First Time Home Buyer Grants for Canadians (Complete List for 2018)

Buying a home can be expensive. Luckily, there are programs to help ease the strain on your wallet.

To encourage more Canadians to make the leap into home ownership, the government offers a variety of grants and special programs.

Here’s an overview of the programs available nationwide and by province, including what each program is, who it’s for, and how to apply.

National Programs

First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC)

Are you a first-time home buyer that bought a home after January 27, 2009? Then you may be eligible for the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit. This tax credit offers a $5,000 non-refundable amount when you file your tax return the following year. The credit offers you about an extra $750 in your pocket.

Availability: National

Type: Tax Break

Value: $750 Credit

Eligibility:

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    The property is located in Canada
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    It's either an existing home, or a newly built home purchased after January 27, 2009
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    It's a condo, town house, single-family home, semi-detached home or a duplex
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    The property is occupied by the owner, or occupied by the person with a disability* within one year after it’s purchased (*see things to note section)
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    You did not live in another home owned by you, your spouse or common-law partner in the year you acquired the property or any of the last four years.

Things to note

  • If you're a person with a disability, or the home is being purchased for someone with a disability, you don't have to be a first-time homebuyer. But the property must be purchased with the intent of providing greater accessibility.
  • If you’re living in co-operative housing, the property qualifies if you have equity interest
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    If you only have a right of tenancy, the property won’t meet the requirements for this tax credit.​​​​

How to apply: When you complete your tax return for the previous year (the year in which you purchased the home) complete Schedule 1 of the Federal Tax section .

ResourceFirst-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit


Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)

The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a program specifically designed to assist first-time homebuyers in purchasing their first property.

Under the HBP, you can withdraw up to $25,000 (or up to $50,000 combined, if you’re buying with a partner) in a single calendar year from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) towards the purchase of a qualifying property for yourself or someone with a disability.

Availability: National

Type: Tax Break

Value: You can borrow up to $25,000 tax free from your RRSP. Your actual​​​​ tax savings depends on your marginal tax bracket.

Eligibility:

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    You must be a first time homebuyer, meaning that you or your spouse/common-law partner must not have lived in a qualifying property owned by either of you in the last four years.
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    You must have a written agreement to build or purchase a qualifying home. Please note that for people with disabilities, the four year rule doesn’t apply.
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    You must intend to live in the home as your principal residence. This condition does apply to people with disabilities.

Things to note

  • If you previously participated in the Home Buyers' Plan, you may be able to re-qualify, provided you’ve fully repaid the amount you initially borrowed and you’re eligible based on all the other HBP eligibility criteria.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate

You may be eligible for a tax rebate on a portion of the GST or HST you paid as part of the purchase or construction of a new home. You may also be eligible for a rebate of the costs of substantially renovating your property, building an add-on to your existing home, or converting a commercial property into a residential home.

Availability: National

Type: Tax Break

Value: Varies. There are multiple housing rebates you can claim, and the value of this rebate is based on the provincial part of the GST/HST.

Eligibility:

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    This rebate can be claimed on a newly constructed or substantially renovated property only if the fair market value of the house is under $450,000 upon completion.
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    All other property qualifications must be met.

Things to note:

  • These qualifications may also be applied to mobile and floating homes.

How to apply: Various rebates are available, depending on the type of property and the province it’s purchased in. For details regarding which rebates you’re eligible for and which forms are required for the application, please consult the link in the resource section.

ResourceGST/HST new housing rebate


British Columbia

First Time Home Buyers’ Program

Are you a first-time homebuyer in the province of B.C.? Then you may qualify for the First Time Home Buyers' Program. This program reduces any amount owing for property land transfer tax when buying your first property. You may be eligible for a partial or full tax exemption under the program.

If you’re buying a property with a partner who doesn’t meet the conditions, only the percentage of your ownership share will be eligible under this program. For example, if you’re buying a home for $500,000 with a partner who doesn’t qualify, then only 50% of the land transfer tax (your share) would be eligible for the exemption.

