City Housing Program Expanded To Include Rent-to-Own Provisions

July 19, 2013 - To boost affordable housing initiatives and to help meet the Quality of Life Strategic Goal, the City of Saskatoon has expanded the scope of the Pleasant Hill Village project to include a rent–to-own provision. “Since the Pleasant Hill Village project started in 2006, a main objective was to offer home ownership opportunities in a neighbourhood where rental occupancy rates were high,” says Neighbourhood Planning Manager, Lesley Anderson.  “The rent–to-own initiative provides an alternative method for buyers to obtain a mortgage.  This is another tool, in addition to the traditional sales, that we will continue to pursue.”

Pleasant Hill Village includes two separate developments with a total of 36 units.  As part of an agreement to attract homebuilders to take part, the City agreed to purchase any unsold units.  By December 1, 2010, the City had purchased 18 unsold units.

The City then retained two realtors to help sell the remaining units.  From December 2010 to May 2012, there were four market sales.  The remaining unsold units were fixed at a 2010 price.  The dwellings are all ground-oriented townhouses designed for families, with purchase prices ranging between $189,922 and $241,034.

During its May 28, 2012 meeting, City Council adopted a new 9.99 Percent Sales Incentive Grant funded from the Affordable Housing Reserve, and a five-year property tax abatement for the project.  The adopted sales incentive grant and the property tax abatement have been instrumental in closing seven sales since June 2012.

This has led to the latest effort to offer an alternative method of home ownership through a City-endorsed Rent-to-Own Program.  A rent-to-own program can help families that may have past credit issues, or a lack of credit history, to purchase a home.

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