Provisions for Affordable Homeownership and Rental Options in British Columbia:
An International Review of Policies and Strategies
By Nancy Hofer and Penny Gurstein
School of Community and Regional Planning, UBC
Funding: B.C. Government
Appendix A: Individuals interviewed and expert panel participants
Those with an * also sat on the expert panel discussion.
Rosemary Cooper – Housing consultant, Principal of CreatingPLACES
Craig Crawford - Vice President of Development Services, BC Housing
Dan Garrison* – Housing Planner, City of Vancouver
Michael Geller* – Development consultant, Michael Geller and Associates
Cheeying Ho – Former Executive Director, SmartGrowth BC
Cheryl Kathler* – Community Planner, City of North Vancouver
Cecile Lacombe* – Director of Housing Research, Ministry of Citizens’ Services
Ann McAfee* – Planning consultant
Doug Page* – Manager, Housing Policy Branch, Ministry of Housing and Social Development
Eva Wadolna* – Retirement housing consultant
Tim Wake – Affordable housing consultant
Marla Zucht* – General manager, Whistler Housing Authority
Appendix B: Evolution of Federal Housing Programs, 1945 to 1993
Table from: Carter, Tom. 1997. Current Practices for Procuring Affordable Housing: The Canadian Context. Housing
Policy Debate. Vol. 8, Issue 3, pp.593 – 631. Data source: Canadian Housing Statistics, various years; CMHC.
Appendix C: Country Profiles
The following section provides highlights of approaches to affordable housing, including policies and
specific programs and tools, from the following countries:
The United Kingdom
All references and key resources are included in the references section of the report.
Population: 21 757 000 in 2009
Number of total dwelling units: 7 000 000 in 2006
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 16% in 2004
Tenure split: 69% home ownership, 22% private rental, 5% social rental, 4% other in 2006
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include facilitating home ownership for lower and middle-income
groups, promoting investment in affordable housing, including in the private rental sector and
promoting housing and neighbourhood sustainability.
2. Subsidized tenures include social rental, co-operative, private rental, shared-equity and
3. Affordable housing responses are varied around the country because it is generally provided
by departments of state and territory governments, with funding provided by both state and
4. National Government has been investing in the intermediate sector through tax concessions
for first time buyers, the use of a Housing Affordability Fund, a National Rental Affordability
Scheme (NRAS) to encourage the entry of more large-scale rental property owners, First Home
Grants (between $7,000 – 21,0001) and First Home Saver Accounts.
a. The goals of NRAS are to increase the supply of affordable rental units, encourage large
scale investment and innovative delivery of affordable housing and stimulate the
construction industry at a time of economic downturn. The subsidies include a
Commonwealth Government Incentive of $6,000 per dwelling per year as a refundable
tax offset or payment and a State or Territory Government Incentive of $2,000 per
dwelling per year in direct or in kind financial support per year for 10 years. Under the
program successful applicants are eligible to receive the incentives for each approved
dwelling, on the condition that they are rented at 20% below market rates.
b. First Home Saver Accounts offer “a simple, tax-effective way of saving for a first
home through a combination of government contributions and low taxes.” Through
this program, the National Government contributes 17% ($850) on the first $5,000 saved
by the account holder each year, some of which may be contributed by employers.
Withdrawals are tax-free but there is a limit of $75,000 on the overall account balance
and withdrawals must be used towards the purchase of a home. If circumstances change,
and an account holder no longer wants to buy a house, the money is transferred to a
superannuation (pension) fund.
5. Nearly all states are formulating home access (and in particular ownership) policies and
innovations for middle-income earners, which are defined as earning in the $60-70,000 range.
a. Shared-equity programs are supported by every state, although some are more active in
this than others and some limit eligibility to public housing tenants. “Streets Ahead”
1 All price figures in AUD
Incentive Program and Home Share in Tasmania, First Start Shared Equity and Good
Start Shared Equity Home Loans in Western Australia are examples of such programs.
b. Most provinces require 15% affordable units in “significant developments” with 5%
designated for high need and the other 10% for assisted or shared-equity home
c. South Australia, Australian Capital Territories (ACT) and Victoria all engage in
strategic planning at the state level, wherein affordable housing is addressed.
d. ACT is strategically aiming to meet affordability targets in large part through land
sales. Other programs include: OwnPlace Homes which are priced at $300,000 on Land
Development Agency sites; Land Rent in which households may directly lease land
from government for their single family home. The land may be purchased outright at a
later date. Land may be purchased outright; and developing compact housing codes for
e. An Affordable Housing Innovations Program (AHIP) has been established by the
South Australian government, the function of which is to serve as a resource hub, broker
partnerships between social housing agencies, landowners, developers and others,
experiment with innovations and coordinate efforts across the province. The program
specifically develops investment strategies, implements workable housing solutions not
previously undertaken by government, contributes to a diverse portfolio of responses
across a number of target groups, tenures and locations and provides a greater diversity of
housing options. The fund to support the program was created with an initial investment
of $15 million from the State and future allocation of up to $93 million from the strategic
sales of public housing stock to existing tenants.
f. Group Self-Build in Victoria is a program supported by the Victorian Property Fund in
which a group of up to twelve families may purchase individual plots of land and begin to
build on it using their collective labour. The Director of Housing provides bridge
financing to enable participants to purchase land and pay for construction. The collective
labour acts as collateral in lieu of a cash deposit to begin financing the project.
Participants contribute 20 hours per household per week over a period of 12 months to
help build each other's homes. This program is available to households with $2,750 gross
earnings a month and homes generally range between $150 000 and $240 000 including
land. At the end of construction the equity generated during construction takes the place
of a deposit and is used to assist in obtaining housing finance to repay the Director of
Housing's bridging loan.
g. The Quick Build program in Tasmania is a pilot project to build homes constructed with
pre-manufactured components available for ownership to households of low and
moderate income. These properties are available for sale under the Tasmanian
Government’s affordable home ownership programs, HomeShare and Streets Ahead.
HomeShare is a shared-equity scheme in which the Director of Housing may own up to
25% of the cost of a home, to a maximum amount of $50,000. The Streets Ahead
program assists eligible homebuyers to purchase a property through deposit assistance of
$6,000 and the contribution of up to a further $1,000 towards mortgage insurance and
legal costs. In addition to being affordable, the units are designed to be low maintenance,
climate sensitive, use passive solar design principles and have a 5 Star Energy Rating.
Population: 8 207 000
Number of total dwelling units: 3 280 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 19.5%
Tenure split: 58% home ownership, 19% private rental, 21% social rental, 2% other (co-operatives here
in social rental and make up nearly half of that tenure; co-operatives also participate in the provision of
limited profit housing)
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing priorities are to combine the strengths of the markets with the backing of the state
to achieve decent housing for the population, a well functioning housing market and
affordable housing for the majority of the population. Recently, strong emphasis on energy
efficiency and refurbishment.
2. There is a strong social orientation towards affordability and rental security for all strata
of the population, not just those of low-income. As a result constant government housing
intervention is required and is significant. Financing mechanisms include commercial housing
banks (50-70% of project financing), public subsidized loans (20-40% of construction costs),
investor’s funds (5-10%), future tenant’s fund (0-15%) and corporate tax exemption. The
majority of public funding comes from the federal government through dedicated taxes and
payment on outstanding loans. The Länder (akin to provinces) have legal authority on housing
subsidy schemes, supervision of housing associations, social welfare, regional planning and
building codes, and therefore housing policies differ between them. They may also provide
minimal funding for housing projects. Municipalities are a receiving partner and support public
housing by determining the demand, providing land and waiving property tax.
3. Public housing subsidies (Housing Promotion Schemes) are object-specific and are geared
towards construction costs rather than subject-specific subsidies, which are directed to
individuals. New rental housing continues to be built, accounting for nearly a third of all new
construction. A major part of the rental stock is endowed with a right to buy. Rental remains an
acceptable tenure choice; in general there is no predominant trend towards owner occupation on
the demand side of the housing market. This strategy has resulted in a sufficiently large supply of
affordable housing that regulates market prices.
4. Limited-Profit Housing Associations provide the majority of publicly subsidized housing.
They are private companies that may be owned by municipalities, public bodies, charities,
unions, companies, banks, and private persons. They may also be co-operative. Other actors
include public limited companies and commercial enterprises/investors all of which have access
to public subsidies for construction of housing and must abide by certain conditions such as
setting maximum rents and regulating owner-occupied prices. Municipal Housing is rental
housing while limited-profit housing can be either rental or ownership (Right to Buy).
5. Savings Contract Accounts – Bausparkassen – are an important source of housing finance
and are used by more than half the Austrian population. Bauspar-loans are medium
profitable but are so popular because of their long tradition, security and long term low interest
rate. The central government subsidizes savings with a modest premium to the depositor for the
purposes of purchasing through this Bausparkassen system for a saving period of six years.
Having paid off the contract the customer has the right to a low interest loan.
6. In Vienna, all housing projects above a certain size have to go through developers’ open
competition with an interdisciplinary jury which judges design quality, costs of construction,
rent restrictions, maintenance costs and resource efficiency. It has been projected that this new
system of developers’ selection has resulted in a 20% decrease in building costs and offers equal
or even higher quality compared to private construction. This scheme is successful in Vienna
because the City still retains large reserves of land which is primarily used for this kind of
Population: 5 411 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 2 633 886 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 30%
Tenure split: 53% Home ownership, 26% private rental, 20% social rental, 1% other (co-operatives
participate in both the provision of not-for-profit rental and homeownership)
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include affordable dwellings for low and middle income people,
affordable housing for young families, students and young people as well as an increase of social
mix and ethnic integration in areas with social housing to avoid the formation of ghettoes.
2. Denmark offers a universal approach to housing in that publicly subsidized non-profit
housing is open to everyone regardless of income, although there is increasing stigma
associated with this tenure. Policies aim for a comprehensive supply of market and public
housing to ensure that housing is available to all of the population. Publicly subsidized housing
tenures include rental and co-operative where the government subsidizes the building of, and
guarantees mortgages on, social housing and provides rental subsidies to eligible residents.
Types of housing providers include not-for-profit organizations, co-operative associations and
municipal companies. There is a limited role for regional governments in Denmark because the
national government sets policy and provides the majority of subsidies for public and co-
operative housing. Larger municipalities in particular are increasingly assuming more
responsibility for housing policy.
3. Denmark is characterized by a well-established and popular co-operative and cohousing
sector where many cohousing communities are structured as limited equity co-operatives
financed with government sponsored loans. Co-operative housing was heavily invested in
between 1975 and 2004 when central government offered continual contributions to the payment
of the interest and installments on the loans the association raised to buy the property. These
subsidies, however, no longer exist today. Instead, banks are willing to finance cohousing units
because most units are pre-sold long before construction is completed. Not only are new projects
being built, but the concept is commonly incorporated into master plans for large areas of new
development. A number of companies exist to facilitate the purchasing, selling or trading of co-
operative memberships. Co-operative housing ranges in affordability depending on if the resale
restricts the units. To date, however, it remains an intermediate tenure between rental and full
4. The principle of tenants’ democracy is valued and facilitated though the use of housing
“section councils”. Each public housing “section” is economically independent and corresponds
to a residential neighbourhood. Once a year the section assembles to elect a section council,
which is responsible for the management of the section including managing the budget. The
board, comprised primarily of residents, decides to what degree the municipality will be involved
in the Council. Despite this degree of public input and autonomy, the non-profit housing sector
remains heavily regulated and providers are lobbying to obtain more liberalisation, and a wider
flexibility concerning the financing of activities.
