Federal government releases details on homebuyer incentive programs unveiled in Budget 2019
The federal government has released the details of the first-time homebuyer incentive programs promised in March in the 2019 budget.
Beginning Sept. 2, 2019, the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive will help middle class families take their first steps towards homeownership by reducing monthly mortgage payments required for first-time homebuyers, without increasing the amount they need to save for a down payment. This program complements other measures taken in Budget 2019 to support first time homebuyers with their down payment such as increased RRSP withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $30,000 The government has allocated $1.25 billion over three years for the program. The incentive will be available to first-time homebuyers with qualified annual household incomes up to $120,000.
Budget 2019 also previewed the Shared Equity Mortgage Provider Fund, a five-year, $100-million lending fund to assist providers of shared equity mortgages to help eligible Canadians achieve affordable homeownership. This will support an alternative homeownership model targeted at first-time homebuyers, help attract new providers of shared equity mortgages and encourage additional housing supply. The fund will launch on July 31, 2019, and will be administered by CMHC.
“Through the National Housing Strategy, more middle-class Canadians – and people working hard to join it – will find safe, accessible and affordable homes,” says Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for CMHC.“Our proposed measures will reduce the monthly mortgage for your first home by up to $286. This will mean more money in the pockets of Canadians and will help up to an estimated 100,000 families across Canada.”
First-Time Homebuyer Incentive facts
- Canada’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive will help qualified first-time homebuyers purchase their first home as the incentive reduces their monthly mortgage payment, without increasing the amount that they must save for a down payment. The program will launch on Sept. 2, 2019, with the first closing on Nov. 1, 2019.
- The incentive will allow eligible first-time homebuyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage with CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty, to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a form of shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada.
- For the purchase of an existing home, an incentive amount of five per cent may be available. For the purchase of a newly constructed home, an incentive amount of five or 10 per cent may be available.
- Doubling the incentive for purchasers of new homes encourages new housing supply.
- No on-going repayments are required, the incentive is not interest bearing and the borrower can repay the incentive at any time without a pre-payment penalty.
- The buyer must repay the incentive after 25 years, or if the property is sold.
These details confirm that the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program will be an ownership stake in the property of qualified homebuyers, whereby the government will participate in appreciation of the property and – in the case of the property devaluing – depreciation as well.
“The key issue remains qualifying, and this program diminishes the amount that a first-time homebuyer can qualify for by about 15 to 20 per cent,” says James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial. “This is because the program limits the mortgage amount to four times the households’ income, whereas those not participating in the program can actually qualify for a mortgage that is 4.5 to 4.7 times their income. Household income for qualified homebuyers is also capped at $120,000.”
Those who would be attracted to the program would be Canadians who are trying to purchase at their maximum qualification, Laird adds. “However, because the program diminishes how much they can qualify for, it doesn’t serve the needs of the group it is targeted at. Canadians can get a larger loan by not participating in the program.”
Maximum affordability calculations
A household with $100,000 of income, putting a minimum down payment of five per cent, can currently qualify for a home valued at $479,888 with a $2,265 monthly mortgage payment.
The maximum purchase price for the same household, if they participate in the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program, drops to $404,858 with a five-per-cent minimum down payment. The total mortgage amount would then be $400,000 (or four times their household income).
Mortgage payment calculations
If the household took a five-pre-cent incentive from the government (for resales), their mortgage amount goes to $378,947, and monthly payment is now $1,810.
If the household took a 10-per-cent incentive from the government (for new homes) their mortgage amount goes to $357,894 and monthly payment is now $1,710.