Availability: British Columbia

Type: Tax Break

Value: Up to $7,500

Eligibility:

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    You're a citizen or permanent resident living in British Columbia for at least 12 consecutive months right before the date the property is registered, OR
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    You have filed a minimum of two income tax returns as a resident of B.C. in the previous six years.
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    The property is located in British Columbia
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    You'll use the property as your primary residence
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    For full* exemption, the property must have a fair market value of $475,000 or less (if registered on or before February 21st, 2017) or have a fair market value of $500,000 or less (if registered on or after February 22nd, 2017)
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    The total property size is 1.24 acres or less **

Things to note:

  • You must have never owned an interest in a principal residence worldwide and have never received a tax exemption or refund as a first-time homebuyer
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    * You may qualify for a partial exemption if the property you’re registering has a fair market value of less than $500,000 (if registered on or before February 21st, 2017) or $525,000 (if registered on or after February 22nd, 2017).
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    ** If the total property size is 1.25 acres or more it should have another building on the property, besides the principal residence.

How to apply: You can apply for this program by entering the exemption code FTH on your Property Transfer Tax Return. This can be done with the assistance of your real estate lawyer.

Please note that you must meet additional requirements during the first year of ownership in order to keep this tax exemption.

Resource First Time Home Buyers' Program


BC Home Partnership Program

Buying a home in B.C. can be tough, especially since it’s home to some of the most unaffordable real estate markets in the country. The most challenging part of buying a home is often managing to save up the initial down payment amount. Under the BC HOME Partnership Program, you may be eligible to receive up to five percent of your home’s purchase price as a down payment loan from the B.C. government.

Availability: British Columbia

Type: Down Payment Loan

Value: Loans up to $37,000

Eligibility:

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    You must appear on the title of the home you’re buying
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    Must have been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the the last five years, residing in B.C. for at least 12 consecutive months before applying
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    You must be a first-time homebuyer that hasn’t owned an interest in a residential property worldwide and has never received a first-time homebuyers’ exemption or refund
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    Your home should be purchased for $750,000 or less
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    The home must be used as the principal residence for all individuals on title for at least five years after your purchase date
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    The combined gross annual household income from everyone on title should be less than $150,000

 Things to note:

  • You'll need to qualify for a high-ratio insured mortgage since you’re putting down less than a 20 percent down payment
  • Properties sold below market value through an affordable homeownership program or other B.C. government programs are not eligible for this type of loan
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    The government of B.C. has a handy online calculator to help you figure out if you’re eligible for the BC HOME Partnership program

How to apply: You can apply directly online

ResourceBC Home Partnership


Home Owner Grant

Are you finding it tough to meet the burden of your property taxes in B.C.? You may be eligible for some relief. Under the Home Owner Grant, you may be eligible to lower the amount of property taxes you’re required to pay on an annual basis for your principal residence.

The amount of tax relief you’re eligible for depends on where you live. For instance, those under 65 years of age residing in the Capital Regional District, Greater Vancouver Regional District, and the Fraser Valley Regional District may be eligible for a grant of $570. Home owners residing in other parts of the province may be eligible for a grant of $770.

Availability: British Columbia

Type: Tax Break

Value: Between $570 and $770

Eligibility:

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    You may qualify for the Home Owner Grant if you’re under 65 years old, a senior, a veteran, a person with a disability, you’re residing with a spouse or relative with a disability, or you’re the spouse or relative of a deceased home owner
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    You must pay at least $350 annually in property taxes before claiming this grant

Things to note:

  • To make sure taxpayers are eligible for the grants, you could be audited for up to 7 years

How to apply: You can apply online by downloading and completing the Home Owner Grant application form

ResourceHome Owner Grant


Newly Built Home Exemption

Are you buying a newly built home in B.C.? You may be eligible for the Newly Built Home Exemption. This tax exemption helps lower or eliminate the amount of property transfer tax you’re required to pay when you’re buying a newly built home worth $750,000 or under.

Newly built homes are defined as those built on a parcel of vacant land or are new apartments in a newly constructed condo building. Manufactured homes that are placed on a parcel of vacant land are also eligible, as are pre-constructed homes that are moved from one parcel of land onto another parcel of vacant land, as long as the home has not been occupied since being moved. A home found on a parcel of land that is subdivided may also be considered newly built, provided it hasn’t been occupied since the parcel’s subdivision. As well, a house that’s been converted from previously non-residential property to residential property (such as a warehouse that is converted into apartments), could also be considered as newly built.

Availability: British Columbia

Type: Tax Break

Value: Up to $13,000 in tax exemptions on a property with a fair market value of less than $750,000.

