First Time Home Buyer Incentives

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Buying your first house is a big accomplishment, but understanding the available programmes and incentives can be difficult. Not to mention the fact that it can be quite costly. The housing market in Canada is still expanding, and property values are steadily rising. As a result of this expansion, it may be exceedingly difficult for a first-time homebuyer to set foot in the market and obtain a mortgage to purchase their first house.

and families can benefit from a variety of programmes, tax credits along with first-time home buyer incentives that make your home purchase easier. It's critical to understand how such programmes can be of value to save money regardless of the method i.e. through down payment or reduction of monthly payments.

Continue reading to learn more about the FirstTime Home Buyer Incentives and province-specific programmes that you might be eligible for. This comprehensive guide will help you understand all of the resources available to a first-time home buyer in Canada.

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What is the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive?

The First Time Home Buyer Incentive help qualified first-time buyers reduce their monthly mortgage rates without adding any financial burdens. Plus there is no down payment. Also, there is no interest, ongoing payments or no prepayment fees. With a shared equity mortgage, the government will have shared a shared investment in the property. Simply put, this implies that both parties share the increase and decrease of the property value at any given time.

The programme is administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which provides qualifying purchasers with a shared-equity mortgage in association with the Federal Government of Canada. This means that the government provides interest-free mortgages up to 10% of the house purchase price in exchange for a share of any property value, whether it the valuation increases or decreases.

With the presence of the First Time Home Buyer Incentives, purchasers get the option to reduce monthly payments. Additionally, first-time home buyers enjoy substantial savings with such incentive schemes over time. The overall amount you can secure entirely depends on the type of property that you are looking forward to purchase.

Type of Property First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Amount
A newly constructed house 5% or 10%
An existing house or house for resale 5%
A brand new mobile house or prefabricated home 5%
An existing mobile house or prefabricated (prefab) home 5%

The First Time Home Incentives fall in the category of mortgages rather than a grant, so you will be bound to repay the received amount. The buyer will be liable to repay the amount to CMHC when they decide to sell the home or after 25 years of securing incentives. You must consider certain things before the option for first-time home buyer incentives. Here’s what you should not skip:

  • First Home Buyer Incentive can be used for purchasing distinct properties. But you need to ensure the purchased property is your primary residence and should not fall in the category of an investment property.
  • You should consider the First-Time Home Buyer Incentives similar to a second mortgage. So, possibilities are at the time of finalising the sale of the property, the lawyer might ask for increased closing charges.
  • You don't have to pay additional money if you decide to repay the secured incentives before final closure.
  • Choosing incentives from the offered government programs will prevent you from securing benefits from other available incentives.

How Does the First Home Buyer Incentive Work?

The government owns a shared investment in your house because it is assisting you in saving money on your monthly payments associated with the mortgage. This means that the government will equally bear the upside and downside risks related to the property. Simply put, due to fluctuating market trends, the property value will keep increasing or decreasing, and the government will also share the profits and loss with you.

Keeping this in mind, the government will lend you an amount falling between 5% and 10% of the home's buying price. Within 25 years or when selling out the property, you will be bound to refund the secured amount at the same percentage. This percentage amount will be based on the property’s fair market value. In other words, when you repay the funds you borrowed earlier, the repayment will be dependent on the property’s value.

The best part of these government incentive programs is you can repay the secured amount anytime as there are no prepayment charges.

Let’s go through an example to understand how this incentive program works:

You borrowed an amount of $10,000 and received a 5% of CMHC first-time home buyer incentive. The purchase price of your house clocked at $200,000. You decide to sell out the property after ten years of purchase. As per the current market trends, the property value has increased to $220,000. As per the specified terms, you will be bound to return 5% of the property value, which now accounts for $11,000.

If the home's value drops over time, the same scenario will be considered. The only change will be you will be paying 5% of the deceased property value. In other words, let's say the property value decreased to $175,000 after ten years. So now you will pay 5% of this amount which accounts for $8,750.

In both instances, the mortgage amount required by the buyer is reduced by $10,000. The main difference in both case scenarios is that the buyer will have to repay the amount per the property's current market value. In both instances, the mortgage amount required by the buyer is reduced by $10,000. The main difference in both case scenarios is that the buyer will have to repay the amount per the property's current market value.

Consider this incentive a second mortgage, except that insurance premiums along with the loan-to-value ratios are calculated using only the first mortgage. As the incentive is considered a portion of the total down payment, you won't have to pay mortgage insurance on the secured incentive.

You may have also observed that this shared-equity mortgage has no interest. This distinct feature results in making the first-time homebuyer credit very appealing to people looking to buy a home in Canada's expanding property market.

Who is the Government Incentive Designed For?

