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Eligibility & Requirements for New First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

Latest News Anvar Islamov 11 Jul

Who can apply?

  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and non-permanent residents who are legally authorized to work in Canada
  • Borrowers must have a maximum qualifying income of $120,000
    • Total qualifying income must be $120,000 per year or less
    • This is subject to qualifying income requirements set out by lenders and mortgage loan insurers
    • At least one borrower must be a first-time homebuyer, as per the definition below.

Are you a first-time homebuyer?

You are considered a first-time homebuyer if you meet one of the following qualifications:

  • you have never purchased a home before
  • you have gone through a breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership (even if you don’t meet the other first-time home buyer requirements)
  • in the last 4 years, you did not occupy a home that you or your current spouse or common-law partner owned

IMPORTANT: It’s possible that you or your spouse or common-law partner qualifies for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (if you are in a married or common-law relationship) with the 4-year clause even if you’ve owned a home.

How does the 4-year period work?

The 4-year period begins on January 1 of the fourth year before the year you purchased your home. It ends 31 days before the date you purchase your new home. Here are a few examples:

  • if you purchase a home on March 31, 2016, the 4-year period begins on January 1, 2016 and ends on February 28, 2020
  • if you sold your home you lived in in 2014, you may be able to participate in 2019 or if you sold the home in 2015, you may be able to participate in 2020

Are there other mortgage details?

  • Total borrowing is limited to 4 times the qualifying income. The combined mortgage and Incentive amount cannot exceed four times the total qualifying income. The amount for the mortgage loan insurance premium is excluded from this calculation.
  • The maximum threshold for debt service ratios are GDS 39% and TDS 44%. This is only applied on the first mortgage and is subject to requirements by lenders and mortgage loan insurers.
  • The Incentive is a second mortgage on the title of the property. There are no regular principal payments. It isn’t interest bearing and has a maximum term of 25 years.
  • The Government of Canada will share in the upside and downside of the property value upon repayment.

Is Mortgage Loan Insurance required?

  • Mortgages must be eligible for mortgage loan insurance through either Canada Guaranty, CMHC or Genworth. The first mortgage must be greater than 80% of the value of the property and is subject to a mortgage loan insurance premium.
  • The premium is based on the loan-to-value ratio of the first mortgage only. That is, the first mortgage amount divided by the purchase price. The Incentive amount is included with the total down payment.
  • Mortgage loan insurance premiums may be subject to provincial taxes.

What are the down payment requirements?

  • Minimum down payment is 5% of the first $500,000 of the lending value and 10% of the lending value above $500,000.
  • The minimum down payment must come from traditional down payment sources.
  • Traditional down payment comes from the borrower’s own resources and may include:
    • savings
    • withdrawal/collapse of a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP)
    • non-repayable financial gift from a relative
  • Note: Unsecured personal loans or unsecured lines of credit used to satisfy minimum down payment requirements are not eligible for the program.

What properties are eligible?

The Incentive is to help first-time homebuyers purchase their first home. Eligible residential properties include:

  • new construction
  • re-sale home
  • new and re-sale mobile/manufactured homes

Residential properties can include 1 to 4 units.

Types of residential properties include:

  • single family homes
  • semi-detached homes
  • duplex
  • triplex
  • fourplex
  • town houses
  • condominium units

IMPORTANT: The property must be located in Canada and must be suitable and available for full-time, year-round occupancy.

What are the terms of repayment?

The first-time homebuyer will be required to repay the Incentive amount after 25 years or when the property is sold, whichever comes first.

The homebuyer can also repay the Incentive in full at any time, without a pre-payment penalty. Refinancing of the first mortgage will not trigger repayment.

How is repayment calculated?

  • If a homebuyer receives a 5% or 10% Incentive, the homebuyer will repay 5% or 10% of the home’s value at repayment.
  • Repayment is based on the property’s fair market value.