Calgary

Town of Banff staff ask for interest-free loans to buy homes elsewhere

Employees of the Town of Banff can’t always afford to live in the townsite, so a program offering interest-free loans to home buyers has expanded its reach.

Employees struggling to afford homes can now get a loan to buy in the Bow Valley

Employees of the Town of Banff can't always afford to live where they work, so a program that provides interest-free loans is expanding to covering home purchases in Canmore and the Bow Valley. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Employees of the Town of Banff can't always afford to live in the townsite, so a program offering interest-free loans to home buyers has expanded its reach.

Spokesperson Kelly Gibson says a few employees approached the town saying they couldn't afford to buy a home in Banff, and requested the program include nearby Canmore and the Bow Valley.

"Town of Banff employees face the same challenges as other Banff employees in finding a place to call home. As the employer, we want to make sure that the employees have a place to put in roots," he said.

The program, which provides ten-year interest-free loans to qualified employees, has been in place since 2009 and costs the town very little, said Gibson.

"It's more efficient if we can retain employees, rather than recruit and hire new employees."

Gibson says providing interest-free loan also helps attract new employees to the town.

"Housing is one of the primary deterrents for people coming to the Bow Valley. It's an expensive place to purchase. It can be difficult to find housing … it's definitely an issue for people."

While statistics about the average cost of a home in Banff are difficult to find, one real estate agency currently has a newer condo up for sale in the town for $417,000 and two older houses for $900,000 and $1.4 million.

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