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Update on the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

Posted: April 11, 2019

Details on the government’s new First-Time Home Buyers Incentive (FTHBI) have not been finalized yet, however, we are expecting that the program will be operational in September. To highlight this incentive and to create more awareness of what it is, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which will administer the FTHBI, summarized some of the intents and benefits of this program:

  • This program is a way to assist first-time homebuyers without adding to their financial burden.
  • No monthly payments.
  • The program will require borrowers to meet minimum insured mortgage down payment requirements, “ensuring they are invested in their purchase.”
  • While aimed at first-time buyers, the program will result in freed up rental supply and will thus ease pressure on rents, CMHC says.
  • The cost of the program is capped at $1.25 billion over three years. It is also limited to a maximum combined income of $120,000 and total borrowing limited to four times income.

FTHBI is more desirable from a housing affordability perspective compared to some of the other policy changes many have been calling for, including tweaks to the mortgage stress test, and we are eager to see what the federal government implements. 

To make sure that the program works as intended, there will be consultations with lenders and other industry stakeholders over the coming months. This ensures that all industries are working together to create a program that works for everyone.

For more information, read CMHC’s statement “Making Housing More Affordable: First-Time Home Buyers Incentive.”


We will continue to share details as they become available.