5. Copenhagen is experiencing significant recruitment and retention problems of key workers
in the social care and educational sectors. The City council has established a private non-
profit company – The Affordable Housing Foundation (AHF) – to develop housing for
these target groups. The program has been called 5X5 which represents the goal of producing
5000 affordable units of a range of tenure types at 5000 DKK/month (a little over $1,000CAD)
by 2010. The AHF housing uses optimized industrial building techniques (prefabrication and
modular design) to lower construction costs. The program has not been a success, however, with
only 12 units built; the program was formally terminated by city council as of March 2009. Lack
of flexibility, planning tools and cooperation between the state and the city were some of the
main obstacles cited. Copenhagen continues to struggle to provide middle-income housing.
Population: 5 237 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 2 700 000 in 2006
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 25.4%
Tenure split: 59% home ownership, 15% private rental, 16% state subsidized rental, 1% Right-of-
Occupancy, 9% other
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include reinventing the role of and access to funding for non-
profit housing organizations to reflect the changing demands placed upon this sector.
Housing organizations would like to be able to use some of their stock and the revenues
generated to invest in new construction and develop a business strategy for new construction to
keep the costs at a lower level.
2. The Finnish model consists of housing companies providing housing for middle income
earners; residents purchase apartment-specific shares on the open market through a real
estate agent but no board approval is needed to buy shares. The ownership of the building
remains with the company for which shareholders pay a monthly maintenance fee. The shares
are treated as personal property and can be sold and used as collateral for a loan. The Housing
Company often also houses social rental, Right-of-Occupancy and private rental units thereby
fostering a diverse tenure mix under one roof.
3. Right-of-Occupancy is a hybrid tenure in which the inhabitant initially pays 10-15% of the
market value of a dwelling and a monthly “charge for use” on the remaining share which
covers also capital and maintenance costs. This tenure may be offered on the market or by
public housing providers. It is a secure tenure choice in that as long as the inhabitant meets her
obligations the owner cannot give her notice to quit. The original payment is redeemable at any
time adjusted according to the construction cost index. Right-of-Occupancy housing is eligible to
a wider range of the population, such as middle-income earners, than social rental housing.
Municipalities, municipal associations and housing companies manage both social rental and
4. Part-ownership is also available through market-financed housing companies as well as
state-subsidized housing. This program is similar to staircase shared-equity in that residents
purchase a small share of the unit and pay rent on the remainder. At the end of their ‘tenancy’,
residents may purchase the remaining share of the unit.
5. The use of a Housing Fund, an off-budget government agency, is integral to the success of
subsidized housing. Previously dominant state subsidies will continue to be available, but the
emphasis is shifting towards commercial loans (relatively low interest rate and long duration)
with state guarantee and/or state-subsidized interest.
6. Housing allowances are provided for all types of housing and assists approximately 20% of
the Finnish population. Home ownership has been promoted mainly through tax relief on the
interest on housing loans and government acting as loan guarantor.
7. The National government encourages young people to save for the down payment on their
first home by providing an interest subsidy on the mortgage loan to account holders who
have saved at least 15% of the home purchase price. This is called the ASP Scheme.
8. Helsinki leases their land for development at a 20% below market price on the condition
that sale and resale of the units is price controlled to ensure long-term affordability for
middle-income groups. When calculating the sale price of the units, the City calculates a 10%
profit for the developer. This land lease price-restricted model is referred to as the HITAS
system, the purpose of which is to put pressure on market-priced dwellings in terms of both price
Population: 60 561 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 29 495 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 23.5%
Tenure split: 56% home ownership, 25% private rental, 19% social rental (co-operatives participate in
the provision of social rental housing therefore they’re included in the social rental category)
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include ensuring that intervention and subsidies reach the whole
gamut of the market, from ownership to rental, from social to private sector, and aim to do so
in a balanced way. Although France has one of the largest stocks of housing per capita in the EU
many of these are only partially occupied second homes and affordability remains a problem for
2. Recently France implemented a “Right to Housing” at the national level. Currently this right
extends to the most needy such as the homeless. In 2012 the right will be extended to all those
who have been accepted into social housing, but who have not received any offer within a
reasonable period of time. The Right to Housing was adopted in 1989, but was not actively
supported until recent demands from citizens made it an issue of national importance.
3. Public housing is largely provided by not-for-profit organizations (offices HLM) which may
be public or private. These organizations offer rental housing for middle-income groups as well
as low-income. The construction of private rental tenure is eligible for subsidies under the
condition that rent is maintained under market value for a nine-year period. Public financing is
largely indirect although direct subsidies and fiscal incentives for new construction and
assistance loans may be provided. HLM organizations are financed by sub loans comprise of part
grant, part low-interest loan from Caisse des Dépôts which serves as an investment bank for the
government and holds savings funds collected by savings banks.
4. “1% Housing” (1% Logement) is a workforce housing policy which requires that employers
with more than 20 employees must allocate a percentage of the gross payroll to
organizations that serve to ensure workers have access to housing. The original amount
allocated was 1% of total payroll, hence the name, but has since changed to 0.45% and amounts
to 1.5 billion Euro annually nation wide. The organizations that administer these funds invest in
rental accommodation through the social housing organizations or offer loans to employees to
buy a home. A recent service has been to offer households the opportunity to purchase their
home, but not the land until a later date in an effort to make homeownership more attainable for
those below a certain income (Pass-Foncier).
5. A number of specific initiatives are aimed at helping low and middle-income earners attain
a. Contract savings schemes (Épargne logement) are available in which savers are
entitled to a tax relief on the interest earned from these accounts and receive a bonus from
the state when they take out a loan to buy a property. Accounts must be held for a
minimum of 5 years.
b. The property Pass is a financing mechanism designed to facilitate the access of low-
income households to the property by separating the acquisition of the land from the
acquisition of the housing unit.
c. Housing allowances allocated to tenants or owner-occupiers makes a major
contribution to housing affordability (Allocation Peronalisée Logement).
d. Zero-interest loans (Prêt à Taux Zero) may cover up to 20% of a new house. Only
first time buyers are eligible. This can be combined with traditional mortgages and
Population: 82 501 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 38 925 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 24.5%
Tenure split: 43% home ownership (lowest % in the EU), 51% private rental, 6% social rental (rental
dwellings provided by co-operatives are in the social rental category)
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include devising a range of housing policies necessary to address the
increased regional differentiation of housing markets, promoting owner occupied housing,
reducing energy consumption and improving the living conditions for families with children in
2. Rental, home-ownership and co-operative housing are all publicly subsidized with rental
being the most common subsidized and non-subsidized tenure in the country. Rental tenure
is secure through the use of long-term leases, the rent price is regulated, and therefore stable, and
allows for higher mobility. Germany offers “tenure neutral assistance” which means that owner-
occupiers and tenants alike are eligible to receive housing allowances if their income falls below
a certain level.
3. Through the Housing Assistance Act the federal government regulates the general
objectives and purpose of housing assistance and contributes financial aid while the federal
states (Länders) are responsible for implementing programs. Other public financing
mechanisms include commercial banks, regional public banks, investors, public subsidization of
interests (rental sector), personal subsidies to home ownership and general tax depreciation
possibilities for all investors in rental housing. Rent law also produces commercial effects on the
housing markets, such as capping limits for rent increases.
4. The affordable housing sector is neither well developed nor organized although public
subsidies to provide social housing are open to everyone including companies as well as
private individuals so long as they abide by occupancy and rent control rules. Municipal and
federal housing companies, housing associations and co-operatives, private companies and
private investors all provide social housing. Following expiry of the rent and occupancy
conditions, housing companies and private landlords can offer the social housing they manage on
the free rental housing market.
5. Social housing is in long-term decline following this switch in policy which traditionally
supported specific providers. In some parts of Germany municipal housing companies owned
by the Länders or the Bund (federal government) have completely been sold to fill the financial
gaps in the municipal economy. They are the object of an asset management policy aimed at
transferring them to investment funds (national or international). Funds aim to make returns
through renovations, sales to tenants, managerial and financial efficiencies and price rises.
6. Rotating savings and credit associations who facilitate financing explicitly for housing
(Bausparkassen) are popular and have a long history in (West) Germany. The Bauspar
system offers the advantages of low, fixed interest rates, great flexibility, and customers are free
to make unscheduled repayments without having to pay any prepayment penalty. Government
subsidies heavily influence participation and the very existence of the system contributes to
overall savings activities thereby contributing to a longer-term approach to supporting home
ownership (as opposed to shorter-term initiatives such as large immediate contributions).
Population: 4 131 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 1 554 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 20.7%
Tenure split: 79% home ownership, 13% private rental, 8% social rental (because co-operative housing
societies provide and manage various forms of tenure – rental, home-ownership and equity-sharing – co-
operative dwellings are split between the homeownership and social rental categories)
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include “meeting individual accommodation needs in a manner
that facilitates and empowers personal choice and autonomy.” In February 2007, Ireland
unveiled a comprehensive housing policy statement to guide housing development until 2013.
The Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities statement outlines a vision for the housing
sector and supports this vision with targets, legislative reform, significant financial capital and a
suite of new schemes to make home ownership more attainable for low- and middle-income
2. Three options of social rented housing exist and are provided by: local authorities (public
housing), voluntary housing organizations and co-ops. Capital financing towards the building
costs is provided by the State in all three cases.
3. In addition, home-ownership and mixed tenures such as shared ownership also receive
public subsidy. Local authorities, voluntary housing associations, and co-operatives administer
these subsidies although local authorities have a key strategic role in the provision of both social
rental and affordable ownership housing under the housing legislation. Public financing
mechanisms include public subsidies, loan finance and State lands.
4. Co-operative equity-share housing exists as an option for modest income earners who
cannot afford full market prices. Members may obtain an ownership equity stake in their
homes, equivalent to 50% of the cost, with an affordable mortgage loan. The remaining equity is
held by the co-operative housing society as “social equity” for non-profit community benefit.
This equity-sharing model encourages a self-help co-operative approach to meeting housing
5. The Affordable Homes Partnership (AHP) is a corporate state body established in 2005 to
co-ordinate and promote the delivery of affordable homes on behalf of the National Minister
for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and local authorities. One of the functions
of the Partnership is to support local authorities to meet their delivery targets and to provide
information to the public about affordable homes. Affordable homes are delivered via four
mechanisms each of which is discussed below and are generally available for first time buyers -
single households who earn up to $93,000CAD or joint households who earn up to
$120,000CAD. The following programs are offered through the AHP:
a. The Affordable Housing Scheme (introduced in 1999) provides mortgage assistance and
land at lower costs on land owned by a local authority.
b. Inclusionary zoning requirement for private developers to supply a proportion (up to
20%) of social and affordable housing in their projects at agreed prices with the local
authorities (known as Part V Affordable Housing, introduced in 2000)
c. Reduced land costs on land owned by local and state authorities (known as the
Affordable Housing Initiative, introduced in 2003). Individual persons taking shared
ownership through a group housing project sponsored by a housing co-operative or local
authority as well as non-profit housing bodies are eligible.
d. Shared ownership schemes are provided by local authorities in which the local authority
holds at least 40% of the share. The purchaser makes mortgage repayments to the local
authority on the share they own and pays a rent to the local authority on the un-owned
portion. The unit may be purchased outright over time. If the purchaser sells their
affordable home within 20 years, they must pay back a percentage of the sale price to the
local authority. Shared ownership has become less effective in recent years due to rising
house prices and the unattractiveness of the product as a result of high interest rates on
the rental element, making it uncompetitive with outright purchase.
6. In a 2007 study commissioned by the AHP, these programs were assessed and it was
recommended that a single government sponsored equity-loan product be provided to
replace these programs as a way of streamlining affordable housing procurement and retaining
affordable housing as a public asset over the long term.
