Draft Proposal

Final Final home design will be based on ideas and concepts from The University of Waterloo School of Architecture

Attainable, Affordable, Geared-to-Income* Homes
in Cambridge, ON
October 2020

* Household income must be less than $87,500
Buyer must live in home for 3 years prior to any resale
5% down payment, mortgage $1,400 per month

Modern 1,056 sq ft homes with separate Studio Rental Unit
$199,000- plus lot. Over $40,000 available in Government equity and rebates

WowHomes.org Cambridge
519 729-4297 gary@wowhomes.org
519 241-5853 julia@wowhomes.org
Low Carbon Footprint Homes


“Impossible is not a declaration, It’s a Dare

Muhammad Ali

The average price of a single family home in The Region of Waterloo is nearing $700,000. With a low rate mortgage repaying the $700,000 amortized over 25 years is about $2,950 per month. That’s $34,900 per year and does not included taxes, utilities, appliances and upkeep. It is also paid with AFTER tax income.

As a province and nation, we are mired in debt. As individuals, this is even more dire. Only 30% of Canadians are debt free.

Families in the 50’s and 60’s grew up in homes much smaller than what is built today and according to StatsCan, the families were almost twice as large. One thousand to 1200 sq ft was the norm. It made financial sense.

We propose building two story homes of 1,056 sq ft at a price point starting at $199,000 (plus lot). How can we do that?

  • No basement – built on floating slab (like homes in USA) engineered by Waddell Engineering Ltd of Cambridge. The footprint of the homes would be about 24 ft by 22 ft.
  • High Tech Green Modern Design and features. Eco-friendly crushed stone driveway
  • Digitally printed vinyl and aluminum siding. Visit www.dizal.com.
  • 36 foot low maintenance lot – no garage
  • Surplus land purchased from municipality or infill land from property owners
  • Electric heat with individualized room control
  • Highest R- factor insulation economically achievable for greater comfort and lower costs
  • Quality windows and doors (for Ecologically friendly R-Factor)
  • Open concept living, dining & kitchen area
  • Built in space for energy efficient over/under washer dryer
  • Galley style kitchen using low energy condo size appliances
  • No bathtubs (environmentally saving lots of water) 2 bathrooms with shower, 20 gallon hot water heater
  • House will include a small studio unit with separate entrance and own bathroom with shower. This answers several issues common to most families. Kids moving back home, an office for a home business or low cost rental stock – should rent for $295 to $375 a month to offset some of the owner’s monthly costs.
  • House is also designed to meet many mobility issues. Because there is no basement that puts it 2-3ft above grade, there is only a single step to get to front door. Also, an individual can live using just the ground floor if stairs present a problem.
  • Owner would enter into a separate 25-year purchase covering the market value of the land.
  • Can also be built as townhouses if lot size allows- at an even lower price.
  • The GREEN design and multiple features can save over 50% in water and energy costs.

Down payment minimum 5% – assistance may be available for the 5% down payment.
House at $199,000 will carry on a CMHC mortgage for 25 years at $850 per month.
Land and services at $100,000 over 25 years is $550 a month.
Home ownership at $1400 per month is about equal to current rent costs.
Government Equity programs and tax rebates. Programs are in place that can assist with up to $40,000

Homes would be built without retained profit (like a non-profit). 51% of profit would be donated to the City and/or Affordable Housing Charities & Habitat for Humanity. Our staff will be paid at market rate and above Living Wage. Finances fully transparent to City Auditor.

Final home design, to our brief, will be based on a competition (with cash prize) among the students at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge. We seek innovative, interesting, appealing, cost effective and green solutions for attainable, limited income, low cost modern homes built to last a lifetime.


A significant study has shown that long term happiness is not related to the size of a home
(Large study. Link available on request.) .

Physiological impact of owning a home vs living in a multistory building:

Professor Robert Gifford of the University of Victoria, published an article, “The Consequences of Living in Multistory Buildings,” in the journal Architectural Science Review.

The Findings
The results were not encouraging. Of the 99 studies reviewed, only 17 measured a positive outcome, 55 measured negative effects, and 27 were mixed or neutral. Across different categories, a large number of studies found that people living in multistory buildings suffer from greater mental health problems, higher fear of crime, fewer positive social interactions, and more difficulty with raising their children. Now throw a pandemic and infections into the mix.


Building Code. The current minimum square footage for a single family home in Cambridge is 1200 square feet. Most Ontario municipalities have a 1,000 square foot minimum although some allow less than 500 sq ft.. We must build two stories because the largest floating pad foundation without individual engineering studies allowed in the Ontario building code is 538 sq ft. We will use “skirt insulation” for ground frost protection.

Unserviced land. A home with no more than 4 occupants can have the sewage challenge met with the use of Cinderella incinerating toilets and a 500 litre grey water septic system. This would add about $25K to the cost. However, water and electricity service must be available. (https://www.cinderellaeco.com/ca-en)

A family unit with two members earning minimum wage would qualify to purchase this home. Two full time minimum wage salaries = $60,000. House and lot payments are $16,800.

Human Rights: The right to a home may not be enshrined in legislation but most people want to own their own home. It’s up to all of us to make it possible by increasing the affordability and availability of homes built to a reasonable price point. Owning a home gives people a sense of belonging, accomplishment & pride

Diversity: We do not discriminate against anyone based on anything.

This is a SECOND DRAFT and is a request for your comments, input & assistance.

Gary Berger
519 729-4279
gary@wowhomes.org
Julia Berger
519 241-5853
julia@wowhomes.org
WowHomes.org

This year, our seasonal business, TubingTheGrand.com, donated $1,350 to the Parks Department as well as separate donations to The GRCA & rare. This was not to cover any fees we were required to pay – just donations in thanks.

TubingTheGrand.com was the most visited website in Cambridge this summer with over 100,000 views. We took 7,000 guests down the Cambridge portion of The Grand. We were the #1 outdoor tourist attraction in the city in the summer of Covid. We were the #1 urban water adventure in Ontario.