Eligibility:

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    You're a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
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    The property is located in B.C.
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    The property is used as your principal residence
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    The property should have a fair market value of $750,000 or less * 
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     The total property size should be 1.24 acres or less *

Things to note:

  • The property transfer (including land and improvements) must be registered with the Land Title Office after February 16, 2016
  • * You may still be eligible for partial exemption if the property is valued between $750,000 and $800,000 and is larger than 1.25 acres. In this case, the property must also have another building on it, other than the principal residence

How to apply: You can apply for this tax exemption by entering exemption code 49 on your Property Transfer Tax Return.

ResourceNewly Built Home Exemption


Alberta

The HOME Program

The HOME program offers financial aid for residents of Alberta that are having difficulty saving up a down payment for a home. Those who qualify may be eligible to receive up to $3,000 in financial aid to help cover their down payment and closing costs.

Availability: Alberta

Type: Financial Aid

Value: Up to $3,000 in financial aid

Eligibility:

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    You attend two educational sessions where you learn about the HOME Program and the steps involved to buy a home

Things to note:

  • Anybody can attend the educational sessions

How to apply: Call 780-420-6161 Extension 608 or complete the contact form at the link in the resource section

ResourceThe HOME Program | HOME Contact Form | Upcoming Sessions


Ontario

Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan (OHOSP)

The Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan helps first-time home buyers save towards buying a home. The savings in turn provide you with a tax break of up to $2,000 annually.

Availability: Ontario

Type: Tax Credit

Value: Up to $2,000 per year

Eligibility:

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    You have an annual household income below $40,000 or a combined annual household income below $80,000.
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    Your spouse and you must be over 18 years old and be residents in Ontario
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    The funds you’re saving must be used towards t he purchase of a qualifying home
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    This includes a detached or semi-detached home, townhome, mobile homes, condos, co-ops and duplexes.
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    Once you move into your home, you must stay there at least 30 days in a row within two years from your date of purchase.

Things to note:

  • You won’t qualify for the Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan if you’ve previously used it
  • The Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan must be opened by December 31st for you to be eligible for the tax credit.
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     The OHOSP is offered by lenders throughout the province, so you’ll want to shop around to find the best savings account rate offered by lenders
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    If you’re buying with a partner, you will have to open two separate accounts

How to apply: You can apply for the Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan by completing the Home Purchase Declaration. This should be completed at least four weeks before the closing date on your home. You can ask your lender for a copy of this form. On the form you’ll need to provide the contact information of your lawyer. If you’re not using a lawyer, you’ll need to contact the Ministry of Finance to release the funds.

ResourceHow OHOSP Works | Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan


Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit

If you’re a senior in Ontario 65 years or older, you may qualify for a tax credit to help with the financial burden of renovating your home to make it safer and more accessible.

Availability: Ontario

Type: Tax Credit

Value: Up to $10,000 worth of eligible expenses annually

Eligibility:

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    You must either be 65 years of age or older by December 31 in the year for which you’re claiming the tax credit, or be living with a senior family member

Things to note:

  • Unlike most tax credits, your household income doesn’t matters. Seniors at all different income levels are eligible to apply for this tax credit.
  • Starting in the 2017 tax year, this tax credit is no longer eligible to claim, although you may be able to claim it for prior years.

How to apply: To Apply for the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit, you first have to claim your total expenses on your personal tax return. You can do this by completing Schedule ON(S12) of your tax return and claiming the amount you’ve spent in the year in eligible home renovations in box 6311 on tax form ON479.

ResourceHealthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit


Land Transfer Tax Refund for First Time Homebuyers

Like most other provinces, when purchasing real estate in Ontario you’re required to pay land transfer tax. To help with the financial burden, the Ontario government offers a refund on all or part of your land transfer tax for eligible first-time homebuyers.

Availability: Ontario

Type: Tax Refund

Value: Between $2,000 and $4,000

Eligibility:

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    You're at least 18 years old
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    You're a first time home buyer

Things to note:

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    Ontario does not allow you to re-qualify as a first-time homebuyer, as you might be able to do under the Home Buyers’ Plan.
  • If either you or your spouse have previously owned a home or an interest in a home anywhere worldwide, you won’t qualify
  • If you previously received a home as a gift or through inheritance, you won’t be eligible for this refund

How to apply: You can apply for the rebate through your real estate lawyer when your property is closing.

ResourceLand Transfer Tax Refunds for First-Time Homebuyers