One of the best perks of buying a home in Canada for the first time has got to be the various financial aid programs that the Government of Canada offers. As a first-time buyer, there are dozens of grants available for you to access.
Grants help make the purchase of a starter home more affordable and don’t have to be repaid.
Hint: That means free money!
What types of government grants are available to first-time buyers?
Grants are usually offered to first-time buyers on provincial and federal levels.
Listed below are some essential grants available to you when buying or upgrading aspects of your first home purchase.
I live in Toronto or Vancouver. What programs can I sign up for as a new buyer?
Some municipalities, like the City of Toronto, offer additional subsidy (grant) programs to home buyers/owners who want to make their homes eco-friendly or protect their homes from basement flooding. There is also the HELP loan which offers low-interest financing to Torontonians who want to make their homes more energy-efficient. Being that this is a loan, however, means you have to pay it back.
In Vancouver, the Home Owner Grant reduces the amount of property tax you pay annually, but will come in handy especially during your first few years of home ownership. To claim this grant, you have to be either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, live permanently in Vancouver, and your home must be your primary place of residence.
If you’re a first-time buyer in Toronto or Vancouver, you can apply to these programs if your home is eligible.
Are there first-time buyer grants for persons with disabilities?
Yes, there are provincial grants for persons with disabilities, even if this isn’t your first home.
In British Columbia, the Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) program started by BC Housing provides grants and loans to residents requiring accessibility housing modifications. Be aware that home value limits apply. In case you don’t qualify for the HAFI program, there is also the Home Owner Grant for Persons with Disabilities.
Ontario offers a similar funding program through the March of Dimes Foundation called the Home and Vehicle Modification Program. This is a grant-based program and is available to eligible Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Toronto Renovates offers grants up to $5,000 and loans up to $10,000 for renovations made to accessible housing. If you require both a grant and a loan, then the loan amount reduces by 10% each year. After 10 years, any amount you owe on your loan becomes forgiven. This program is funded both municipally and provincially.
As a first-time buyer, you may apply to any of these programs.
What’s the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit?
The First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit. It allows you to claim up to $5,000 in legal fees, closing costs and other expenses involved in your purchase of a new home. If you choose to make a claim, you’ll likely receive a $750 credit – the national average refund amount.
To qualify for the credit, there’s a list of requirements you must meet. Firstly, your purchase has to be your first home — whether newly-built or as an existing property. Secondly, you must live in the home within one year of purchasing it. Thirdly, you need to have documentation of your purchase (the title to your home) and your home must be registered to your spouse/partner or in your name.
Do all home types qualify?
Yes, all types of homes are eligible (even cooperative housing that allows ownership shares). The important thing is that the home you’re buying has to be your first home.
I have a spouse/common law partner who’s owned property before. Can we still apply?
It depends. You and/or your spouse/partner must not have owned or lived in previously owned property within the four years before making your tax credit claim.
GST/HST New Housing Rebate
Buying a pre-construction home or substantially renovating an existing home you’ve bought can be a financial benefit. With the New Housing Rebate, you can receive a refund on a portion of the sales tax you’ve paid to buy your home.
This refund depends on the purchasing price of the home and your home cannot be worth more than $450,000.
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