Frequently Asked Questions

 

Who founded Habitat?

How are Habitat for Humanity Toronto Partner Families chosen?

What is different about a Habitat for Humanity Toronto mortgage?

How is Habitat for Humanity Toronto funded?

What is the average cost per square foot of a Habitat Toronto home?

What does a Habitat for Humanity Toronto house cost?

What happens when the income/financial position of a family changes?

What if the family decides to sell their house at a profit, just months after they take possession?

 

Who founded Habitat?

A. To learn about Millard and Linda Fuller, and the evolution of the organization that is now known as Habitat for Humanity, click here.

How are Habitat for Humanity Toronto Partner Families chosen?

A. Families wanting to partner with Habitat for Humanity Toronto to buy a Habitat home undergo a rigorous screening process, including police, credit and personal reference checks.

Families must also meet the following criteria:
  • they must be currently living in unsafe, unhealthy, overcrowded housing
  • they must be willing to volunteer 500 hours of “sweat equity”
  • they are able to repay a zero-down payment, interest-free mortgage over 25 years

What is different about a Habitat for Humanity Toronto mortgage?

A. Habitat does not charge interest on its mortgages, nor do they profit from them. The failure rate for these mortgages is four times lower than the Royal Bank of Canada. The average length of a Habitat mortgage is 25 years.

Mortgage payments from Habitat Toronto homeowners go directly into a trust to build more Habitat homes. For every 12 homes built in Toronto, one additional home per year can be built from the mortgage income alone. The Habitat model empowers families to help other families.

How is Habitat for Humanity Toronto funded?

A.Habitat Toronto receives support from and work in partnership with faith groups, corporations, foundations, individual donors, and the ReStore. The organization does not receive funding from the government (with the exception of funds to purchase land) or from the United Way (although gifts can be designated to Habitat for Humanity Toronto through the United Way).

What is the average cost per square foot of a Habitat Toronto home?

A.The average cost per square foot of Habitat homes in Toronto is about $70 which is roughly 50% of the market cost. This amount reflects building materials and services only. Any costs associated with acquiring land would be in addition to this. The typical square footage of a Habitat for Humanity Toronto home is 1,200 square feet.

What does a Habitat for Humanity Toronto house cost?

A.Currently, a three-bedroom Habitat home in Toronto costs between $100,000 and $120,000. Prices will differ slightly depending on location and the costs of land, labour and materials.

Habitat Toronto homes are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price, and no interest is charged on the mortgage.

What happens when the income/financial position of a family changes?

A.The income of all Habitat Toronto homeowners is reviewed on an annual basis. If income increases, monthly payments of their mortgage, property tax, insurance and condominium fees are adjusted to remain at 30% of their monthly income. If income decreases, usually due to a temporary situation such as a job loss, similar adjustments may be made to maintain affordability during this period of decreased cash flow.

Habitat for Humanity Toronto is committed to educating and supporting partner families toward successful Home Ownership. This commitment has resulted in a low mortgage default rate of about 1% in Canada.

What if the family decides to sell their house at a profit, just months after they take possession?

A.The Habitat Toronto mortgage is designed to keep monthly payments low, encourage long-term commitment, and prevent short-term profit. This is done by way of a second mortgage. The first mortgage reflects the actual cost of the house, which is usually far less than its fair market value. The second mortgage reflects the difference between the actual cost and the fair market value. No payments are made on the second mortgage until the home is sold or transferred.

If a family were to sell their home in the early years of their mortgage, the outstanding balance of the first mortgage, and the full balance of the second mortgage would then be payable.
Habitat for Humanity Toronto has the right to purchase the property if the homeowner wants to sell.

"I found Habitat Toronto is a very friendly organization for low income families. No interest, no down payment, training for home ownership, the best thing is you can own a house even if you are on a low income.

We thank God and thank the staff of Habitat for Humanity Toronto who give us this opportunity. It's our dream; it's the goal of our life."