First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Launches in September

Aug 22, 2019

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Matt Mayers

Help your clients understand the incentive and whether they can benefit

In September, the federal government will launch the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, an interest-free loan that doesn't require monthly payments. The incentive is intended to help reduce monthly mortgage payments without increasing the amount needed to save for a down payment.

How does it work? 
Eligible homebuyers with the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage can apply to finance a portion of their home through a shared equity mortgage with the federal government. This means that the government shares in the upside and downside of the property value.

For an existing or manufactured home, the incentive will be five per cent of the total borrowed amount. For a newly constructed home, the homebuyer can choose either a five or ten per cent incentive.

The homebuyer will need to repay the incentive based on the fair market value of their property. Repayment occurs when the homeowner sells the property or after 25 years, whichever comes first

Eligible homebuyers can apply for the incentive as of September 2, 2019.

Who's eligible? 
To qualify, a homebuyer needs:

  • to be a first-time homebuyer or have gone through a breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership or, in the last four years, not occupied a home owned by the homebuyer, current spouse or common law partner,
  • to be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident who's legally authorized to work in Canada,
  • at least the minimum down payment of five per cent,
  • a maximum down payment of 9.99 per cent for the ten per cent incentive or a maximum down payment or 14.99 per cent for the five per cent incentive,
  • a maximum annual pre-tax household income of $120,000, and
  • total borrowing (mortgage plus the amount of the incentive) that's limited to four times the maximum household income.

Your clients can use this Eligibility Calculator to determine if they meet the requirements as a first-time homebuyer.

How can I apply? 
To apply for the incentive, a homebuyer needs to fill out the application documents once they're available and take them to their lender.

Will your client benefit? 
The most expensive home that can be bought using the incentive is $565,000, meaning that with an average BC MLS® price of $684,497 in July, many homes in BC won't allow first-time homebuyers to meet the eligibility requirements. In the next Market Intelligence Report, BCREA's Economics Department will analyse the expected uptake of the incentive across BC.

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