Mortgage funding tapped out, politician pleased

Yukon Housing Corporation's slashed mortgage budget is "excellent news," says Jim Kenyon. In only three weeks, the mortgage program completely exhausted its yearly budget, which was a little more than half the money spent in the previous year, said Kenyon, minister responsible for the housing corporation.

Yukon Housing Corporation’s slashed mortgage budget is “excellent news,” says Jim Kenyon.

In only three weeks, the mortgage program completely exhausted its yearly budget, which was a little more than half the money spent in the previous year, said Kenyon, minister responsible for the housing corporation.

“We have more money available in the future … but at the moment the program is tapped out,” he said on Wednesday.

“That is excellent news.”

“One wonders how happy he’d be if there were only one week’s funding allocated to this program,” said Liberal MP Gary McRobb.

Yukon Housing Corp. spent $12 million on mortgage financing in 2008.

For 2009, they only budgeted $7 million.

Only $6 million had originally been pegged for mortgages in 2008, but surging demand forced the government to assign an additional $6 million to the program.

Last November, the still-overburdened program stopped accepting applications.

“We will honour all applications to date and there will be more to come in the new fiscal year,” said Premier Dennis Fentie on November 5.

The Home Ownership program is designed to provide mortgages of up to $360,000 to Yukoners denied bank financing—a valuable offer, especially in the wake of the global credit crunch.

Ashley Burns submitted her mortgage application right at the beginning of the fiscal year, but was the fifth applicant to be turned down.

Yukon Housing did not provide the Yukon News with the total number of rejected applicants.

“Three weeks into the fiscal year and they’re already out of money, that seems kind of ridiculous,” said Burns.

She was told to wait until 2010.

“That’s a long time to be living under my parents’ roof,” said Burns.

Other applicants, assured they could secure a mortgage in 2009, had already begun to buy lots and begin construction when their mortgage applications were denied.

“If they have a backlog of an entire year, maybe it’s time to up the budget,” said Burns.

On Wednesday, McRobb called for an injection of new money into the mortgage program.

“If (McRobb) is suggesting that we should be diverting money from other programs into mortgage programs, then I kind of wish he’d give us some suggestions of what we should cut—education, health?” said Kenyon.

“Well, how about the $150-million surplus?” said McRobb.

Amid rejected applicants, rumours continue to swirl that the Home Ownership Program may not see another year.

The Home Ownership section of the Yukon Housing website has been blocked.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com

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