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12 Sep

6 Home buyer incentive programs that could save you thousands

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What – you’re not into throwing money out a window?  We aren’t either. We know you’re busy scrolling through house listings so we’ve saved you a little research time by compiling this list of home buyer incentive programs that could put some money in your pocket. 

Seen this list before? Check it out again – there have been changes!

Learn about incentives and rebates right here.

6 Home Buyer Incentive Programs, Ontario:

1. Home Ownership Program, County of Simcoe

2. First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit

3. RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan

4. Land Transfer Tax Refund

5. GST/HST Rebate

6. First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

1. You want to buy a house but you have one itsy bitsy little problem…the down payment

If you are new to the homeownership scene and are currently renting, this incentive is a big one! Offered by the County of Simcoe, the Home Ownership Program provides assistance by way of a forgivable loan to help you pull together a down payment. Qualifying individuals and families could receive a loan valued at 10% of the purchase price. Although there is a waiting list, applicants are encouraged to apply as loan paybacks continue to provide a revolving loan pool. If the purchaser holds ownership of the home for 20 years or more, loan repayment is waived. However, if the home is sold prior to 20 years of ownership, repayment will consist of the full incentive value plus 10% of the capital gain. If a capital loss is experienced, repayment will be reduced by the amount of loss.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Purchasing home must be located in Simcoe County
  • The purchase price (new or resale) at or below $436,662
  • Resale homes must have an inspection performed by a certified home inspector
  • Most models of homes are eligible except modular homes on leased land and homes on Reserve Land. Conditions apply for modular homes.
  • The down payment assistance loan is considered by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as homeowner equity for the purpose of securing CMHC mortgage insurance.
  • The downpayment assistance loan is registered on title in the second place
  • Gross household income of $96,000 or less
  • Personal assets (including RRSPs of first-time buyers & any gifting amounts from family/friends) cannot exceed $20,000
  • Must be a minimum of 18 years of age, Canadian citizen/landed immigrant/Refugee Claimant status
  • Must provide proof of mortgage pre-approval
  • Must be a renter household (not room and board or living with family unless staying in a separate rental unit within the home that can be rented out upon your departure)
  • Must be a current resident of the County of Simcoe, including Barrie or Orillia

Program information
Application form

2. How newbies can catch a break on property taxes

The excitement of new homeownership can be diminished when you’re slapped with your first property tax bill. Anyone stepping into homeownership should definitely be aware of this rebate! The First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit could provide up to $5,000 in property tax relief. This incentive is only effective for those who have never previously owned property or for those with a disability who are buying a home with special conditional aids.
Program Information

3. Get creative with your RRSPs

You’ve scrimped and saved to invest in your retirement dreams with a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)…but what if those dreams include moving to a different home? The RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan allows any home buyer to withdraw up to $35,000 from their current RRSP savings to buy or build a home. Repayment of RRSP funds will begin the second year after withdrawal and allows up to 15 years for full repayment. If you haven’t started investing in RRSPs, consider your options now for investment in that home of your dreams in the future!
Program Information

4. Transfer some of that Land Transfer Tax right into your pocket

When buying a property or investing in a piece of property in Ontario, purchasers pay a land transfer tax. But if you are a first-time buyer, you are in luck! New owners are eligible to receive a Land Transfer Tax Refund. Property purchases prior to January 1, 2017, were eligible for a full or partial refund up to a maximum value of $2,000. With fluctuations in the real estate market, this amount doubled as of January 1 to a maximum value of $4,000.
Program Information

5. GST/HST housing rebate if you’re planning a major home reno

If you’re looking for more incentive to buy that fixer-upper, you may be eligible for a new housing rebate for some of the goods and services tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST) you paid. From a very high level, here are some details:

  • You may be entitled to claim the GST/HST new housing rebate if you:
    • substantially renovated your existing house;
    • converted a non-residential property into a house; or
    • built a major addition onto your existing house if, along with that addition, you also renovated the house.
  • You purchased a new home or constructed or substantially renovated one, which could include housing on leased land for use as your (or your relation’s) primary place of residence
  • You purchased shares in a co-operative housing (co-op) complex for the purpose of using a unit in the co-op for use as your (or your relation’s) primary place of residence
  • You constructed or substantially renovated your own home, or hired someone else to construct or substantially renovate your home for use as your (or your relation’s) primary place of residence and the fair market value of the house when the construction is substantially completed is less than $450,000

Program Information

More details

6. First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

This program aims to help first-time homebuyers by giving them a little cashflow every month by contributing towards a more significant downpayment on a resale home.

  • To qualify, you must have a combined income of $120,000 or less
  • You can borrow up to four times the amount of your maximum combined income ($480,000)
  • Must contribute 5% toward a down payment, CMHC will match that 5% for resale homes for a total of 10%
  • The loan is interest-free but is repayable when you sell or refinance your home, or after 25 years if you remain in the home that long. Repayment is calculated on the value of your home at the time of repayment.

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

Mark Faris and Tim Walker discuss the pros and cons


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