices that we’ve been seeing the last couple of years,” said Phillips. “So this is a small way of just giving something back to help one individual or family who are struggling to get into the market. We are hoping this would be a start of something that can bring in more new creative ideas from other realtors or other organizations to help in a similar way.”
If you are legal resident of British Columbia for at least two years and have not owned a property anywhere before, you can enter the contest by submitting a written statement, photos, and/or a short video describing your dream of home ownership.
The contest, which started on Oct. 8, will end on Jan. 31, 2022. On March 14, 2022 at 1 p.m. in Nanoose Bay, a panel of five judges will select a winner and will be notified via email within seven days of selection.
“We will not be judging this,” said Kenyon. “The judges are going to be impartial.”
The $50,000 prize will be paid to the winner’s lawyer or notary public in trust to be applied to the purchase of an eligible property to be completed before the deadline of Sept. 30, 2023.
“We cannot be their realtors,” Kenyon explained. “They need to have a realtor to buy a house but that realtor cannot be us. This is not about us trying to get ahead for ourselves.”
The winner can purchase a single-family home, apartment, condo, or townhome but they must be located in one of these areas: Nanaimo, Lantzville, Nanoose Bay, Parksville, French Creek, Qualicum Beach, North Qualicum, Bowser, Deep Bay, Errington, Coombs, and Little Qualicum River Village.
“They will need to provide proof that they qualify for a mortgage and also have already saved a down payment of no less than $10,000 in the bank,” said Phillips. “And one of the reasons we wanted the property bought in our region is because a lot of people living in Nanaimo up to Bowser, we’re hearing are frustrated that they can’t buy on their own soil so to speak. Many of the buyers are coming from Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa.”
“We will be so happy to see one person get ahead in this market,” said Kenyon. “There so much negative news at the moment and there’s so much divisive things in the news happening. People getting upset. We just wanted to do something that’s positive.”
For full details on the rules and how to enter the contest, visit thedreamhomeproject.ca