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Lottery offers chance to buy home in Tofino

Three half-duplex homes are up for grabs, each of which has been appraised at more than $1 million, while the price for lottery winners is $699,000 plus GST
Artist's rendering of one of two duplexes in a lottery for people to win the chance to buy a home at a discounted rate. Via Tofino Housing Corp.

A new lottery is coming to Tofino, but if your name comes up, you don’t win cash.

Instead, you get the chance to buy a new three-bedroom home with a one-bedroom suite at a below-market price.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 3 at the municipal hall, and the lottery is the next day.

Three half-duplex homes are up for grabs. Each has been appraised at more than $1 million, while the price for lottery winners is $699,000 plus GST.

Lottery participants have to meet a number conditions, including being a Canadian or permanent resident.

They must have lived in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District for at least two of the past three years, work full-time in Tofino or be self-employed with 90 per cent of income derived from Tofino business, and not own any other real estate.

For those who land one of the homes, there are restrictions on resales — the price can only rise at the same rate as Canada’s Consumer Price Index.

A first-come, first-served ­system was rejected in favour of a lottery, since someone might be excluded under a first-come system if, for example, they were working and not able to line up in time, said Ian Scott, interim executive director of the Tofino Housing Corp., which is staging the lottery and has held two previous ones.

This way, everyone knows that as long as they get their application in on time, they will have an equal chance, he said Thursday.

“There are probably lots of equally needy candidates.”

The corporation owns two lots on Peterson Drive and each will hold a duplex, for a total of four homes, three of which are in the lottery. The future of the fourth home is still to be determined, Scott said.

Income from the suite can be at market rates but no short-term rentals, such as Airbnbs, are permitted. A signed pre-construction purchase contract must be completed and a 2.5 per cent deposit ($17,465) paid by Oct. 19. A $4,000 fee to the corporation is also required.

Construction is to start Oct. 22, with the homes ready by May-June 2023.

Scott said the corporation has had “really positive responses” to past lotteries.

He said it’s difficult because while they are happy for those who are successful in getting a home that meets their needs, they “feel badly you can’t offer more of those opportunities.”

“That motivates us to keep focusing on trying to address the massive [housing] crunch.”

Tofino’s real estate prices are out of reach for many residents. A May Re/Max report said the average residential sale price in Tofino for the first quarter of this year, between Jan. 1 and March 31, was $1.7 million, up from $1.136 million for the same months in 2021.

Early this year, a lottery was held to fill 14 rental units in the Creekside development in Tofino.

Another lottery will be coming up for 72 rental units now under construction in two more rental apartment buildings in the Headwaters development. One building is expected to be ready next year and the other in 2024.

The project by Catalyst Community Developments Society has received funding from the municipality of Tofino, B.C. Housing, the federal ­government and the Tofino Housing Corp.

By the time those units have tenants, Scott is hoping some of the housing pressure will be relieved in Tofino and the ­corporation will be able to set up a wait list for future housing.

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