THE Province said on Thursday that it is providing an additional $2 billion in development financing through B.C.’s HousingHub to finance the construction of thousands of new homes for middle-income families.
“For too long, hard-working middle-income families have been priced out of the housing market, and the pandemic pushed prices even higher,” said Premier John Horgan. “Today, our government is levelling up middle-income housing in the province with a $2-billion borrowing program that will build thousands of safe and secure homes that families can afford for years to come.”
This additional $2 billion will allow HousingHub, a division of BC Housing, to encourage developers and community groups to build new homes for middle-income households by providing loans with lower interest rates than would be otherwise available. In return, developers commit to pass these construction-cost savings through to the tenants and prospective homeowners in the form of more affordable rents and homeownership opportunities. These loans are repaid once construction is complete, allowing HousingHub to reinvest in additional housing, continuing to increase the number of homes built for middle-income households over the 10-year lifespan of the program.
“It’s not enough for governments to simply be empathetic about the problems in our housing market faced by the people who make our province run. We need to take real action, which is what today’s announcement represents,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “Two billion dollars in a rotating line of credit that builds affordable housing across this province will be transformative. Demand for specific projects from builders already exists for the full first round of funding. And because this money is repaid once construction is done, it will build thousands of units of affordable housing again, again and again. The only limit at this point is the time needed for municipal approval processes and the speed of construction. Let’s get building.”
Since it was established in 2018, HousingHub has over 3,400 homes completed or underway throughout the province for households with an average annual income of $75,000. HousingHub primarily supports development of rental homes with additional support for affordable homeownership projects. Rents or the costs of HousingHub homes offered for purchase must be at or below market rate and must remain affordable for a minimum of 10 years.
“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, and we are working to make that a reality with an additional ongoing investment of $2 billion,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “Investments like this not only support families, they also support our economy by ensuring housing is available for the new workers that growing businesses are counting on.”
This announcement is a part of Budget 2021, which will work to support people through the pandemic and move forward together into recovery and a more affordable province for everyone.
Jill Atkey, CEO, BC Non-Profit Housing Association, said: “When BC Non-Profit Housing Association and its partners called on government to support the creation of 114,000 low- and moderate-income rental homes, we knew that historic contributions from the Province would be essential. Expanding the financing available through the HousingHub is a critical contribution to creating new homes for those who live and work in British Columbia and are struggling to find affordable housing.”
* HousingHub is a key part of government’s work to deliver 114,000 homes in partnership over 10 years.
* Through provincial investments, more than 26,000 new homes throughout the province are complete, under construction or in development for people with a wide range of incomes.