A buyer's program
Home ownership grants offered

Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 02/98) - The president of Yellowknife's Real Estate Board says the city is buzzing after last week's announcement the NWT Housing Corp. is offering once-in-a-lifetime grants of up to $10,000 to assist people in buying homes.

"Realtors were out working throughout the weekend," says Ken Pearman. "Our phones were ringing off the hook."

Interim Premier and Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corp., Goo Arlooktoo, announced the Minimum Downpayment Assistance Pilot Program (MDAPP) Friday.

"Across the NWT, there are over 250 homes that sit empty," he said in a statement. "Lets give the people the chance to buy these homes."

The amounts of the grants are geared to providing the minimum downpayment required to meet the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s (CMHC) 95 per cent financing program. The CMHC provides insured mortgages based upon a five per cent downpayment up to a maximum purchase price of $175,000 for homes in the NWT.

Pearman says the beauty of the program appears to be its simplicity. The purchase of the home must be completed by March 31, 1999; clients will be able to buy only existing homes this year; clients cannot have owned a home in the same community for the year prior to applying for the program; trailers and modular homes that have been owner-occupied for at least a year as well as condominiums, can be bought. Units in co-operative housing projects are not eligible.

A lack of a residency requirement means rotational mine workers who may live outside the North qualify.

"It (MDAPP) will instill confidence in Yellowknife and in the Western Arctic," Pearman says.

Because of higher housing costs in Nunavut, grants of up to $15,000 are available to those purchasing homes in the east, Arlooktoo said.

NWT Housing Corp. staff said Monday they could not release the new program's budget.