Skip to main content

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

CANADIAN MORTGAGE TREND -- Long-awaited tweaks to the government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, including for Vancouver, came into effect yesterday


First published in Canadian Mortgage Trends


Nearly five months after the changes were first proposed, the Department of Finance and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) have enhanced the eligibility criteria for buyers in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.


As a recap, the FTHBI is a shared-equity program whereby the government contributes between 5% and 10% of a first-time buyer’s down payment, and shares in any increase or decrease in the home value until the loan is repaid. The buyer doesn’t need to make any monthly payments, though the loan must be repaid after 25 years or when the home is sold.


The new eligibility requirements include:

  • the maximum eligible household income has been raised to $150,000 (an increase from $120,000)
  • participants can borrow up to 4.5 times their household income, up from the current four times.


The changes are limited to those living in the three cities noted above, while the original criteria continue to apply to those living in the rest of the country.


Our government recognizes that making the choice to own for the first time is a challenge, especially in major markets where housing costs are rising fastest,” said Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister responsible for the CMHC. “To that end, the new enhancements under the Incentive increases the eligibility of the program in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.”


What do the FTHBI changes mean?


The increase in the maximum household income and borrowing limit means first-time buyers wanting to participate in the program can now theoretically qualify for a purchase price up to $722,000, up from roughly $505,000 for those under the original requirements.


This comes at a time when the average house price has soared to $716,000, according to March data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. Even without the high-priced markets of the Greater Toronto and Vancouver areas, the national average price still stands at $556,828.


The question, of course, is whether the changes will actually assist first-time buyers struggling with affordability as prices continue to rise nationwide.


No. The program isn’t really assistive to first-time buyers,” says Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada. “Even with the increased 4.5 times income, all eligible participants would actually be able to borrow more using a traditional 5% down insured mortgage. As such, it won’t really create any new market entrants. It will provide an option for those who already qualify, in very specific parameters, to reduce their monthly payments at the trade-off of home equity.”


Taylor told CMT that the program is true to its name, being an “incentive” program as opposed to being “assistive.”


The government is incentivizing first-time buyers to take on less debt and to reduce their monthly payments, but the tradeoff is reduced purchasing capacity and government co-ownership,” he added, saying the number of borrowers eligible to actually qualify for the new maximum purchase price of $722,000 “will be very small.”



Steve Huebl ... is a graduate of Ryerson University's School of Journalism and has been with Canadian Mortgage Trends and reporting on the mortgage industry since 2009. His past work experience includes The Toronto Star, The Calgary Herald, the Sarnia Observer and Canadian Economic Press. Born and raised in Toronto, he now calls Montreal home.


Copyright © 2019 Canadian Mortgage Trends

Terms and Conditions of Website Use


Popular posts from this blog

It seems the call for blood donors is being responded to, however ... “This effort is a marathon, not a sprint” says Canadian Blood Services

A week and a half ago I wrote the commentary ... “ While the national inventory is currently strong, an increase in blood donor cancellations is a warning sign of potential challenges to maintaining a health inventory of blood ” It was written as a result of talk about a potential blood shortage that would occur if people stopped donating due to the COVID-19 virus. It seems the call to Canadians was responded to, however, as I was told this afternoon ... “ T his effort is a marathon, not a sprint ”. As it now stands now, donors are able to attend clinics which are held in Vancouver (2), Victoria, Surrey, and in Kelowna, so I asked if there any plans to re-establish traveling clinics to others communities - for example in Kamloops, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Revelstoke or Cranbrook, and perhaps further north at perhaps Ft. St. John? According to Communications Lead Regional Public Affairs Specialist Marcelo Dominguez, Canadian Blood Services is still on

FEDLSTED -- Rules will have to relax-- the question is how and when

The media has created a fervour over the mathematical models that allegedly help governments predict the future of Coronavirus infections in the general population. Mathematical modelling has limited use and value. We need to understand is that the data available on Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in Canada is far too small for statistical reliability. The data available for the whole world is useless due to variables in how nations responded to Coronavirus infections. There is no commonality in steps taken to combat virus spread and no similarity in the age demographics of world nations, so the numbers you see on the daily tracking of world infections are not useful in developing a model of infection rates that can be relied on. Mathematical models of the future spread of Coronavirus are better than nothing, but not a whole lot better.  Mathematical models must include assumptions on virus spreads, and various factors involved. As they are used in projections, a small erro

When necessary – and only when necessary – the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program can attach (garnish) wages

Alan Forseth ~~ Kamloops, BC ~~ May 15th Earlier this week (Monday May 13 th ) the BC government announced it would be establishing a new Crown agency to oversee the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP).   They indicated that on or before the end of October, the provision of family maintenance services would transition from a contracted service provider, to the newly created Crown agency. Apparently, this was to ensure that family maintenance enforcement services for vulnerable British Columbians continue uninterrupted. Seeing this story, reminded me of a woman ( we’ll call her Mary Brown ) who had email me some time b ack about this very thing, and questions she had about how maintenance enforcement was imposed and enforced. She said to me, “ I’m just curious if you can get any statistics of the homeless men and woman, that have children, that they are paying family maintenance in support of their children”.  “I am not about to sugg


Show more