Posted with permission of the publisher of NRU Publishing Inc. Original article first appeared in Novae Res Urbis – GTHA Edition, Vol. 22, No. 2, Friday, January 9, 2019.

An innovative mortgage tool could add affordable ownership housing to a Pickering community undifferentiated from the neighbouring houses.

Trillium Housing Oak Non-Profit Corporation proposes to build 13 townhouses with a total of 264 stacked units at Brock Road and Rex Heath Drive in the Duffin Heights neighbourhood of Pickering. The development is also to include a 900 m2 park block, 405 underground parking spaces and an additional 16 at grade.

Some of the homes are intended to be affordable ownership units, which will be achieved through Trillium’s unique form of mortgage, which uses a shared appreciation model. This means that Trillium agrees to share part or all of the buyer’s payment as a share of the appreciation of the property.

“[The] Trillium mortgage is the key retail product with our clients and how we deliver housing affordability,” Trillium Housing partner Joe Deschenes Smith told NRU. “Our model is about… bringing affordability to conventional housing development. So we don’t look to build something that’s different, it’s priced at the entry point of the local market, and what we’d use our Trillium mortgage financing for… [is] for some of the families in the project to make the housing affordable for them.”

The Trillium mortgage is a second mortgage which charges no interest and requires no monthly repayment of capital. It is offered to families whose household incomes are below a specified threshold, usually the median in the municipality where the development is located. For example, in 2015, Pickering had a median household income of $99,580. The specific numbers are based on the household’s finances.

Purchasers are still required to provide a down payment and obtain a normal mortgage to cover the full cost of the home. Eligible buyers can sign up on the Trillium website and if approved for a Trillium mortgage get the first pick of the available properties. The number of Trillium mortgages offered will depend on the pool of funds Trillium is able to raise.

Trillium Housing’s proposed development would add 13 townhomes to the existing Duffin Heights neighbourhood on the edge of the urban area of the City of Pickering. (SOURCE: CITY OF PICKERING)

Master plan of the proposed new Duffin Heights subdivi-sion at Brock Road and Rex Heath Drive. (SOURCE: KIRKOR ARCHITECTS)

Renderings of townhomes similar to those that Trillium Housing proposes to build in Duffin Heights. (SOURCE: KIRKOR ARCHITECT)