7. Mortgages for any of these affordable homes may be obtained from a private lending
insitution or from the local authority (Annunity Loan) except for the shared equity scheme
where the loan is from the local authority. Local authorities can provide up to a maximum of
$290,000CAD. The mortgage term can be up to 30 years and mortgage repayments cannot be
more than 35% of an applicant's net income. A limited number of local authorities provide Home
Choice Loans which are mortgages for first-time buyers who cannot get a mortgage or sufficient
finance from a bank or a building society. First-time buyers of homes smaller than 125 square
meters also do not have to pay stamp duty (Property Transfer Tax).
8. Mortgage allowances, mortgage subsidies and rent subsidies are available to households
earning less than $45,000CAD a year. The mortgage assistance products are available for any
home on the open market or provided by a local authority. The mortgage allowance is for up to
an amount of $18,000CAD and is paid on a reducing basis over five years and is designed to
ease the transition from rent to mortgage. The allowance is paid direct to the mortgage lender so
that the beneficiary's mortgage repayments are reduced by the amount of the allowance.
Mortgage subsidy assists purchasers with mortgage repayments where the relative benefits of the
mortgage subsidy or the mortgage allowance will depend on the income of the purchaser. In
addition, a rent subsidy of up to $4,000CAD is exclusively available to the purchasers under the
Shared Ownership Scheme.
Population: 16 306 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 6 811 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 23.2%
Tenure split: 46% home ownership, 19% private rental, 35% social rental
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include ensuring affordability, and restructuring and revitalizing
neighbourhoods and inner city areas.
2. The Netherlands offers the greatest proportion of social rental housing out of all EU
countries and a more universal approach in that non-profit housing is open to a wide range
of low- and middle-income earners. This “public” housing is provided by housing associations
which are private non-profit companies that meet public mandate. They offer rental, home-
ownership (sale to existing tenants), and mixed tenure such as shared ownership and equity-
3. The social housing sector is financially independent of central government. The housing
associations that manage social housing set their own objectives and bare their own financial
responsibilities. In 1993 a final “balancing out” (Brutering) was undertaken in which the central
government and housing organizations settled what was owed to each other (e.g., subsidies from
the government to the organizations, loan payments from the organizations to the government).
Now, housing associations take out loans on the capital at a reduced interest rate. They still own,
rent and manage about one-third of the total housing stock and 75% of the rental stock. Over the
past 10-15 years the number of housing asssociations have decreased as a consequence of mutual
mergers and as a result they have turned into large, professionally managed social housing
4. Although 95% of all rental units are price regulated, approximately one-fifth of the
population receives a form of rental allowance. The income cut off for allowances are
$33,000 CAD for singles and $44,000 CAD for multi-person households. These allowances are
set up so that households do not have to pay more than $600 CAD out of their pocket if they are
eligible for allowances. At 1.5 Billion Euro annually, this makes up the most important single
state housing budget item. In a few municipalities (i.e. Amsterdam) additional rent allowances
exist, financed by municipal funds. Rental allowances came into effect when central government
subsidies of construction were cut off.
5. The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment financially supports the
Steering Committee for Experiments in Public Housing (SEV). SEV is an independent
organisation which works to be ‘one step ahead’ of the changes in society that affect housing.
They work in partnership with house builders, municipalities, care providers and private
individuals to support a broad range of innovations in housing and construction.
6. Four policy measures exist to promote homeownership in the Netherlands: full
deductibility of mortgage interest from personal taxable income, subsidy for promotion of
homeownership, sale of rental dwellings by housing associations and fund for starters. The
subsidy has not been as effective or as in demand as intended as few homes can be found for
under the maximum purchase price of $255,000CAD. The funds for the starter loans are
provided by municipalities and central government to first time buyers. They are meant to be
supplementary loans on top of a mortgage guaranteed by the Homeownership Guarantee Fund.
Population: 4 300 000 in 2009
Number of total dwelling units: 1 652 000 in 2008
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 30% of households spend
more than 25% of their net income on housing costs in 2004
Tenure split: 68% home ownership, 26% private rental, 6% social rental in 2006
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include increasing access to home ownership. Home ownership has
steadily been decreasing since 1991 due to rising consumer debt, removal of specific assistance,
the impact of student loans, changing social and labour market dynamics and housing
2. New Zealand is one of the few countries examined where investment in private rental has
increased in the past decade. The tax system provides an advantage to rental property investors
relative to owner-occupiers with similar levels of borrowings, by effectively reducing the interest
rate they face by between 1.5 and 2.5 percentage points, depending on the amount of leverage in
the sector as a whole. In addition, rents are not controlled and depreciation and deductibility of
rental losses against other sources of income are permitted.
3. The Housing New Zealand Corporation manages the majority of social rental housing but
also offers some home ownership products and services to those of modest-income (broadly
defined as those with income up to $60,000 CAD. Key initiatives include:
a. The Welcome Home Loan Scheme is a mortgage insurance product to lenders who
offer low- or no-deposit home loans to first-home buyers who earn less than $60,000
b. The Shared equity pilot scheme is specifically targeted to assist people who have saved
a deposit for a home but cannot purchase their first home due to increasing house prices.
It is currently allocated on a lottery basis. The government will provide an interest-free
loan on a house up to 30 percent of its value. The pilot is restricted to regions with the
highest house prices. The government's loan will exist as a second mortgage over the
property. It has no interest costs, and requires no repayments until either the house is
sold, or the loan term ends. If the value of the property reduces or increases, so does the
equity share, and the amount that must be repaid.
c. KiwiSaver is a Work Based Savings Scheme between scheme providers, government
agencies and employers. Employers set up the scheme and contribute 2% of gross
earnings above regular pay to the fund for each employee. Employees may pay between
2-8% of their gross earnings. Many KiwiSaver schemes permit the diversion of savings to
mortgage payments. The Government contributes a $700 CAD kick-start and an annual
tax credit of up to $775 CAD. First time homebuyers are also eligible to withdrawal their
KiwiSavings for the down payment on a home in which case the Government will
contribute a $750 CAD subsidy for each year of contribution to the scheme for a
maximum of $3,500 CAD.
4. Accommodation Supplements are also available to families earning between $50,000 and
70,000 CAD through the Government supported Working for Families package.
Supplements may be used for rental or mortgage payments.
Population: 43 038 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 20 947 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 17%
Tenure split: 82% home ownership, 10% private rental, 1% social rental, 7% other (co-operatives
provide housing for home-ownership in the protected housing (VPO) sector and on the market and are
included in the homeownership category)
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include increasing the proportion of subsidized housing and
assistance to first-time home buyers up to the age of 35 as well as boosting the subsidized
rental market, giving preferential funding treatment to specific target groups and revitalizing
cities and neighbourhoods. Although Spain has experienced a substantial increase in number of
homes over the past years, a housing shortage remains due to the high incidence of secondary
“vacation” homes owned by non-Spaniards.
2. In 2007, the Federal Budget increased public financing of protected housing by 14% to
meet an acute need for affordable housing. Autonomous Communities (akin to Provinces) and
municipalities also allocate resources for the promotion of social housing on a yearly basis.
Autonomous Communities are responsible for establishing regional housing and land-use
regulations, developing and managing their subsidized owner-occupied and rental housing stock
and granting and controlling subsidization of housing investments. A range of actors are eligible
for subsidies and encouraged to provide protected housing provided they fulfil the criteria
established by law. Subsidies usually take the form of reduced interest loans.
3. “Protected housing” - public housing initiatives which are sold to low- and middle-income
families - is a housing product that has received increasing attention with this renewed
government support. Social housing for rent is not common. Officially protected housing
(Viviendas de Protección Official, VPO) is subject to price limitations where the dwellings
maintain their status of protected housing for 30 years in many jurisdictions, and indefinitely in
some. These units may be rental or home-ownership with most regions now implementing shared
ownership schemes for young people, with an option to buy after 7-10 years (alquiler con opcion
de compra). In this model, individuals purchase owner-occupied residential property from a state
supported housing agency that develops housing and sells it at below-market rate. At the time of
resale, the owner must sell it back to the housing agency thereby retaining affordable housing for
the benefit of the community. Homeownership is also encouraged through interest subsidies on
mortgages, lower dwelling prices and tax deductions. Another country that uses the “protected
housing” model is Singapore where this housing procurement model is common and has allowed
more than 75% of the population to enjoy homeownership.
5. Many jurisdictions have Inclusionary Zoning policies that require up to 30% of new units
be “protected”, although there is scepticism as to whether these targets are being met. These
minimum percentages are set by the respective Autonomous Communities.
6. Recent state aid allocated to the promotion of housing includes rental supplements for
young tenants, loans, interest subsidized loans or grants into the building or purchasing of
private housing. The state also offers a one time grant to owners who rent out their unit. This
$9,500 CAD grant is to subsidize the cost of insuring against possible default and damage risks
associated with renting out a unit.
Population: 9 011 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 4 351 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 28.2%
Tenure split: 37% home ownership, 18% private rental, 22% rental flats in municipal rental, 18% co-
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include providing housing for young and elderly people and
improving energy efficiency of new buildings as well as existing stock.
2. Swedish housing policy has been oriented to neutrality concerning support and taxing of
the different tenures in order to let the market, and not the politicians, decide the development
of the different tenures. It may be open to question if this still is the case; property taxes have
been significantly reduced in 2007-08 which mainly benefits owner-occupants and housing co-
operatives, particularly in attractive areas.
3. Non-profit housing in Sweden is nearly entirely owned by municipalities (through their
limited housing companies). Their housing companies were supported by the national
government through subsidized loans and beneficial taxation for many years until the early
1990s. Today, municipalities are not granted special subsidies and private non-profit housing
companies are competitive with municipalities. Municipalities are now permitted to sell their
housing company stock, although with the exception of Stockholm (where most have been sold),
most of the public housing companies have kept nearly all of their stock.
4. Municipalities have nearly all the power to make decisions with respect to housing with the
national government playing a very limited role in housing outside of funding. State subsidies
and rental incomes finance municipal housing. Public financing mechanisms include commercial
banks, public guarantors, and exemptions from corporate tax.
5. Non-profit housing is open to everyone and the regulation of rents in this tenure serve to
regulate rental levels across the entire rented housing sector. Rents are regulated by
collective bargaining between the tenants associations and municipal housing companies; this
may result in different rental rates across localities. Rents must, however, cover the costs of
providing municipal housing. Additional housing allowances are available to those who may be
experiencing extreme financial difficulty. Currently the prospect of opening rental housing to a
more market based system to better regulate supply and demand is being discussed although it is
recognized that rental prices would inevitably increase.
6. Co-operative housing (also known as “tenant ownership”) remains an attractive, long-term
affordable tenure for middle-income earners. There is no direct governmental financial
assistance for this tenure. Members/tenant-owners generally finance between 30% to 50% of the
development costs and the rest of the financing is raised by the co-operative organizations
through loans from the banks and other private financial institutions. Each individual co-
operative is a member of larger federations of tenant-owner co-operatives organized at the
regional level. This structure ensures that individual co-operatives have the support and
resources to initiate and manage their co-operative. Since the 1970s co-operative shares
(“occupancy permits”) have been sold on the open market and there are many companies set up
to facilitate these transactions.
7. Affordable Boklok prefabricated homes are being exported to neighbouring countries.
Boklok is a timber framed housing product, conceived by IKEA and the Skanska construction
company, that uses a number of prefabricated components such as whole wall sections, floor
cassettes and easily assembled trussed roof pieces to make homes affordable and functional.
Boklok housing is very successful and popular with prospective tenants and buyers and often has
to be awarded to prospective tenants and buyers using a lottery system. Customer satisfaction has
been tracked and the experience is that renters and buyers are both very satisfied.
Population: 60 035 000 in 2007
Number of total dwelling units: 25 617 000 in 2004
Average housing consumption as share of total household consumption: 18.7%
Tenure split: 69% home ownership, 10% private rental, 21% social rental
Policies, Programs and Tools for Affordable Housing
1. Housing policy priorities include housing market reform and access to home ownership,
improving housing quality and energy efficiency, meeting the Decent Homes Standard,
promoting independent living, fostering urban and rural regeneration, promoting affordable
housing, building a stronger community, and delivering better public services.
