As housing prices continue to rise, it's becoming increasingly more challenging for Ontarians to purchase a home. However, to help alleviate some stress for employees looking to enter the housing market, an Ontario company has started its own first-time home buyer incentive for its employees to use as a down payment for a new home.

C.F. Crozier & Associates Inc., a leader in land development engineering, launched its First-Time Home Buyers’ Assistance Program, which provides staff with $20,000 to help them buy their first home. It's a move that will help attract and retain employees while also establishing the firm as an industry leader championing professional and personal development. 

The program is designed to address the evolving needs of employees and help remove the barriers to homeownership, which often includes high listing prices and costly down payments. Currently, the average selling price of a home in Ontario is up 37% year-over-year to $866,307, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The sharp rise in prices has eroded affordability across the province and made it harder for home buyers to save for a down payment, which currently costs buyers an average of around $140,000.

READ: Revised Forecast Now Expects Housing Prices to Rise 19.3% in 2021

Taking notes from the First-Time Home Buyer program from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Cozier is contributing up to $20,000 per employee to help fund the down payment -- which is often a significant obstacle for first-time home buyers -- on the purchase of their first home.

The only difference is that under CMHC's program eligible buyers receive an interest-free loan from the federal government for as much as 10% of a home’s purchase price, reducing the size of the mortgage and the monthly payments. The government takes an equivalent stake in the home, paid back upon the home’s eventual sale or within 25 years.

However, since the federal incentive launched just under two years ago, it has helped far fewer Canadians than was initially expected.

Crozier president Nick Mocan said he saw first-hand the increasing demand for residential development and the frustrating situations his employees find themselves in, such as fierce bidding wars when trying to buy their first home in today’s market.

“We established the First-Time Home Buyers’ Assistance Program as a creative way to help make homeownership a reality for our employees because we strongly believe that their personal growth is as important as their career growth,” said Mocan.

At a time when the economy continues to reopen and many companies struggle to retain and attract talent, Crozier’s incentive stands out -- though, it's not the only one the company offers.

Crozier also offers various scholarships and mentorship initiatives to foster employee development and support the company’s ongoing expansion.

With offices in Toronto, Milton, Collingwood, and Bradford, Crozier’s growing team of professionals work collaboratively with developers, builders, planners, architects, landowners, and stakeholder groups to advance residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional and recreational resort projects from concept through to construction completion.

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