After an hour and a half at an info session on how to buy a house in Hamilton, Ahmad Laklhi, new to the country from Iraq, came to a cold realization — his Canadian dream of home ownership is much farther away then he thought.
Realtor broker Gus Alchi broke the news. He explained to the group of about a half dozen people Thursday afternoon exactly what it takes to buy a house in Canada. And they learned that no matter where you come from, it takes a lot.
"First of all, I told them how lucky they are to be in this country," said Alchi. "I've been here 20 years now. I started from scratch, which they can do as well, of course."
Most of the questions for Alchi involved mortgages. The room was particularly interested in the procedure of getting a mortgage, along with the rules and the regulations.
"They just started their new life so we have to explain how the system works," said Alchi.
The Immigrants Working Centre hosted the session. Ahlam Mohammed, a counsellor there, said buying a home is front of mind for many newcomers.
"They don't have any knowledge about how they buy a house in Canada and how they can build credit in Canada," she said.
The centre aimed to fix that.
Laklhi asked lots of questions. Others in the room from Syria, Iraq and Palestine sat, listened and nodded.
Laklhi and his wife Fatima have lived in Hamilton for a year and a half. Through a translator, Laklhi said the session made him realize how complicated the whole process is. Now, he has more knowledge but less hope.
The dream will have to wait, for now.
That's a hard but true fact for even long-time Hamilton residents who have seen home prices in the city climb out of range.
According to a January analysis by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, for every 1 per cent house price increase in the GTA, there is a 1.4 per cent hike in Hamilton.
Alchi didn't anticipate any of the people in the room making a purchase any time soon.
"No one asked about how long it would take [to save] for a down payment," he said.
"Are they able of purchasing in Canada with these prices, I doubt, but they needed to know the procedure."