2. The intermediate market is well recognized and has government policies to support it.
Government initiatives to promote this market have largely built upon institutions and
mechanisms already providing social rental housing.
3. Key worker housing programs are well developed throughout England with the definition
of “key workers” expanding from the traditional concepts of nurses, teachers and police
officers as essential workers to many others in the public services, including transport, local
government, fire-fighters and ambulance staff in addition to the retail, tourist and service
industries, which are vital to London's economy in particular.
4. A wide variety of “housing products” are being explored and are publicly financed, such as
discounted home-ownership, shared ownership, shared appreciation ownership, and discounted
rental. While originally only for low income and “key workers”, this range of products is now
geared to meet the needs and aspirations of the many people who fall between the two stools of
full market and social rental housing. Public financing mechanisms include: Commercial banks,
Public subsidy (50% of costs) and exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT).
5. A wide range of shared equity programs and products have been developed and are being
explored, the most widely supported being the HomeBuy suite of products. In this model, the
national government provides funding to local Housing Associations to hold the share of either
purpose built housing or housing on the open market in partnership with a qualifying household.
Open market products, however, present an additional demand on existing properties and
therefore contribute to pressures on house prices; as a result this product is almost exclusively
used for key workers.
6. Affordable housing is managed by a variety of actors among which Housing Associations
(HA) are of the most common. HAs are independent, private non-profit foundations in most
jurisdictions that manage and coordinate information on affordable housing programs and
policies, creating new housing and helping a range of income earners gain access to the market.
They traditionally built and administered social rental accommodation for low-income earners,
but they have recently been expanding their services to include housing products that allow a
wider range of income earners access to house-purchasing. Local authorities also hold a
significant stock of housing which they may directly manage or defer to arm’s-length
management organisations. Any housing provider may become a “Registered Social Landlord”
(which means they register with the national Housing Corporation) and be eligible for
7. Many jurisdictions have Inclusionary Zoning policies that require up to 35% of new units
be “affordable”. These units may be social rental, shared ownership, or purchase discounted in
the form of re-sale covenant properties. It is recognized, however, that reaching a mutually
acceptable agreement between developer and local authority over the appropriate financial
contribution remains a major challenge to the program’s success. An unintended outcome has
been for developers to create their own financial models and programs for providing affordable
housing without involving housing associations in the development.
Appendix D – Profiles of affordability leverages
The following section provides detailed information profiles of each of the affordable housing
development tools and strategies that were discussed in section 5. The following development tools and
strategies are presented:
Demand side financial tools
- Asset building
- Employer Assisted Housing (EAH)
- Shared equity financing
Supply side cost savings tools
- Incremental housing
- Prefabricated methods in housing
- Self-build or owner-build
- Options for Homes
Communal housing approaches
- Co-operative housing
- Life leases and Abbeyfield housing
Land distribution tools
- Land leases
- Community Land Trusts
Comparative summary table of development tools and strategies that contribute to housing affordability
Model Strategy category Contributions to affordability Long-term Public funding
1. Asset building Financial demand side - Helps in savings to access market housing No Generally yes
2. Employer assisted Financial demand side - Employer contributes funding/leverage to either build housing or assist employees Can be used to Not necessarily
housing (EAH) tools in accessing housing on market do so3
3. Shared equity Financial demand side - Need not purchase the entire share of housing all at once Yes Not necessarily
financing tools - Often are also re-sale restricted
4. Reduced parking Supply side cost savings - Reduced land and infrastructure costs associated with parking Yes No
5. Incremental housing Supply side cost savings - Can add on to the structure of the house as household is financially able No (units re-sell No
tools - Option for household to remain in place as circumstances change at market)
6. Manufactured Supply side cost savings - Lower production/labour costs and generally also material costs No No
7. Self-build Supply side cost savings - Lower to no labour costs No No
8. Options for Homes Housing delivery - Non-profit developer created No No
- Modest units, no marketing, no frills
- Options for Homes supplies additional mortgage
9. Co-operative Housing delivery - Long-term affordability for community Yes Likely initially
Housing - Rents geared to income
- ‘Rents’ paid by residents are used to invest in the co-operative
10. Cohousing Housing delivery - Shared spaces/resources/services Yes Likely initially
- May be able to alleviate other expenses such as child/elder care or care for
someone with a disability
11. Life leases and Housing delivery - Initially, financing for the project comes from the prospective residents (no Yes No
Abbeyfield borrowing costs)
- Smaller units and shared services/spaces
- May be re-sale restricted
12. Land leases Land distribution - Reduced land costs Yes In the form of
- Valuable for government who can retain community-oriented interest in the land land
13. Community Land Land distribution - Reduced land costs Yes In the form of
14. Regional housing Organization of housing - Increased efficiency in affordable housing program execution Indirectly - yes Yes
associations delivery - May be able to raise the profile of affordable housing (indirect contribution)
This represents the general case of these models. Nearly all units can be regulated to sell at a reduced rate with the appropriate policies, programs and
Depends on if employer supports employee to access market housing, or provides employee-specific re-sale restricted housing.
Model – Asset Building / Strategy- Demand Side Financial Tool
1 Definition - Asset building refers to the broad array of public policies, strategies, and programs that enable people with limited financial resources
to accumulate long-term and productive assets, such as savings, investments, a home, post-secondary education and training, and a
nest-egg for retirement.
- In this context we’re refering to programs that can support savings for home-ownership.
2 Variations - Tax sheltering savings
- Government savings matching programs. E.g. Australian Home Saver Accounts in which government contribute 17% on first 5000$
each year. Others, such as employers, can also contribute. First of its kind in AU. Withdrawals are tax-free. Limit of $75 000 on overall
account balance. If circumstances change, and account holder no longer wants to buy a house, the money is transferred to a
superannuation (pension) fund.
- Employer savings matching programs (See profile on Employer Assisted Housing below)
- German and Austrian Bausparkassen – savings contract accounts. For a saving period of six years the customers get a modest
premium by the state. It is a medium profitable but very secure investment. Having paid off the contract the customer has the right for
a low interest loan. Even though the interest over the past decade has been hardly more convenient than capital market mortgage
loans, the Bauspar-loans are very popular because of their long tradition, security and long term low interest rate. Government
subsidized through regulated interest rates.
- All of these may work well if the savings have to be used for some resale restricted, shared-equity housing so that the savings don’t
have the indirect effect of driving up housing prices.
3 Target - Tax sheltering does not particularly benefit households of low income, but it can work well for those who are earning a ‘decent’, middle
Population, –income wage such as the workforce.
- Matching savings programs (such as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)) are common in the US for assisting low-income
earners save, but the amounts are generally very small. (Canada too has experimented with the idea)
4 Type of equity - Not housing, but savings equity
5 Contributions to - Affordability is determined by the interaction of housing prices, net household incomes, interest rates and mortgage lending criteria.
Affordability This model can help in acquiring assets to access the market but a sufficient income will be needed to make mortgage payments.
6 Longevity of - Depends on if there are stipulations as to what kind of housing the saver can purchase – re-sale restricted or not. Generally these
affordability programs help individuals save to participate in the regular market.
7 Price: a) - N/A
compared to new
8 Government role - Formulating tax policies that allow for sheltering and/or matching/incentive contributions.
9 Indirect Municipal - N/A
10 Public Funding - Depends on the program: May be direct (as in the case of matching) or indirect (as in the case of foregone revenue through reduced
11 Administration of - Administration of savings program necessary and can become quite complex when monitoring income thresholds, how the money is
Housing used, etc.
12 Community/ - N/A
13 Community - N/A
14 Corporate - Depends on the system
15 Risk analysis to - Savings schemes might have the indirect effect of raising housing prices thereby perpetuating the unsustainable housing situation.
16 Understanding of - Unsure
17 Marketability and - N/A
risk – Developer’s
18 Other notes of
19 Local examples
20 Countries that US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Australia and many other countries have mechanisms for supporting and rewarding savings for housing.
use this model
21 Resources - Information on Individual Development Accounts http://gwbweb.wustl.edu/csd/Publications/2002/ADDreport2002.pdf
- BC Asset Building Collaborative http://www.bcassetbuilding.ca/index.php
- Home Saver Accounts in Australia, http://www.homesaver.treasury.gov.au/content/default.asp
- Scholten, U. 2000. Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in Developed Countries: The German-Austrian Bausparkassen. Journal
of Comparative Economics 28 (2): 340-363
Model – Employer Assisted Housing / Strategy – Demand Side Financial Tool
1 Definition/ Howe Any housing program – rental or homeownership – that is financed or in some way assisted by an employer. It is a flexible approach that can
it works be used to fit different community contexts. Most help employees purchase homes, but they can also provide rental assistance or increase the
amount of housing. It is an especially powerful tool for employers that are struggling with recruitment and retention while also leveraging
employer benefit for the entire community in times of prosperity for the employer. Employers are a largely untapped source of affordable
2 Variations Two commonly used approaches:
1. Demand side: ‘Employee benefit’ as any of the following - savings for housing is provided as part of a resident’s salary or wages
(matching), down-payment assistance, providing directly low-interest and/or forgivable loans including second mortgage, mortgage
guarantee, securing favourable group lending rates with a bank in exchange for providing a stream of applicants, rental assistance,
credit repair and counselling, homebuyer education and counselling.
2. Supply side through any of the following interventions: New employers to a community contribute to a local municipal fund to provide
housing or provide housing directly, provide gap financing loans to developers, leveraging credit for developers (higher loan amounts
and better interest rates), purchase guarantees of new units.
Either a single large employer can offer these benefits to its employees or a group of employers can come together to pool their funds and/or
leverage such as securing favourable mortgage lending rates for their employees in exchange for the employers doing their business banking
with that bank.
Resort towns, resource towns, large firms, universities, hospitals, crown corporations all might benefit from providing some sort of housing for
their prospective employees and therefore be interested in this model. They could provide it as part of a benefits package like health care or
any of those other benefits. The emphasis is to encourage employees to save money to buy into the market otherwise they would be using up
the space indefinitely and the company might want to have freed housing for incoming staff. This solution is meant to only be temporary –
This model works well in conjunction with other models such as limited equity co-ops and Community Land Trusts – the employer helps finance
these tenure arrangements and helps employees gain access to them.
Key ingredients include:
- Multiple/combined strategies
- Adequate admin resources
- Adequate financing
- Understanding of responsibilities
- Understanding of local conditions
3 Target - Depends on the aims of the program: May be set up for certain employer categories (emergency response, teachers, etc.), or to
Population, certain income ranges or simply to residents employed in the area.
- Often define geographic area for housing subsidy and/or supply to make sure housing is close to work.
4 Type of equity - Generally home-ownership, although can be rental as well.
5 Contributions to - Employer provides leverage/subsidies to help employees access housing.
- With resale restrictions on purpose built or acquired housing, employers may ensure long-term affordability.
- May combine this approach with land distribution models which ensure community interest in long-term affordability such as
Community Land Trusts.
- Although there is recognition that these benefits may be somewhat limited in a housing market with very high prices.
6 Longevity of - Depends on model, if employers are providing housing (can resale restrict) or providing savings for market housing (regular market
affordability conditions). Whistler Housing Authority model is affordable in perpetuity.
- The security of the housing will depend on the viability of the private employer. E.g. If the company’s market goes soft, employer may
shut down the business and the community will loose its access to the housing
- Employer assisted housing more stable in public workforce sector
7 Price: a) - If employer or municipal provided – sell or rent at cost or at subsidized cost.
compared to new
8 Roles and - Range of stakeholders involved in the process: employer, employees, housing associations, local government, existing residents,
responsibilities technical assistance providers, lenders, developers, local business groups.
