Here’s a list of current first-time buyer benefits available to local buyers. Keep in mind that these programs do change from time-to-time, and we do our best to stay current.
Always best to speak to your lawyer and accountant – if you don’t know anybody in these areas of expertise, we’re glad to recommend somebody we trust.
1. THE RRSP HOME BUYER PLAN (Federal)
This program allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 per person from your RRSP to buy your first home. It’s the only time in your life when you can take money out of your RRSP without a tax penalty. You will either pay it back in 15 years (1/15th per year), or the 1/15th amounts are added to your yearly taxable income.
We’ve identified three different ways to use this program to help first-time buyers… even if they don’t have savings or money already in their RRSP’s. If you want more information, let us know and we can coach you through how to do it.
2. LAND TRANSFER TAX REBATE (Provincial and Municipal)
First-time buyers are eligible to receive up to $4,000 off their land transfer tax when buying in Ontario. If you buy for $398,333 or less, your land transfer tax will be zero.
The City of Toronto also has a second municipal land transfer tax, and they offer an additional rebate, similar to the Ontario rebate. So far, Toronto is the only city that charges this additional “municipal” tax.
3. FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS’ TAX CREDIT (Federal)
This was introduced in “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” to assist first-time buyers. You can claim up to $5,000 on your tax return from your extra buying costs like legal expenses, inspections and land transfer tax. The credit must be claimed within a year of purchase, and it’s intended for owner-occupied homes.
4. FIRST TIME HOME BUYER INCENTIVE (Federal) & SHARED EQUITY PROGRAMS
This incentive was introduced on September 2, 2019, and the government has earmarked $1.25 billion in funding to the program over the first three years.
This program is a shared-equity mortgage, designed to lower monthly mortgage payments without increasing the need for additional downpayment funding. For buyers who qualify, the government will “loan” five percent of the price of a resale home, and either five or 10 percent of a newly constructed home.
This incentive is very similar to a second mortgage, but no regular payments are required.
When you sell your home, if the value has increased… you would pay back your original balance that you borrowed, calculated as either 5% or 10% of the total increase in value, depending on how much you originally borrowed.
So let’s say you buy a home for $400,000 with YOUR downpayment of 5% ($20,000), and the government pitching in an additional 5% ($20,000). This would save you about $100 per month. When you sell the home for $500,000, you would give the government a total of $25,000 back (the initial amount of $20,000 received, plus 5% of the $100,000 increase in value).
This program caps at a $120,000 gross family income, and the maximum purchase price is FOUR times the income to a top range of $480,000. There is talk that the government may expand the program up to $789,000 in more expensive markets like the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver area.
Shared-equity programs will become more popular in upcoming years. One of the offerings we really like is this one through Key Living.
#1, #3 and #4 may also be applicable for somebody who has previously owned a home, but not within the last 4-5 years… in other words, a buyer who has been on the sidelines for a while may be considered a “first-time buyer” all over again. Check with each program for more details.
Buying a home can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time, but we have a lot of information to help make it easy. Have a look at some of the other areas of our website to see some other ways we can help you – classes, guides and tours are all available.