Breaking down barriers to home ownership in the GTA

Breaking down barriers to home ownership in the GTA

Find out how this first-time buyer finally got into the market

Audrey Okafor outside the home she co-bought with Ourboro

For years, it seemed Audrey Okafor’s dream of becoming a homeowner in the Greater Toronto Area was over before she even looked at her first property.

 “I got a lot of nos from mortgage brokers,” says the 46-year-old software digital quality assurance analyst. But after seeing a Facebook post about co-ownership, Okafor felt intrigued—and hopeful she’d found a way to make her housing dreams come true.

“I did some research online and found out about Ourboro,” says Okafor. “What stuck out to me was how fast they were to respond and how easy their information was to understand.”

A new model for home ownership

Ourboro presents an exciting new option for prospective homebuyers. Its innovative program offers a shared ownership model whereby the Toronto-based company contributes up to 15 per cent or $250,000 towards the buyer’s down payment. This helps new homeowners reach a 20 per cent down payment and also avoid the additional cost of mortgage insurance.

Housing affordability is still near record lows, and the cost of monthly mortgage payments remains stubbornly high. With the average GTA home clocking in at $1,082,496 as of August, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, and mortgage insurance costing an additional 0.6 to 4.5 per cent on top of already high interest rates, partnering with Ourboro can make all the difference.

Buyers working with Ourboro get a down payment top-up that not only helps to bridge the savings gap needed to break into the market but also means having a smaller mortgage and lower monthly carrying costs.

“I reached out to Ourboro in January and we closed in June,” says Okafor, who is now the proud owner of a three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom townhouse condo, complete with a finished basement and backyard, in Hamilton.

While Okafor contributed $32,500 towards her down payment, Ourboro paid $97,300. But, unlike with a loan or mortgage, Okafor doesn’t have to pay down that amount over time. Instead, when she sells, Ourboro will receive a share of the appreciation. And if the home ends up selling for less than it was purchased for, Ourboro will accept the loss in value and Okafor isn’t on the hook to pay them back. If she decides it’s her forever home, Okafor also has the option to buy out Ourboro’s share.

“Working with Ourboro is win-win”

But it’s not only because Ourboro made home ownership possible in the first place that Okafor so highly recommends them. “They made it easy to get the information I needed, every step of the way,” she says. “We had an online account with information about all the partners we were working with—the realtor, the bank. We had Zoom meetings where we went through the Co-Ownership Agreement and they explained everything. It was all very simple.”

Okafor also appreciates that, as a partner in her new property, Ourboro is invested in growing its value. Since moving in, she’s taken advantage of Ourboro’s complimentary home maintenance program, provided by the experts at Caboodl. “Having a professional come to inspect my home and give me their recommendations on anything we need to do, I have peace of mind. Someone is looking out for my investment,” she says.

Co-owners like Okafor also have access to a home renovation credit program and Ourboro’s network of trusted third-party service providers, which range from insurance to maintenance and renovation experts, so they can grow the value of their home—while paying down their mortgage and building equity at the same time.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Okafor says. “I have the home I’ve always wanted.”