- Provincial government can assist by: creating EAH tax credits and providing dedicated matching funds.
9 Indirect Municipal - Can be used to make housing more affordable, although unsure as to whether this benefits the broader community in the long run.
10 Public Funding - This models works well in leveraging capital from employers which is then matched or supplemented with public funding, either
ongoing or single contribution.
- WHA model benefits from receiving cheep/donated provincial/municipal land.
- May also be in the form of tax credits.
- Could be made eligible for existing housing funding programs.
11 Administration of - Requires coordination and monitoring, generally undertaken by a local housing association or local government (particularly in the
Housing case of public employer initiated housing).
12 Community/ - For purpose built, stronger if community is involved in the planning process.
13 Community - May be achieved if employers are investing in community and are truly engaged in the social well being of the community not, for
Development instance, using community for marketing their products or corporate identity.
- Community benefiting from private investment in community – particularly beneficial in neighbourhoods in need of revitalization.
- Potentially indirectly through higher job satisfaction, higher retention of employees, longer residency and investment in community.
14 Corporate - A three way partnership model between employer and the group of employees it represents, an administrative organization and a
governance technical assistance provider.
accountability - Admin can be a non-profit or local government housing association - it distributes the benefit, provides counselling and information on
lenders, assisting with obtaining a loan, administering employer contributions, distributing funding to developers.
- Technical assistance provider provides expertise in program design and start up, provides on going assistance, etc.
15 Risk analysis to - Support for the housing will disappear if the company moves or experiences economic hardship.
- In cases where employers provide the housing directly, they require that the resident be an employee. Therefore, if work
circumstances change, the resident will have to leave their community in search of new housing although this can be mitigated
through program design.
16 Understanding of - Yes, this is a key service provided by employers is education.
17 Marketability and - N/A, as the housing will already have a ‘demand’ and likely will have secured financing with employer leverages. Employers may also
risk – Developer’s pre-purchase units for their employees.
- However, if company experiences hardship in the period of creating housing, it could affect the viability of the project.
- Employer can write off EAH benefit as regular part of doing business.
18 Other notes of A ‘Workforce housing’ research group in Victoria has recently been established. They conducted a survey on what employers feel about the
interest issue and their interest in getting involved in workforce housing issues and asked about support for the following initiatives:
- Working with local governments to increase the supply of affordable housing.
- Creating or purchasing wholly or partially employer-owned housing for employees.
- Creating on-site housing for employees.
- Providing rental subsidies for employees.
- Providing mortgage assistance for employees.
- Participating in a group of employers that would speak out in support of proposed affordable housing developments.
- Contributing to an organization that would help to secure affordable housing for its member employers.
19 Local examples - Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) – successful model that many other jurisdictions look to.
- Verdant, SFU housing is for employees.
20 Countries that - US has a history and well developed research in Employer Assisted Housing.
use this model - OEK Workers Housing Association in Greece and 1% Logement in France – Employers and employees set aside in ~1% of wage
earnings to fund OEK-led production of housing which is sold at cost.
21 Resources - http://www.policylink.org/EDTK/EAH/default.html
Model – Shared Equity Home Ownership / Strategy – Demand Side Financial Tool
1 Definition/ How it - Equity sharing refers to a case where a purchaser benefits from lower mortgage payments in exchange for sharing any appreciation
works in the value of their home with another party (either an equity loan provider or a shared owner).
- Prospective resident secures a mortgage for their share of the unit (generally starts out around 50% of the unit share). Housing
association/trust retains ownership of the remaining share. When the unit is sold, residents recoup value appreciation of only their
share of the unit.
- Many such units are resale restricted, therefore the appreciation is regulated to ensure long-term affordability.
2 Variations Other shared equity approaches include community land trusts, limited equity cooperatives or condominiums, and resale-restricted homes.
These models will be discussed elsewhere. In this case we’re referring to shared-equity as a financing arrangement between a housing
association and a resident or between a mortgage lender and a tenant.
Many different models of shared-ownership financing (all from the UK):
- Rent-to-own/ Staircasing: Full ownership can be ‘staircased’ out, generally in increments of 25% or 10%. Staircasing refers to the
practice of purchasing additional percentages of a shared ownership house (from a Housing Association in this case). Depending on
the arrangement the resident may purchase the unit as freehold or may lease it over the long term from the Housing Association.
- Do It Yourself Shared Ownership (DIYSO): Instead of purchasing housing directly from a Housing Association, they set the
prospective home-buyer a budget which can be used to acquire housing on the open market. When they have found a property, the
Housing Association would purchase it and then sell the home-buyer a share, which can be staircased at a later date. (although this
was retracted in England due to the better value for money from the new-build alternative)
- Homebuy scheme: A housing association issues a grant for 25% of the purchase price of a home which does not accrue interest, but
must be paid back at the time the house sells (i.e. equity loan arrangement).
- It’s anticipated that as shared equity becomes a more recognized means for large institutions and individuals to invest in residential
property, a secondary market in which equity shares can be traded will develop and that the pricing of equity loans will become more
3 Target - Low to middle-income households.
income range - Households who wish to purchase a home, but do not qualify for financing with most financial institutions.
- Certain products can be targeted to certain ‘key workers’ – this is the case in the UK.
4 Type of equity - Shared-ownership including of housing cooperative
5 Contributions to - Can purchase only a portion of a home, purchase it outright, or make payments incrementally.
Affordability - Some investment in a potentially appreciating asset.
6 Longevity of - Depends on covenant/resale-restrictions, but can be indefinite.
7 Price: a) - Depends – housing may be created at market prices, but shared equity arrangement allows a household to gain access to a house
compared to new that it normally couldn’t under non-shared arrangements.
compared to - OR housing may be created at below market rates by providing smaller, more modest units, non-profit created, savings from which
existing housing would be passed on to the resident.
8 Roles and - Depends on if the government, a lender or a housing association is supporting the initiative.
9 Indirect Municipal - Not necessary
10 Public Funding - Depends on who is administrating and ‘sharing’ the shared-equity arrangements: Private developer or lender initiated are not reliant
on public funding although they do benefit from concessions.
- The English government is heavily investing in these schemes at a significant cost, but find that supporting a publicly subsidized
shared-equity program is good value for money. Equity uplift will be fully recycled to expand affordable housing. Providing purpose
built housing is more cost-effective, although residents appreciate open-market models.
- The English government anticipates that with more private lender involvement, the government can reduce spending.
11 Administration of - Housing association or trust is required to maintain the shared equity arrangements and means-test where applicable.
12 Community/ - Unsure, likely N/A
13 Community - In cases where shared-equity programs have been created to support key workers, the workers indicated that they remained with
Development their job and in their community as a result of their housing.
14 Corporate - Depends on who is administering the program.
15 Risk analysis to - Households must not be encouraged to over extend themselves by entering into an unsustainable financing arrangement.
16 Understanding of - May still be a somewhat foreign concept in Canada.
17 Marketability and - N/A in cases where government or housing association initiates and funds the project.
risk – Developer’s
perspective - In cases where developer initiates a shared-equity scheme without public assistance, units tend to sell well.
- Depending on the arrangement, equity partner may decide to share in the depreciation of the asset as well as appreciation
depending on market circumstances.
18 Other notes of
19 Local examples - SFU, Verdant
20 Countries that - UK, Ireland, Australia, US, Canada.
use this model - These products are widely used in many parts of UK and are gaining ground in AU.
- England has decided to provide publicly funded shared equity products. It is also actively monitoring the development and
performance of the shared equity market.
21 Resources - HM Treasury, Communities and Local Government. December 2006. Report on the Shared Equity Task Force.
- National Community Housing Forum. April 2002. Shared Equity Arrangements: An Information Paper
- North Ireland Government Department for Social Development, http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/index/publications/homepage-
- Housing Corporation, 2005. Have you heard about New Build HomeBuy? A guide to buying a home from a housing association on
shared ownership terms. http://www.housingcorp.gov.uk/upload/pdf/Homebuy_20060621165051.pdf
Model – Incremental Housing / Strategy – Supply Side Cost Savings Tools
1 Definition/ How it Characterized by being upgradeable, expandable, divisible, versatile and flexible housing. Permits an incremental approach to housing –
works expand or alter it as circumstances evolve.
- Anticipated Change
2 Variations - Often small-scale owner-built development although can be built and sold on a larger-scale by developers.
- Can be applied in suburban and urban contexts as infill or stand-alone subdivisions.
- Specific models include: Grow Home – allows for adaptability and flexibility within the building envelop; Sprout Home, Pro-Home –
incremental approach to the housing mass.
3 Target - Housing is well suited to four segments of the population: young families, lone-parent families, single-persons and empty nesters, if
Population, Universal Design used it also addresses aging in place. Many of who are also low to mid income.
- Could be applied to RGI households if a central agency was managing the units.
4 Type of equity - Generally ownership, although because it’s a method of construction any organization could use these methods for which ever tenure
5 Contributions to - Enables ownership by seeing housing as a process rather than a product. Affordability is achieved through smaller lot costs, lower
Affordability municipal taxes and infrastructure costs, incremental approach to housing as income permits, can allow household to remain in place
and not to incur moving costs, create office or rental suite which can bring in revenue.
- Initial price is lower, but if households decide not to add on to their unit, they may find that they paid unnecessarily for the option to
6 Longevity of - Depends – if a housing association or government built the housing, they could place a resale restriction on it. In most cases an
affordability individual resident initiates the project and re-sells at market rate.
- The ‘enduring value’ is in fact that a household can incrementally add to the completion of their home as their incomes increase and
life circumstances change thereby increasingly the likelihood that they will not have to move.
- A flexible, adaptable built form can also add to the longevity of the building therefore allowing the benefits from the original capital
investment to be realized over a longer time frame
- Lower ecological impact than shorter life buildings.
7 Price: a) - Generally lower than conventional new units.
compared to new
8 Roles and - Municipal governments control zoning which affects where these units can be built and how their built form is regulated.
- Municipal regulations are identified as the largest barriers to this model because they are generally too rigid for an adaptable
approach to housing (e.g. building heights and setbacks, habitable space in attics, parking spaces on a small site, number of units
9 Indirect Municipal - Not necessary, although the model could benefit from this.
10 Public Funding - Not necessary
11 Administration of - Doesn’t require centralized administration although the model would benefit from some coordinated information and services for
Housing those interested in this model.
12 Community/ - Communities may be cautious of a model that they are unfamiliar with and that potentially will change their views as massing of the
Neighbourhood building changes.
13 Community - High – research suggests that individual households often add on to their unit with the help of their neighbours.
potential - Residents stay in neighbourhoods longer.
- Can add spaces to their unit that may benefit the community such as suites for elderly members of the family, home offices (mixed-
use community, less commuting), rental units, etc.
14 Corporate - N/A as the projects are generally individually initiated.
15 Risk analysis to - Lending institutions are often hesitant to finance homes left partially unfinished at time of purchase.
- Owners find the product to be quite marketable.
16 Understanding of - Concept may be foreign to many who are not as accustomed to the idea of housing as a process.
17 Marketability and - Private developers have seen the Grow Home as a viable product to construct and market, and have been rewarded with strong
risk – Developer’s sales.
- May allow for smaller homebuilding companies to participation in the creation of these units as they typically require less up-front
18 Other notes of - City of North Vancouver has adopted Adaptable Design Guidelines and require that housing developments provide a certain
interest proportion of units as accessible and adaptable (three levels to characterize degree of accessibility and adaptability).
19 Local examples - Smart Home concept in City of North Vancouver: Renovate an existing small house and finish main floor to basics; develop a suite in
basement; add an in-fill house at rear of lot.
