Town tightens Near-Market loophole,
softens ownership restriction

The Town of Osoyoos has closed a loophole that might have resulted in subsequent owners flipping Near Market houses in the community.

Council Monday adopted a bylaw amendment that establishes a new Housing Agreement that requires a program participant to own the property for five years before selling it.

CAO Barry Romanko explained that a review by the Town’s administration “found an issue” with the current structure of the program and its ability to prevent short-term windfall profits on the second and subsequent sales.

“The intent was to keep the houses in the Program for longer periods of time,” said Mr. Romanko. “However, that changed with program changes from 30 years to 20 years to five-year restrictions.

“The latest change to five years may make the house more attractive to buy, but is open to short term ‘flipping’ by a second buyer in and around the five-year period.”

A new agreement maintains the minimum five-year period that an owner must own the near market home before it can be sold at a market rate; however, it adds a requirement that the property remain in the near market program for 15 years.

“The result is any owner within a 15-year period of the first purchase must own the home for five years before the home can be sold for market value,” Mr. Romanko told Council.

The Town is offering four homes through the program — all of them located in the Meadowlark Place subdivision west of Hwy. 97 and south of the Fire Hall.

The Program is intended to deliver lower-cost near-market homes at a 15-percent discount to qualified applicants, particularly younger families.

Both the Town and the developer, Ellcar Construction, say they are receiving applications now that the ownership requirement has been reduced.

For more about the program, visit the Town of Osoyoos website.

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