By ROY WOOD
The town of Osoyoos continues to plug loopholes to keep fast-buck “flippers” out of the town-sponsored affordable housing program.
A central tenet of the Near-Market Affordable Housing Program – which will include four homes in the 26-lot Meadowlark subdivision on Highway 97 near the fire hall – is that buyers not quickly re-sell the subsidized homes for a quick profit.
When the program began, buyers weren’t allowed to sell the homes for more than a cost-of-living profit for 30 years. This was aimed at keeping the 15-per-cent subsidized homes in the affordable housing pool.
There were no buyers, so the term was reduced to 20 years and, when there was still no interest, to five years in May.
According to a report to council this afternoon from chief administrative officer Barry Romanko, “The … change to five years may make the house more attractive to buy, but (it) is open to short-term ‘flipping’ by a second buyer in and around the 5-year period.”
To combat this threat, the housing agreement will be modified again so that any owner of the home – whether the first or a subsequent buyer – must own the home for at least five years before it can be sold at market price. The restriction will be in effect for 15 years from the initial purchase.
Romanko said the developer, Elcar Construction, is building the first house that will be offered under the program.
The four near-market homes will sell for about $380,000, which is about 15 per cent below current market prices.