20 Countries that - Montreal leader in the country, although some initiatives also in Ontario and Alberta.
use this model - Some in US
- Germany, Netherlands, Sweden
21 Resources - CMHC, 1999. Affordable, Adaptable Housing. ftp://ftp.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/chic-ccdh/Research_Reports-
Rapports_de_recherche/eng_bilingual/Affordable adaptable housing.pdf
Model – Manufactured Housing / Strategy – Supply Side Cost Savings Tool
1 Definition Housing or components of a house that is created by factory-set standards in a controlled environment. The concept has evolved beyond
2 Variations - Modular – three dimensional modules built in factory and combined on-site.
- Manufactured – typically leave the factory in one piece.
- Panelized – pre-fabricated walls, floors and roof assemblies which are assembled on site.
- Pre-engineered housing – pre-packaged home that are shipped to site. E.g. The ‘Kit Home’ in UK
3 Target - Any who are interested in this type of housing.
income range - Historically appealed more to and was marketed to lower-income, but pre-fab is making a comeback in some areas as high-quality
4 Type of equity - Historically rental and ownership on leased land.
- Models have expanded to include owned housing built on owned land or bare land strata.
5 Contributions to - Lower productions costs of materials.
- Lower delivery costs – all materials delivered in one load.
- Lower architect service costs.
- Lower labour costs – takes less time to build and is less dependent on weather and shipping delays.
- Assured construction quality.
- Specific fitting of pieces can result in less wastage of materials and air tight assembly (energy savings).
- But land will remain the significant cost in any housing project.
6 Longevity of - As these usually re-sell on the market, depends on what the market will bear.
- ‘Trailer’ type homes do not appreciate greatly and B.C. are subject to rent restrictions in the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act.
Other models seem to perform better.Page: 46
7 Price: a) - Estimates range from 1/3 the cost of a conventionally assembled home (excluding land from the calculation) to more than a
compared to new conventional home.
8 Government role - Municipalities may have land-use controls which restrict this type of housing. This is a great barrier.
9 Indirect Municipal - Not necessary
10 Public Funding - Not necessary
11 Administration of - Not necessary although, non-profit housing associations might consider using manufactured housing in meeting their goals.
12 Community/ - Unknown – likely depends on the aesthetics of the unit.
acceptance - In many European countries pre-fabricated components are a common building material. They can be used to create very attractive
13 Community - N/A unless the housing is assembled by members of the community – may give sense of ownership, pride and community
14 Corporate - N/A
15 Risk analysis to - Manufactured housing seems to have more quality assurances than regularly built housing.
- Tenure security if land is not also owned.
16 Understanding of - Likely stigma around the concept as low-income housing.
17 Marketability and - Usually owner initiated, in which case N/A.
risk – Developer’s
perspective - Although developers may decide to build using these techniques in which case risk might be stigma of manufactured housing.
Depends on context and reputation of the product.
18 Other notes of - Working indoors for the construction and assembly of components can allow for more ‘humane’ working conditions in times of
interest extreme weather like cold winters and very hot summers, common to the interior of the Province and Canada.
19 Local examples
20 Countries that US, Canada, UK, Finland, Ireland, etc.
use this model
21 Resources - Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute: http://www.cmhi.ca/www/
- Manufactured Housing Institute - http://www.manufacturedhousing.org/lib/showtemp_detail01.asp?id=88&cat=features
- Ford Foundation, NeighborWorks Program. 2002. An Examination of Manufactured Housing as a Community- and Asset-Building
- Habitat for Humanity Canada. 2003. Affordable Homeownership: Background Discussion Paper
Model – Self Build / Strategy – Supply Side Cost Savings Tool
1 Definition/ How it - An approach to building housing that relies on volunteer labour either from the owner-occupier or external volunteers.
2 Variations - Traditionally rooted in single and either rural or small-town applications. But a growing number in urban areas too.
- Could work well with Community Land Trusts.
- Can be part of a Community Development strategy.
- Effectiveness depends on strategic use of unskilled and skilled labour.
- Self-build initiatives produce housing that is deemed more satisfactory to the participants than homes built and purchased
conventionally (higher degrees of quality and precision, higher levels of pride and satisfaction with results).
3 Target - Programs such as Habitat for Humanity have generally been initiated to help very low-income, but could be used for any income
4 Type of equity - Generally ownership
5 Contributions to - Reduction in cost of labour
- Non-profit development of housing
6 Longevity of - Not generally retained. After unit has been built, it can sell on the market.
- May have a minimum post-occupancy length of tenure to avoid speculation.
7 Price: a) - Depends on the proportion of housing cost that’s labour.
compared to new
8 Government role
9 Indirect Municipal - Could benefit from this, but it is not necessary.
10 Public Funding - Not necessary
11 Administration of - Yes, and training and recruitment when external volunteers are used, otherwise, no.
12 Community/ - Greater when community participates.
13 Community - Very high – can promote the learning of new skills, interaction with neighbours, enhance collective capacity in future building projects
Development and maintenance.
14 Corporate - Self build participants must form an organization to see the project through.
15 Risk analysis to - May be difficult to obtain a loan for a house that is built with volunteer labour: Sweat-equity may not be recognized by lenders as non-
tenants/owners cash equity.
- Quality control is an issue.
16 Understanding of - Likely some stigma around this housing as being only for the very low-income.
17 Marketability and - Quality control.
risk – Developer’s
perspective - This is likely an issue as the household or the organization is initiating the creation of the housing, not the developer.
- Insurance liability with unskilled workers.
18 Other notes of
19 Local examples
20 Countries that - Habitat for Humanity
use this model - Atlantic Canada, Native demonstration projects, Australia
- Examples of individuals and communities participating in the creation of housing worldwide, particularly in developing countries
Model – ‘Options’ for Homes / Strategy – Supply Side Cost Savings Tool
1 Definition Model developed by OFH in which a co-operative builds housing for sale to its members “at cost”, and where the difference between the sale
price, which is based on appraised value, is financed by individual second mortgages assigned to Home Ownership Alternatives. This
mortgage is then repayable when the original purchaser sells the unit. The co-operative development corporation dissolves after all of its
contractual obligations have been completed, generally three years following project completion. At the point of condo registration, it is no
different than any other condo arrangement. Individuals from previous Options projects then form the initial board of directors for a subsequent
Three components that make up the model:
- Organizational component – which consists of three separate legal entities:
- Options for Homes as a non-profit development consulting company that provides development assistance services to building
co-operatives on a project-specific basis
- a co-operative development corporation that is the “developer” whose members are the unit purchasers
- Home Ownership Alternatives – a separate non-profit entity that holds 2nd mortgages on units and provides measures to
stimulate the production of more affordable home ownership units
- Development and construction component – consists of the development consultant (Options for Homes), the building co-operative
as the developer and a builder
- Financial component – consists of the pricing and financing model that uses a shared appreciation 2nd mortgage as a principal means
of increasing the affordability of units to initial purchasers and providing the source of start up funds for new projects.
2 Variations N/a
3 Target - Income range (based on figures from Toronto): $23K – 58K (10K less that the income ranges needed to purchase similar privately
Population, developed condo units).
income range - Low – moderate first time buyers
- Options is currently looking into using this model in conjunction with public and external funding to target those of very low income.
4 Type of equity Ownership, shared appreciation mortgage
5 Contributions to - No profit margin
Affordability - Limited marketing
- Modest units. Upgrades (including parking) can be purchased in addition.
- No luxurious amenities (therefore also lower strata fees – 10-20% less)
- OFH works with a ‘complete package’ of contracted consultants, builders, construction manager, etc. who deliver the product on a
fixed price contract basis.
- Second mortgage that doesn’t have to be paid until unit is sold (i.e. no carrying costs on the second mortgage)
6 Longevity of - Permanent for the initial buyer, but affordability is not passed on to subsequent buyers.
affordability - The non-profit second mortgage provider however uses appreciations from the shared appreciation mortgage to invest in new units
thereby contributing to affordability for an expanded population.
7 Price: a) a) ~15% less than similar condos produced by a private developer
compared to new
8 Government role N/A
9 Indirect Municipal Not necessary although the affordability of the model can be enhanced by deferring development permit fees, etc.
10 Public Funding Not necessary although Options proponents have been asking the province and municipalities for free land in order to launch the model here.
11 Administration of - Group of prospective tenants form when the housing is being built.
Housing - 2nd mortgages must be managed by Home Ownership Alternatives non-profit.
12 Community/ Doesn’t appear to be an issue.
13 Community - Significant. Residents report feeling a sense of community from having worked together on the realization of the project.
Development - Once a project is complete, residents are invited to sit on subsequent board of directors to get new projects going
potential - Current Options owners are also invited to engage in marketing of the model to their friends and previous neighbours in a friendly
and un-intimidating format (often at community centres, etc.)
- The 2nd mortgage holder (Home Ownership Alternatives) re-invests its profits into subsequent Options projects.
14 Corporate Based on the model of a workers collective.
15 Risk analysis to - No additional risk than regular market produced units.
tenants/owners - The 2nd mortgage can actually mitigate risk by: not requiring payment until unit is sold, protection against a scenario of depreciation
- Not recommended for those of very low income.
16 Understanding of Requires education – is somewhat complex
17 Marketability and - A group of current Options residents and prospective residents form a co-operative development corporation
risk – Developer’s - Must achieve 75% pre-sales before financing construction
18 Other notes of
19 Local examples - Have heard that this model has been considered in BC but would not work because land prices are so high (particularly in the major centres:
MetroVan, Victoria, Kelowna)
20 Countries that Canada, US
use this model
21 Resources - Toronto Community Housing Corporation and City of Toronto's Let's Build Program, 2005. Assessment of Options for Homes and the
'Options' Model for the Production of Low - Income Ownership Housing
Model – Housing Co-operatives / Strategy – Communal Housing Delivery Approaches
1 Definition A housing co-operative is formed when people join with each other on a democratic basis to own or control the housing and/or related
community facilities in which they live. Usually they do this by forming a not-for-profit co-operative corporation. Each month they pay an
amount that covers their share of the operating expenses of their co-operative corporation.
2 Variations - Wide range of different models, with different names, to meet the needs of different residents: Student Housing Co-operatives, Tenant
Management Co-operatives , Fully Mutual Co-ops, Short Life Co-ops, Building Co-operatives, Communal Housing Co-operatives,
Community-Based Housing Associations, Co-operatives for Seniors, Green Housing Co-operatives, Market Rate Co-operative, equity
co-operative, limited equity, non-profit, work-force co-ops.
- In the case of equity/shared-equity: Stocks or shares are sold at full market value in the original sale and the co-op permits a market
rate of return on the resale of the share or stock by its members (tenant stockholders). Appreciation of limited equity shares accrue to
the co-op or may be shared between resident and co-op.
- Those who formerly looked to equity co-ops are today more likely to purchase condominiums and strata-title properties.
3 Target - Typically low to middle income, although in some models higher income earners may be permitted – self-select into this model.
income range - False Creek South in Vancouver has equity co-ops which were originally geared to income, but as people started saving more, rather
than moving out of the co-op, what they were doing was buying additional homes elsewhere, investing their capital there, and living
cheaply within the city. The co-op model doesn’t seem to work at ‘giving a hand’ and moving tenants into the market.
- The non-profit housing managed by Metro Vancouver does, however, because the rents are geared to income therefore once tenants
are charged ‘market rate’ as their incomes increase, many of them decide to move out into the market.
4 Type of equity - Shared - Co-operative
5 Contributions to - Government land often leased at a very low rate to equity co-ops.
- A waiting list of buyers alleviates the need and expense of marketing – so long as there is a waiting list.
- Residents get their first entry into a form of home ownership.
- Low down payments, no closing costs.
- Households do not need to qualify for a mortgage or take out a loan as long as they qualify to pay the monthly carrying charges.
- Units become less expensive over time relative to the market.
