Government lays out fine print of new CMHC program that could contribute 10% to price of first home

June 17, 2019 at 11:11 AM

The government on Monday released details of a program announced during the last federal budget, an initiative that could see Canada's housing agency contribute up to 10 per cent of the price of a buyer's first home if certain conditions are met.

Under the fine print for the First Time Home Buyer Incentive program, which was announced in March and will officially launch in September, a first-time homebuyer who earns less than $120,000 can qualify. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation would kick in up to 10 per cent of the purchase price of the home, providing the borrower comes up with the minimum amount for an insured mortgage, which is now at five per cent.

There's also a requirement that the total value of the mortgage plus the CMHC's portion don't eclipse $480,000. A government official says that effectively means the program is only available for properties worth a maximum of about $565,000, regardless of whether or not they have met the other requirements.

If that bar is met, the CMHC may kick in an additional five per cent of the purchase price of a resale home. For a newly built home, the CMHC may contribute up to 10 per cent.

The stakes from the CMHC would be interest free, meaning no ongoing cost to pay down, like a mortgage does.

But the government says in exchange for its stake, the CMHC would get to participate "in the upside and downside of the change in the property value" — which means they would be entitled to any corresponding increase in the value of a home when the buyer eventually sells. On the flip side, the government would also on the hook for any share of the loss if the property depreciates.

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