First-time homebuyers should have access to interest-free loans to launch them out of expensive rental suites and into Edmonton’s booming real estate market, New Democrat Leader Brian Mason said yesterday.

His party is backing a $25-million annual fund to provide 10-year loans worth roughly five per cent of a home’s value as part of an overall housing strategy.


While housing prices have cooled recently, he said, big landowners are still keen on gouging renters with either skyrocketing rent increases or evicting them through condo-conversions.

“We know first-hand how difficult it is for young people who are just starting out to be able to afford to buy a house in this market,” he said.

The homeowner’s plan was part of the recommendations put forward by the province’s housing task force, he said, but rejected last year by government out of fears it would scare off development.

The plan was announced yesterday along with the NDP’s long-standing pledge to impose rent controls, which Mason believes could help ease the affordable housing crisis.

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