6 Longevity of - Generally indefinite.
- ‘Enduring value’ to individual household comes in the form that a household may transfer to a different unit within the co-op with little
cost as household circumstances change thereby reducing the need (and expense) to move.
7 Price: a)
compared to new
8 Government roles - In BC, co-op members in equity co-ops are jointly liable for debts. This is not the case in other provinces such as Alberta which
allows equity co-ops to be stratified and treated financially in essence like a condo unit. The Province could amend this to make
private investment in co-ops more attractive.
9 Indirect Municipal - Can benefit from these although not necessary.
10 Public Funding - Historically in Canada they have relied on funding, although some models are privately initiated.
- Co-ops generally only need one ‘start-up’ subsidy for the life of the project.
- Laws in BC are not conducive to private initiation and investment in this model.
- Residents are deemed eligible for BC’s Home Owner Grant (but not rental assistance program).
11 Administration of - An 'external' non-profit may manage, or if small enough, the tenants will manage itself through their board.
12 Community/ - Mixed
13 Community - It certainly can foster this, especially if communities are involved in the creation of the housing.
potential - Democratic nature of the management of it also lends itself to community development.
- Possible additional support for other cooperative efforts in the community (i.e. not just housing).
- Housing co-ops have also been known to support each other.
- But many co-ops are only in name only and do very little co-operatively - highly dependent upon core 'social group' in that community
that creates the 'co-op culture'.
14 Corporate - Participatory: use of boards, committees on which tenants sit.
15 Risk analysis to - Easier to move in and out of because there is no unit to sell or buy, just transfer the share.
- Mixed views on how easy shares are to sell – depends on the demand.
- Shares in a co-op cannot normally be used as security for a mortgage. Members may have to pay cash for their shares.
16 Understanding of - Many different variations of the model make it difficult to understand, particularly with respect to how ‘investment’ is recouped - equity
model vs. non-equity vs. limited-equity co-op.
17 Marketability and - Non-profit orientation
risk – Developer’s
18 Other notes of - Many cooperative mortgages will be expiring soon therefore they are faced with a decision of what to do with their revenue that was
interest previously used to pay the mortgage. They might consider investing in more units and maintenance and also offering subsidies to
those who will no longer be receiving housing subsidies as soon as the programs expire (along with the mortgages).
- Although many co-ops require on-going maintenance (some due to ‘leaky condos’), which may have lapsed due to lack of funding
over the years and may decide to use their funding for repairs.
19 Local examples
20 Countries that - Nearly all countries surveyed
use this model
21 Resources - Cooperative Housing Federation of BC. www.chf.bc.ca
- National Association of Cooperatives – US. http://www.coophousing.org
- International Cooperative Alliance, http://www.ica.coop/al-ica/
- Canadian Co-operative Association, http://www.coopscanada.coop/
- Federation Nationale des Societies Cooperatives d'Hlm (France)
- Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa (Spain)
- Organizacao das Cooperativas Brasileiras - OCB (Brazil)
- GDW Bundesverband Deutscher Wonnungsunternehmen G.V. (German Housing Association)
- London Federation of Housing Co-ops (UK)
- Confederation of Co-operative Housing (UK)
HSB Riksforbund (Sweden)
Model – Cohousing / Strategy – Communal Housing Delivery Approaches
1 Definition - Type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighbourhoods.
- Residents are consciously committed to living as a community where the physical design of the community is to encourage both
social contact and individual space.
- Extensive common facilities are shared such as open space, kitchen, common house, laundry, services, vehicles, etc.
2 Variations - A common model used in ‘intentional communities’: Often regarded as an ecologically-oriented approach to housing in that it fosters
community, self-help, and residents share many services/facilities as well as provide care to those in need such as elderly, or day
care for children.
- Some are limited equity to maintain affordability over the long term.
- Generally communities of between 30 and 100 members.
3 Target - Generally residents self-select to live in cohousing.
income range - Appeals to those who are interested in community, safety, etc. and have a common vision.
- In cases where public subsidies or land have been given, a stipulation may be placed to secure a number of units for households of a
certain income range.
- Growing interest of this model for seniors in Europe and Australia.
4 Type of equity - Range: Rental, ownership, shared-ownership, co-operative.
5 Contributions to - Can contribute to affordability by providing space for future rental units, co-operative ownership of a unit, equity sharing with non-
Affordability resident partners, leaving some spaces unfinished to be completed as incomes/savings increase, shared utilities and shared spaces
which reduces individual home sizes, shared human resources (child care, know how, etc.) internal loan fund for incoming households
who may not be able to afford the entire mortgage (self-funded by the community), land trust, using a non-profit developer and/or
sweat-equity, building project at cost.
- Many however do need a significant down payment contribution from residents ~ 35%. Affordability can be fostered over the long term
with low interest loans from government.
6 Longevity of - Units can be resale restricted or can be sold at market rate.
7 Price: a) - In many cases the housing may actually initially be more expensive because of the upfront costs of designing, etc. but can retain
compared to new affordability in the longer term if the community is oriented towards that goal (limited-equity).
8 Government role - Planning for cohousing through zoning including allowing variances for compromised day-light, decreased setbacks, reduced parking
paired with co-op car, etc.
- Can benefit from government subsidies in order to make attainable by lower income households (is the case in Denmark).
9 Indirect Municipal - Not necessary although can reduce affordability.
- Land lease.
10 Public Funding - Some form of subsidy, land donation or direct funding is generally used.
11 Administration of - Depends on if the cohousing community has an agreement with a local public body/non-profit to provide a certain amount of housing
Housing for a certain income range.
12 Community/ - Unsure
13 Community - High for those within the cohousing community provided that residents support the communal lifestyle. It is not for everyone,
14 Corporate - Residents democratically participate in governance – often by consensus.
15 Risk analysis to - Units tend to have good resale so long as the community is well managed and kept.
16 Understanding of - May be unfamiliar to many as this is not a conventional way of thinking of housing in North America.
17 Marketability and - N/A as developments are generally self-initiated.
risk – Developer’s
perspective - Appeals to only a very select group of residents.
18 Other notes of
19 Local examples - Cranberry Commons Cohousing, Burnaby, BC: www.cranberrycommons.ca
- Creekside Commons, Courtenay, BC: www.creeksidecommons.ca
- Quayside Village, North Vancouver: http://quaysidevillage.googlepages.com/home
- Windsong, Langley: www.windsong.bc.ca
20 Countries that - US, Canada
use this model - Denmark and other parts of Europe
21 Resources - Cohousing Association of the United States, http://www.cohousing.org
- Cohousing resources LLC, http://www.cohousingresources.com
- Canadian Cohousing network, www.cohousing.ca
- ScottHanson, Chris and ScottHanson, Kelly. The Cohousing Handbooks: Building a Place for Community
Model – Lease Hold Housing/ Land Lease / Strategy – Land Distribution Approaches
1 Definition A lease is a contract between the leaseholder and the landlord giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time to use the land (or land +
building). The lease sets out the contractual obligations of the two parties: what the leaseholder has contracted to do, and what the landlord is
bound to do. The leaseholder's obligations will include payment of the ground rent (if any) and contribution to the costs of maintaining and
managing the property. The lease will probably also place certain conditions on the use and occupation of the unit. Leasehold units can be in
purpose-built blocks, in converted houses or above commercial or retail premises.
2 Variations - Either just the land or the land + building can be leased
- Stipulations can be stated on the lease such as the housing that sits on it has to serve a certain income range, has to be re-sale
3 Target - Can be a range, depending on the stipulations of the lender of the land
4 Type of equity - The housing that sits on leased land can be of any tenure type (rental, ownership, shared-ownership, co-op, etc)
- The land itself is a leasehold, generally on a 99year lease
5 Contributions to - Reduced development costs and therefore financing costs
Affordability - Deferred payment can enhance affordability
- Retains the public interest in the land (assuming the land is leased from a public entity)
- Owner of the land may place terms that protect affordability of the housing for the length of the lease.
6 Longevity of - Depends on the length of the lease, the stipulations in the lease contract and whether the lease will be renewed
7 Price: a) - Difference between cost of leased land and freehold land
compared to new
8 Government role - Legislation regulating these leasehold agreements
- Leasing out land
9 Indirect Municipal - Can offer favourable terms on lease of land, or allow for deferred payments
10 Public Funding - In the form of land
11 Administration of - Need someone to maintain the leasehold agreements
Housing - If a non-profit is leasing the land, will need administration of the housing itself
12 Community/ Unsure
13 Community N/A
15 Risk analysis to - Unless a guarantee exists that the land lease will be renewed at the end of lease period, the market value will decline to a negligible
tenants/owners amount as the lease approaches maturity. By comparison, under favourable economic/mkt conditions, an owned property and
dwelling continues to escalate in value.
16 Understanding of - May require some education around how the house and the land are separate entities with different tenure arrangements.
model - The model of where individuals can purchase a home on leased land is particularly confusing.
17 Marketability and - A leasehold interest is less valuable than freehold ownership for for-profit developers.
risk – Developer’s - Some finance lenders may be unwilling to lend on the developments with only a leasehold interest because they have less security in
perspective the event of a loan default.
- When building on leased land, they are putting equity into a depreciating asset (their building) while not benefiting from the
appreciating asset (the land).
- However, this is generally not a concern for non-profit providers of affordable housing, who are more interested in achieving
affordability than building equity.
18 Other notes of
19 Local examples - Land leasing for affordable housing has been used by many municipalities, including Vancouver and neighbouring cities in British
Columbia, and Toronto, and others in Ontario.
- For example, Vancouver has a policy of leasing land on a 60-year basis at 75% of the freehold value of the land. Over a third of
social housing in the city has been built on leased city-owned land.
- Case study examples of N. Van and Kamloops
- The Provincial Rental Housing Corp (at BC Housing) leases out many social housing properties to non-profits who operate them.
20 Countries that - Canada, US
use this model - Finland, UK
- Many others, very common tool
21 Resources - http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/inpr/afhoce/tore/afhoid/fite/lale/lale_001.cfm
- Communities and Local Government (UK):
Model – Community Land Trusts (CLT) / Strategy – Land Distribution Approaches
1 Definition - The Community Land Trust is a flexible civic tool for holding land on a democratic basis for the common good while facilitating private
ownership of structures and improvements.
- A non-profit corporation created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community and provide secure affordable access to land
and housing for community residents.
- Dual ownership structure – land + buildings.
- Is characterized by: non-profit status, democratic control, ownership of land, perpetual affordability
- It is particularly effective where the cost of land is quite high.
2 Variations - Also known as Housing Trusts.
- May be one development or units scattered around. Is viable in rural and urban contexts of all sizes.
- Co-operative, Lease-to-own, Facilitative
- Can be started with limited resources and expertise. Can be started with one unit, and expanded one unit as a time as money and
property become available.
- They do best at preserving existing housing as affordable rather than developing housing
3 Target - Generally low to middle income
Population, - May be used in conjunction with employer assisted housing in which the housing is built on a CLT
income range - Are particularly suitable in small communities and rural areas
4 Type of equity - Range: Rental, ownership, shared-equity
5 Contributions to - Land is the component of housing which generally drives the unaffordability of housing especially in compact and land limited
- A CLT can 'fix’ the value of the land in time thereby regulating the price of land in housing costs.
- Land is removed from the speculative market. Restrictive covenants can require that the home be owner-occupied (therefore not
- The price housing itself can (and more often than not) is also restricted to ensure affordability.
- Long term leases, and restrictive covenants limiting the selling price of the units, to some pre-determined formula, which might take
into effect inflation or buyer improvements, but not the future inflation of land values.
- Where appreciation does occur, the CLT retains a portion of any appreciation on the house itself.
- Gives the opportunity for low-income households to gain some equity in the rent-to-own model.
