First ‘rent-to-own’ development on the South Island opens housing market for first time buyers

First 'rent-to-own' development on the South Island opens housing market for first time buyers

WATCH: A developer is launching what may be the first-of-its kind on the South Island: letting tenants put money from the monthly rent, towards a down payment. Kori Sidaway has more on the program which may allow more first time buyers into a tough market.

Seeing houses, even neighborhoods, pop up in Langford is not unusual.

But a development that will let tenants rent-to-own, is a first.

“There will be a percentage of the rent that can be applied to the payment of a condominium purchase,” said Eric Gerlach, VP of development for Belmont Residences.

If renters stay at Belmont Residences in Langford for two years, 25 per cent of their monthly rent could be taken off the purchase price of a neighboring Belmont condo.

To put that in perspective, if you’re paying 2,000 a month in rent, at the end of two years the tenant would have built up a $13,500 down payment.

The plan is designed to help out first time homeowners get into the market, and the millennials are on board.

“Me and my friends can’t see ourselves owning a house in such a long time!” said Tiama Jolicoeur, a woman in her twenties.

“It sounds like it would definitely help people get into the market,” added Forest Moon, a young renter.

“I think it should be implemented everywhere,” said Joanne, a passerby at the corner of Quadra and Yates St.

“Right now you have to make quite a percentage of income even to qualify for a mortgage, so something like that would give the average person the opportunity to own.”

And it’s an opportunity the city is backing.

“I’m glad that now, the private sector is stepping up, realizing there’s a housing crisis and they need to build more units,” said Mayor of Langford, Stew Young.

Langford is even kicking in $5,000 for 20 people from their affordable housing fund, to help some out with their down payment.

And the city says they’re ready to offer more.

“The city of Langford is capable of doing another 300-400 units right away,” said Mayor Young.

It’s a template the province, under their 10 Year Housing Hub Plan, is considering as well.

“While the Housing Hub does not currently have a rent-to-own program, that model is one of many being looked at by the team,” said the Ministry of Housing in a statement to CHEK News.

Just over 150 one and two bedroom units at the pet friendly Belmont Residences will be move-in ready in the Fall of 2019. The rent-to-buy condo suites will be available in a few years.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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