British Columbia’s government wants to help first-time home-buyers get into the market by offering interest-free and payment-free loans for the first five years.

Premier Christy Clark says the government will provide first-time home-buyers with a 25-year loan for a down payment on a home to a maximum of $37,500, as long as the funds have been matched by buyers.

She says the program applies to homes with a maximum value of $750,000 and the interest-free portion of the loan will last for the first five years, with the repayment schedule at current interest rates over the remaining 20 years.

Clark says the program will start accepting applications online next month.

To be eligible, first-time buyers must be pre-approved for an insured high-ratio mortgage for at least 80 per cent of the home’s purchase price.

The announcement comes as housing costs in the province have ballooned, especially in Metro Vancouver where the average price on a single-family home in some neighborhoods reached $2 million.

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