The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has announced it will now provide 95 per cent financing for homes in the Pemberton area, up to a maximum of $250,000. Previously, first-time home buyers in Pemberton could only qualify for the CMHC-insured five per cent down payment for properties up to $175,000, while in both Whistler and Squamish the maximum purchase price was capped at $250,000. The ceiling was only recently raised in Squamish after lobbying from realtors in the area. Real estate agents have now successfully managed to lobby for the same concession in Pemberton. Serge Coté of Glacier Development Corp., developers of the Peaks Country Townhomes in Pemberton, was one of the voices pushing for the change. Coté noted that until now there was a marked discrepancy between Squamish and Pemberton even though real estate values are higher in the northern community. "It was a discrepancy that CMHC was not completely aware of. The market in Pemberton has changed tremendously in the past five years and data on trends are not necessarily up to speed," said Coté. "We noticed that something was wrong when most of our two bedroom units (at the Peaks) sold out while the more expensive three-bedroom units were not doing as well." The two-bedroom units were strategically priced at $175,000 to enable buyers with less capital for a down payment to be able to afford them. A five per cent downpayment, for example, is about $8,750 for a $175,000 property. "This is a crucial decision on the part of CMHC which will benefit everyone in various ways." Coté said buyers with limited cash reserves in the bank will have a better selection of properties to chose from and it will also help stimulate the local economy by giving developers and builders more latitude to produce a wider variety of products for consumers to chose from. He said the move will also give Pemberton properties an edge over the employee housing market in Whistler.