Bernie and Bev Hicks -- homeowners
Pair takes advantage of housing program

Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jan 15/99) - If you want to judge the success of the NWT Housing Corporation's home ownership program, look no further than couples like Bernie and Bev Hicks.

Thanks to a $10,000-grant under the program -- and a lot of hard work and savings -- the pair will be moving into a trailer on Harriman Road in the coming weeks.

"It was more of an incentive to buy than anything," Bev says of the program.

"It's almost like winning part of a lottery," Bernie adds.

The Hicks have lived in the city for more than a decade now, having moved North from their native Newfoundland.

After years as renters, the Hicks' say home ownership is the way to go, they say.

"It gives you more freedom than living in an apartment," Bev says.

"You slowly build equity you wouldn't if you were renting," says Bernie.

The happy couple have purchased a 1,300 square trailer on Harriman Road in Frame Lake South.

The corporation's program, which is scheduled to end March 31, has proved extremely popular. Four couples at the Hicks' workplace, Canarctic Graphics, have taken advantage of it, as well as two or three other couples they know outside the workplace.

The Hicks and three owner homebuyers have even approached a local moving company and received a deal because they offered so much business to the movers. Smart thinking.

"I think it was a pretty good move by the government," Bernie says. "It came out at the right time."

His wife agrees.

"It's the downpayment that kills you," she says of home-buying.

The president of the local real estate board, Ken Pearman, says the success of the program can be gauged by a look at the numbers.

"I would say about 105 (homes have sold) since December 1," he says. "Had there been no program, probably (only) 40 (would have been sold in the same time period)."

From October to December 1997, Pearman says, only 38 homes were sold.

"It's two-and-a-half times the number of sales," he says. "We're still busy...It's been an excellent program."