First-Time Homebuyers Incentive


How Does It Work?

The program lowers your monthly mortgage payment by contributing to the overall downpayment. This exchange is referred to as “Shared Equity,” where CMHC will share in the upside or downside of the home’s market value at the time of repayment.
The provided portion CMHC contributes at the time of purchase, either 5% or 10% of the purchase price, represents the portion of equity CMHC is entitled too. This portion is due under these conditions:

How Much Incentive Will Be Provided?

The amount is based on the type of home being purchased. If the property is an existing home, the incentive equals 5% of the purchase price. If the property is a newly constructed home, the incentive equals 10% of the purchase price.

How Much is Owed? & How Does Repayment Work?

The amount owed is based on the homeowner’s incentive, 5% or 10%. The homeowner must repay that percentage based on the home’s market value at the time of repayment.

There is no obligation to pay back the original incentive amount if the home value has fallen below its original purchase price.

Take a look at each scenario:

How Do I Apply?

Talk to a Professional Mortgage Broker! He or She will work with you and determine if the CMHC First-Time Homebuyers Incentive is right for you. Not all lenders accept this program, but Brokers have the advantage in that we work with multiple lenders.

What if I am Applying with Someone Else?

Whoever is on the mortgage will also be on the Shared Equity Agreement. However, unlike Provincial Programs, such as the Newfoundland’s First-Time Homebuyers Plan, only one person must meet the eligibility criteria.

Who is Eligible?

To qualify for the First-Time Homebuyers Incentive, the following must apply:

The Homebuyer’s total qualifying annual income1 shall be no more than $120,000. If there is more than one Homebuyer, the combined qualifying annual income shall be no more than $120,000. Examples of qualifying annual income include salary before taxes and investment income
Total borrowing is limited to no more than 4 times the qualifying income. The combined first insured mortgage and Incentive amount cannot exceed four times the total qualifying income. If there is more than one Homebuyer, the combined borrowing is limited to no more than 4 times the combined qualifying income.
The Homebuyer must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident who is legally authorized to work in Canada.
At least one Homebuyer (if more than one on title) must be a first-time Homebuyer, as per the definition below:
    • they have never purchased a home before; or
    • in the last 4 years, they did not occupy a home that they or their current spouse or common- law partner owned; or
    • they are experiencing a breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership (in certain cases, even if/when the other first-time Homebuyer requirements are not met).

Please note, you or your spouse or common-law partner may qualify for the Incentive (if you are in a married or common-law relationship) with the 4-year clause even if you have owned a home previously.

The maximum of one Incentive includes any variation of borrower or co-borrower (i.e. once an Incentive is advanced to a Homebuyer, that Homebuyer is not eligible for any additional Incentives regardless of any other new first-time homebuyer named on the application).

What Types of Properties are Eligible for the Incentive?

The home must be the Homebuyers’ primary residence and eligible for CMHC Default Insurance, have year-round access, permanent heat source and located within Canada.

Do I still Need A Down Payment?


The minimum downpayment required to purchase a home is 5%. Only traditional sources will be accepted, such as:

Borrowed downpayments such as, an Unsecured Personal Loan or Line of Credit are not acceptable sources of downpayment.

Are there any other Requirements?

For the Incentive to apply, the first mortgage must be greater than 80% of the home’s value. In other words, the downpayment cannot exceed 19.99% of the purchase price.

Are there any Costs Associated?

There is no application or processing fee payable to CMHC.

The homebuyer is responsible for repayment and costs associated with valuing the home at the time of repayment. For example, if the homeowner were to repay the incentive but did not sell the home at that time, an appraisal would be required to determine the market value. The cost of the appraisal would be the homeowners’ responsibility.

The homebuyer is also responsible for certain third-party expenses, such as closing services, legal costs and other expenses associated with the purchase.

What about Renovations?

The repayment is based on the home’s market value. If considering renovations, which will increase the homes’ value, it would be beneficial for the homeowner to repay the incentive before any significant improvements.

What if I want to Refinance the Home?

The home can be refinanced without making immediate repayment of the incentive. The refinance must not exceed 80% of the total value of the home. 

As time goes on, I believe more details will be released regarding refinancing options for those using the Shared Equity Incentive. It is difficult to say whether each lender will allow the refinancing of certain mortgage structures, as not all lenders will follow the same lending guidelines and policy. 

Is there another Mortgage Registered Against the Home?


The Shared Equity Mortgage is secured by registering against the home as a second mortgage.


The First-Time Homebuyers Incentive is an excellent tool for reducing a homebuyers’ monthly mortgage payment. Be sure to ask your Professional Mortgage Broker any questions you may have and fully understand how the program works before committing to it. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What will you do with the money you save each month? 
  2. How long do you plan on living in the home?


For more information on this program and mortgage financing, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

CMHC’s First-Time Homebuyers Incentive.

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