Many Hamilton residents have the lofty goal of one day owning a house; but for a staggering portion of that many, homeownership has lately felt like it will never be more than an unattainable fantasy.
It’s not hard to understand why. Real estate prices in Hamilton – and across Canada, for that matter – have soared to heights well out of reach of the average potential homebuyer, with little to no relief in sight.
While renting property certainly has many of its own benefits, it has begun to feel like the only housing option within reach of countless people, including those who have the desire to own property themselves one day.
After all, the average sold price of a home in Hamilton was $901,540 in May 2022, and that average has even hit over $1 million at its peak so far this year, making the housing market feel challenging at best and completely inaccessible at worst.
That’s why Hamilton entrepreneur Kristian Borghesan has co-founded ARCH, a new company that exists to help aspiring first-time purchasers reach their goal by assisting with one of the biggest initial homebuying hurdles: the dreaded down payment.
“ARCH was founded to provide first-time buyers with an equitable path to ownership,” says Borghesan, who launched ARCH in 2021 as an alternative to other down payment assistance options that he considers expensive or even exploitative.
“So many would-be homeowners have been boxed out in recent years, and we are keen to restore opportunity in this section of the market and to give Canadians the tools to buy with confidence.”
Borghesan explains that ARCH’s core program operates uniquely by partnering with homebuyers and providing funding for the down payment as a co-investment; it’s not a loan, there’s no interest, and there are no monthly payments.
ARCH will provide up to $150,000 to first-time buyers to support their down payment, enabling them to make that monumental purchase with assurance. Then, when the buyer eventually sells their home, they would return the down payment plus a portion of the home’s increase in value.
To see if they qualify and get the process started, first-time homebuyers who are able to contribute at least 5 percent of the home’s value towards the down payment can fill out a simple form on ARCH’s website, with details including estimated household income, how much they’re paying monthly towards debts, and where they’re at in the home buying process.
Even beyond the fact that ARCH can help enable first-time homebuyers to achieve a goal that may feel financially just out of reach, it can also afford them the benefit of putting enough money down to keep monthly mortgage payments lower than they otherwise might be.
“Buying a home in today’s market can feel deflating,” said Sarah and Mark, two new Hamilton homebuyers who made use of ARCH’s services on their housing search.
“The down payment, at least for our family, was our biggest hurdle. Thankfully, the ARCH program exists — we were able to lower our monthly payments by more than $600 which gave us flexibility to work on home improvements.”
Though homeownership in today’s market largely feels like an insurmountable challenge, the dream hasn’t died for many; and with ARCH, Borghesan is confident he can help hopeful homebuyers in Hamilton and beyond turn that dream into a reality.