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(Buh-Bye) First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

This government program has been discontinued as of March 21, 2024

Started in 2019 and updated in 2022, the FTHBI was designed to help top up a down payment. With relatively little uptake during its existence, it's gone — here's what you need to know.

Deadline for new or updated submissions: March 21, 2024

The federal national housing agency, CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation), has discontinued its down payment incentive for first-time home buyers.

If you've previously participated in this program, nothing changes — you still owe the top-up for the down payment it provided you within 25 years or upon the sale of your home.

CMHC information bulletin for those home buyers actively pursuing an application:

For new and resubmitted First-Time Home Buyer Incentive applications:

All new applications and resubmissions for previously cancelled or declined applications must reach the Program Administrator by March 21, 2024 (midnight ET).

In cases where an application was previously cancelled or declined, it must be resubmitted and received by the Program Administrator before the March 21, 2024 (midnight ET) deadline.

If an application is submitted on or before the March 21, 2024, deadline (midnight ET) and is declined due to an application error, the mortgage loan insurer is responsible for rectifying the issue and resubmitting the application.

Applications resubmitted after March 21, 2024 must undergo a manual review. Requests for such reviews must be submitted no later than March 25, 2024 (midnight ET).

The Program Administrator will process applications received before the deadlines promptly. No new approvals will be granted after March 31, 2024.

For approved applications:

The Program Administrator will continue to consider post-approval changes, following the guidance outlined in the  Operational Policy Manual, a PDF available on the Place to Call Home website (refer to section 6.3).

Click here to see the CMHC bulletin page

Here's our original post about this program:

What is the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive?

Launched in September 2019 through the federal Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), this program offers access to an interest-free loan, to help first-time home buyers get into their first real estate investment. They'll top up your down payment by 5% on most homes or 10% on new builds — for a shared-equity mortgage.

First Time Home Buyer Incentive

How it helps you:

The larger down payment lowers your monthly payments, thereby lowering your overall mortgage costs. There is no interest or regular payments for the top-up, and it may be repaid at any time without pre-payment penalties.

How do you pay it back?

The loan isn’t due for 25 years, or until you sell the house (whichever comes first). When repaying the loan, the current value of the house is calculated (for both 5% or 10%), meaning the buyer is partially protected if the market drops.

Update June 1, 2022. As mentioned in the 2022 Federal Budget points, the Government of Canada is now limiting its share in the appreciation of your home to a maximum gain of 8% per annum on the incentive amount (not compounded). That means when you repay, you'll keep more of the home's equity if it has increased in value.

If your home has decreased in value (depreciated) at the time of repayment, then the government's share of the loss is also limited to a maximum of 8% per annum on the incentive amount (not compounded).

Note: This FTHBI recalculation is retroactive to September 2, 2019, when the program was first introduced. Read more here about being contacted by a CMHC rep if you're in line for a reimbursement.

Who is this first-time incentive for?

  • First-time home buyers, as outlined by the program requirements
  • Household incomes must be less than $120K (increases to less than $150K if you live in Toronto, Vancouver or Victoria)
  • Your original down payment must be at least 5%, but not more than 20%
  • Your mortgage must be eligible for mortgage insurance (applies to your original down payment, not the incentive portion)

How much house can I afford?

Depending on where you live, the maximum purchase price with this program is typically 4x your annual household income (to a max of $120K). So, the theoretical maximum mortgage under this program is currently $480K. Keep in mind that you may qualify for more without the program. Usually, that maximum is 6x your annual household income. Check out our Affordability Calculator for a quick idea of your numbers.

Eligibility has been expanded for Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria areas.

The Government of Canada has acknowledged that in markets like Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria, the original program is not viable with current housing prices.

  • For these areas, the ceiling amount for the maximum household annual income has been raised to $150K
  • The maximum purchase price is 4.5x your annual household income (to a max of $150K)
  • House purchased must be within the Census Metropolitan Areas for these cities, as outlined by the program

We can help you apply — and offer great advice on other programs.

We're experts, and we know the ins and outs of your very first mortgage. There are several required documents for this program — we can walk you through AND them submit on your behalf. There's no cost to you, and no obligation. Plus, there are other rebates and programs, such as the Home Buyers Plan, that may also help out.

It's important to start with your best rate and mortgage product, regardless of available programs. We check (and haggle) with all the lenders on your behalf, so that you can sleep easier knowing that you didn't miss out on a better option.

Talk to us today, or apply online now. We make it all so easy.

How much can you save? Use the program calculator to see your numbers. Then contact us to make it happen.

A comparison, with the maximum allowed

10% (new build) incentive on $533,329 purchase means you could save $268/mo or $3,221 annually.

Without incentive With incentive
Down Payment $53,329 $53,329
First Time Home Buyer Incentive $0 $53,330
Mortgage Amount $479,970 $426,640
Mortgage Insurance $19,199 $11,946
Total Mortgage Amount $499,169 $438,586
Monthly Mortgage Payment (2.39%) $2,212 $1,943

A comparison, based on the average Canadian household income (age group 25-34)

5% (existing home) incentive on $322,080 purchase means you could save $86/mo or $1,029 annually.

Without incentive With incentive
Down Payment $16,104 $16,104
First Time Home Buyer Incentive $0 $16,104
Mortgage Amount $305,976 $289,872
Mortgage Insurance $12,239 $8,986
Total Mortgage Amount $318,215 $298,858
Monthly Mortgage Payment (2.39%) $1,410 $1,324

Get your best first mortgage, with our help.