To be eligible for the incentive, prospective homebuyers must qualify all of the above requirements:

  • The First Time Home Buyer Incentive, understandably, is exclusively for first-time homeowners
  • Your total household income cannot exceed $120,000. If you live in Toronto, though, this rises to $150,000
  • You must put down a deposit of at least 5% but no more than 20% at the time of purchase
  • Mortgage insurance must be available for the loan you take out
  • You must be a Canadian citizen with a Permanent Residence Visa or a Non-Permanent Resident Visa with work authorisation in Canada

Eligibility Criteria for First Time Home Buyers

You must meet certain qualifying conditions to obtain a first-time homebuyer incentive in Canada. You must first be a Canadian citizen, have permanent residency, or someone with work authorisation in the nation. It's also likely that this is your or your partner's first home purchase.

also likely that this is your or your partner's first home purchase. You can also be eligible for first-time home buyer incentives if you have not lived in the property that you or your current spouse owns for the past four years or if your marriage or common-law relationship has just ended. You may only be eligible for a portion of the Canadian incentive programme if one of you is a first-time buyer, but the other is not.

The total amount you want to borrow cannot be more than four times your qualifying income, and your total annual income cannot exceed $120,000. In order to get a mortgage, you must also cope with the upfront amount or down payment requirements.

All you have to do now is apply if you have been pre-approved for a mortgage, discovered the home you want to buy, and believe that you have a higher possibility to get approval for the first-time homebuyer bonus. Your lender will assist you in filling out the documents and apply for the incentives on your behalf. You must activate the incentive and supply the notary prior to the closing date if you receive your acceptance.

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Programs

First-time buyers can secure several programs in Canada to get the required financial assistance. However, these programs might not prove to be game-changers for every homebuyer but are enough to chip away the overall home-buying costs.

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

The first-time home buyer incentive might help get over the hump if you're having problems accumulating sufficient funds for a down payment. All you have to do is give the Government of Canada a portion of your future home's value.

Canadians also know this program by the name "shared equity" programme. If you qualify, you can easily apply for a mortgage off 5% to 10% of the purchase price of a property. However, the amount varies based on the residential property you're buying. Although the borrowed amount is interest-free, the government will possess a percentage of home equity if you are approved.

You will not be obligated to repay the amount borrowed when you eventually leave your property. You'll have to repay 5% to 10% of the property's sale price. If you borrowed $25,000 for a down payment on a $500,000 house, you'd owe the Canadian Government 5% of the ultimate sale price.

For example, if you keep your home for ten years and then sell it for $1 million, you will pay $50,000. It's still 5% of the borrowed amount, but it's now double what you borrowed before.

The Home Buyers’ Plan

With the Home Buyers' Plan, you get the option to withdraw up to $35,000 tax-free from a qualified Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to use as a down payment on your principal property.

To qualify for the home buyer’s plan, you must:

  • You must be a first-time home buyer
  • Be a Canadian Resident specifically in the time frame of fund withdrawal for purchasing your house.
  • Have an intention to make the purchased house your principal residence (within one year of the purchase).
  • You must have a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home, either for yourself or a relatable person with disabilities

You may get these funds tax-free from RRSP, but make sure that you repay the amount within 15 years.

How to Apply for First Time Home Buyer Incentive Program

It's time to apply for the incentive once you successfully secure a pre-approval for a mortgage, identify the home you want, and confirm your eligibility. To apply for the First Time Home Buyer Incentive, simply fill out these two application forms:

  • FTHBI- SEM Information Package
  • SEM Attestation and Consent Form.

You can easily get these forms from the official CMHC website or directly through your lender.

Fill in the relevant information on these forms carefully, as it will determine whether or not you will be eligible for a rebate. Once you've completed the form, give it to the lender to continue the incentive process.

Give your solicitor the completed, signed copy of the mortgage package to keep on your behalf.

Call FNF Canada at (855) 844-4535 to activate your incentive and submit the name of your lawyer/notary when you receive your acceptance. Ensure you get this done at least two weeks before your deadline.

How Do I Know My House Qualifies for First Time Home Buyer Incentive Program?

You've determined that you might be eligible for the First-Time Home Buyers Incentive. Great! However, you must also ensure that your home qualifies for the same.

Residential homes, including new construction and resale properties, are eligible, including

  1. 1. Single-family dwellings
  2. 2. Homes that are semi-detached
  3. 3. Duplexes, Triplexes, and Fourplexes
  4. 4. Houses in the city
  5. 5. Condominium units
  6. 6. A mobile/manufactured home

You can have up to four units in your house. It must also be located in Canada and suitable and available for year-round, full-time and owner-occupied tenancy.

Wrapping Up:

As you can see, numerous alternatives are available to first-time homebuyers seeking assistance with purchasing a property. You must be informed of all options accessible to you, whether you want to use the CMHC first-time homebuyer's incentive or some other province-led plan or tax credit.

Work with the lender to get the most out of all the benefits available during the home-buying process. They can help you figure out which programmes you qualify for and how to apply; just let them know you're a first-time home buyer!


Ans: The first-time home buyer incentive qualifying income clocks in at $120,000.

Ans: An individual who has never bought a home in its entirety or anywhere across the globe is considered a first-time home buyer in Canada. That is equally true if you possess a property you didn’t purchase. The Government of Canada does not consider you a first-time buyer if you previously got your home as a gift or inheritance.

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Table of Content

  • What is the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive?
  • How Does the First Home Buyer Incentive Work?
  • Who is the Government Incentive Designed For?
  • Eligibility Criteria for First Time Home Buyers
  • First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Programs
  • How to Apply for First Time Home Buyer Incentive Program
  • How Do I Know My House Qualifies for First Time Home Buyer Incentive Program?