6 Longevity of Permanent, so long as the Trust manages the land. Covenants to restrict the increase in value of property.
7 Price: a) Depends on what % of housing cost is land and on the Trust’s rates
compared to new
8 Roles and - The CLT can be bought by municipalities, sponsoring non-profit organizations, unions, or other interested parties.
Responsibilities - If by Municipalities, an Affordable Housing Fund (funded by developer taxes and/or demolition fees) can be set up.
9 Indirect Municipal Not necessary
10 Public Funding - Required, especially to originally get the project off the ground.
- Often in the form of donated land.
- CLTs can be funded in a number of different ways: developers can be obligated, as a condition of development approval of large
projects, to pay into a CLT fund, or transfer title of units to a CLT; municipalities can direct a certain percentage of GST rebate funds
into a CLT (a strategy being used by Victoria, BC); and municipalities could levy a demolition tax when existing housing is re-
developed to be paid into a CLT. Land trusts are most effective when land can be acquired before or while the market is developing,
rather than afterward.
11 Administration of - Administration required – complexity of management will depend on the types of tenure offered (i.e. just rent vs. ownership), services
Housing provided and the extent of the estate
- Following elements are necessary to ensure success: sust business plan, strong leadership and administration, community support,
education and outreach, community partnerships, funding and capitalization, capacity building, a national network and technical
assistance, government support.
- Revolving funding required
- Unlike programs devoted to development, it can be started and sustained without major capital commitment, administrative staff or
- Can be run with minimal staff because the homeowners are responsible for maintaining their own units.
12 Community Unsure
13 Community - Facilitates multiple uses such as affordable housing, village improvement, commercial space, agriculture, recreation, and open space
14 Corporate - The classic CLT structure has a community-based membership open to all adult residents within its defined geographic region —
governance often a neighbourhood, city or county. The CLT is governed by an elected, tri-partite board that shares governance equally among
mechanisms and leaseholders residing on CLT-owned land; nearby residents who do not live on CLT-owned land; and public officials, local funders,
accountability non-profit professionals and others representing the public interest who bring to the board essential skills and abilities needed for
effective nonprofit administration.
15 Risk analysis to - The resale controls must strike an appropriate balance between ensuring the long-term affordability of the unit, and also allowing the
tenants/owners homeowners to take out a reasonable amount of equity.
- Because the agreement is unconventional, some lawyers initially may be reluctant to have their clients accept it.
16 Understanding of May not be intuitive to residents.
17 Marketability and - N/A. This model generally applies to existing housing or in cases where new housing is to be developed, it will be commissioned by
risk – Developer’s the Trust.
perspective - There will be restrictions to profit as the Trust will want to keep costs low
18 Other notes of Popular tool in preserving agricultural land and for conservation purposes.
19 Local examples - Conservation Land Trusts are gaining in popularity and influence in BC as a means of protecting ecologically valued land
- Same principles of protecting land can be applied to urban and settled contexts as well
20 Countries that - US (also known as Housing Trusts there),
use this model - Canada - Canmore, Alberta,
- Some countries in Europe,
- India, Israel, and Tanzania
- Traditional to India and Mexico
21 Resources - John Emmeus Davis, Amy Demetrowitz. May 2003. Permanently Affordable Housing: A Performance Evaluation of the CLT Model
Using Resale Data from the Burlington Community Land Trust. http://www.community-wealth.org/_pdfs/articles-
- John Emmeus Davis, 2004. Report on the assessment of permanently affordable housing through CLTs. http://www.community-
- Basolo, Victoria. 2001. “Affordable Housing Policies in High Cost Markets.” Presentation to the City Program, Simon Fraser
University, Harbour Centre, October 18, 2001.
Model – Housing Associations / Strategy – Housing Associations
- Organization that functions to coordinate affordable housing delivery and management in a region including funding from higher
levels of government.
- May serve as a resource centre and liaise with the various actors in the housing delivery and management process.
- They may have the mandate to serve the public directly to meet a wide range of housing needs in the community (a ‘one stop shop’)
or may only work with those involved directly in the development process.
2 Variations - Varying degrees of centralization, coordination and institutionalization: In some European countries this function is highly centralized
- E.g. UK has HomeBuy Agents in numerous communities who work closely with the local city housing department. They register a
prospective buyer’s interest, assess their eligibility, and provide details on the schemes in their area. They also actively engage in
marketing of their program. They work closely with the local government in providing detailed monitoring information in order to inform
- Whistler Housing Authority: Oversees the development of resident restricted housing through the use of the Employee Housing Fund.
3 Target - Meant to serve a wide range of households with different housing needs.
4 Type of equity - The organization will support a range of tenures depending on what’s appropriate and available to the household and available in the
5 Contributions to - Can act as a resource centre, administrator and regulator of affordable housing. One of their tasks can be to monitor the re-sale
Affordability restrictions place on ‘affordable housing’ and/or manage the ‘shared-equity’ portfolios as well as units in procured through inclusionary
- Can provide a link between higher levels of government and local government and local needs.
- Allows for a more targeted and nuanced approach to housing people affordably.
- If they are able to provide for a voice for affordable housing providers, they may be able to leverage some political clout for their
- Allows for a long-term/stable presence of housing issues and support rather than a fractured approach.
6 Longevity of - This is their function – to find ways to maintain affordable housing in their communities over the long-term.
7 Price: a) - N/A
compared to new
8 Government role - To support access to housing options.
9 Indirect Municipal - May be coordinated through the organization.
10 Public Funding - Depends, Some models require on-going funding while others, like the Whistler Housing Authority, are now self-funding after an
initial contribution to get the operation started. Although they are recipients of land from local and provincial government.
11 Administration of - Yes – this is their function
12 Community/ - N/A
13 Community - Yes. Especially if they provide education, credit counselling, etc.
15 Risk analysis to - N/A
16 Understanding of - This is their function – to promote understanding of and access to various forms of affordable housing, depending on what’s
model appropriate to the household.
17 Marketability and - N/A
risk – Developer’s
18 Other notes of - Tim Wake has noticed a need for these types of organizations to be established throughout BC.
19 Local examples - Whistler Housing Authority
Appendix E: Sustainability considerations of housing development
As one of the most land altering and resource use affecting activities that human societies engage in, the
building of homes and communities is significantly ecologically impactful and largely unsustainable to
say the least, particularly in North America. This has been broadly attributed to adopting a sprawling
land use pattern that separates uses and requires the use of private automobiles as the sole effective
means of transportation. Many communities also depend on distant lands and waters to provide
resources and absorb wastes, which further contributes to their impact through additional transportation
costs. Further, the somewhat generic typology of buildings and their systems are generally not built to
capitalize on the natural heating and cooling effects of local climatic conditions, are not well insulated
and/or ventilated and therefore require large amounts of energy to provide light and thermal comfort. It
is estimated that buildings contribute approximately 1/3 of total Greenhouse Gas emissions in North
America.4 Sadly, many of these buildings are also not built to last due to low quality design and
construction and/or due to changing uses and tastes. The tearing down of obsolete buildings, many of
them homes, results in waste being sent to landfills.
It is not the scope of this report to discuss in detail the environmental impact of housing choices,
although as a matter that affects the sustainability of our communities, it is a subject that deserves
serious attention. Decisions made about housing cannot be made in isolation of short-term and long-term
impacts on the environment. Housing projects in every community in B.C. need to reflect current best
practices pertaining to sustainable community planning and development. Smart Growth BC offers 10
best practice principles to plan for low ecological impact:
1. Mix land uses
2. Build well-designed compact neighbourhoods
3. Provide a variety of transportation choices
4. Create diverse housing opportunities
5. Encourage growth in existing communities
6. Preserve open spaces, natural beauty, and environmentally sensitive areas
7. Protect and enhance agricultural lands
8. Utilize smarter, and cheaper infrastructure and green buildings
9. Foster a unique neighbourhood identity
10. Nurture engaged citizens
U.S. Climate Change Science Program, November 2007. North American Carbon Budget and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle,
National Climate Data Center. http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap2-2/final-report/default.htm
Provincial actions on reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Fortunately, the provincial government has adopted relatively ambitious reduction targets of Greenhouse
Gas Emissions: 33% below 2007 levels by 2020 and 80% below 2007 levels by 2050.5 Investing in less
energy and resource intensive buildings in the public sector, and social housing in particular, is a goal
that the provincial government is pursuing with a variety of policies and programs:6
- New social housing developments are to be certified to a Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard which has much more rigorous standards in
environmental design, construction and energy use than conventional building practices. It is the
hope that these initiatives will set a positive example for British Columbia's residential
construction industry to encourage sustainable building and property maintenance practices.
- Pilot energy and water retrofit projects in 1,100 social housing units across the province have
included replacing boilers, upgrading hot water heating systems, replacing old lighting systems
with new energy-efficient lighting, air sealing, installing solar hot water heating systems, and
other energy-saving technologies like low-flow shower heads and better energy control systems.
The result has been an annual reduction of 1,000 tonnes of GHG emissions and energy cost
savings of $200,000 annually. The next phase involves expanding the program to a greater
portion of the public and non-profit housing stock.
- A series of grants and funding opportunities for individuals to retrofit their home or install
energy savings features in new developments, including the LiveSmart BC initiative. Visit
www.citygreen.ca for comprehensive information on programs, grants, sponsors and services of
energy retrofitting and less ecologically impactful practices in home building and operation.
Visit www.saveenergynow.ca for information on the province’s Energy Savings Plan which
provides a one stop shop into energy efficiency programs for all types of buildings in B.C.
- A new Green Building Code with some of the highest energy efficiency standards in Canada. For
more information, visit: www.housing.gov.bc.ca/building/green/
- Fostering a conservation culture in the social housing sector, among other public sectors, by
increasing environmental awareness and action among tenants, housing providers and
stakeholders by supporting green initiatives.
CMHC is also offering a 10% refund on mortgage loan insurance premiums when homeowners purchase
an energy-efficient home or make energy-saving renovations.7
5 Government of British Columbia, 2007. Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act [SBC 2007] Chapter 42, Queen’s Printer, Victoria, British Columbia.
Available at: http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/freeside/--%20g%20--
6 BC Housing Live Green information, website http://www.bchousing.org/aboutus/livegreen/action_plan
7 CHMC, Financing an Energy-Efficient Home or Energy-Saving Improvements is Easier than You Think, www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/moloin/index.cfm
Further strategies to reduce the environmental impact of housing
Other specific tools, strategies and living arrangements that can support lower environmental impact
- Reduced parking requirements: Generous parking requirements incur large but nearly
invisible costs that are seldom evaluated as a separate expense. Parking typically represents 10-
20% of the cost of housing and is disproportionately high for those of lower incomes.8 See
section 5.2 for a more detailed discussion on reducing parking requirements.
• Use of Location Efficient Mortgages: LEM is a mortgage available to people who buy a home
in locations where they don't need to rely on automobiles as much or at all for transportation.
They allow people to buy more expensive homes than they normally would be able by factoring
in the money they'll save on transportation costs.9 LEMs are currently available in Seattle,
Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
- Adoption of adaptable buildings to prolong building use: The tearing down of obsolete
buildings, many of them homes, also results in a large waste stream being sent to landfills. See
section 5.2 for a discussion on adaptable housing innovations.
- Continued innovation, experimentation and implementation of new building technologies
to reduce environmental impact, including using passive design strategies. For an example of
experimentation with building technologies in Canada, visit the Canadian Centre for Housing
Technology website: www.ccht-cctr.gc.ca/main_e.html
- Community-oriented living arrangements such as co-housing: many cohousing communities
internationally explicitly aim to be more self-sufficient and reduce community impact. See
section 5.3 for a discussion on cohousing communities.
US Department of Housing and Urban Development, March 2008. Parking Regulations and Housing Affordability. Newsletter Vol.7, Issue 2.