The Revamped New First-Time Home Buyer Incentive: Will it Drive Up Home Prices?

What you need to know

First-time home buyers in Canada’s most expensive housing markets will soon have an easier time qualifying for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI). 

The program traditionally allows buyers to take out a smaller mortgage with lower monthly payments by providing an interest-free loan to boost down payment by either 5-10 percent in exchange for an equivalent-sized equity share in the home.

However, effective Spring 2021, the following changes will take place, allowing an additional 20,000 Canadians to benefit from the shared-equity program in the most competitive markets.

    • First-time buyers will be able to purchase a home up to 4.5 times their household income
    • They can participate if their household income is $150,000 or less
    • With a minimum down payment, the maximum purchase price that will qualify under the program rises to about $722,000 in those three markets

Many experts are cautioning that these adjustments could result in escalating prices in the target markets – which are already undergoing an unprecedented record run during the pandemic.

In practice, however, this updated incentive will do little to push prices further, for several reasons:

    • It doesn’t help applicants to enter the market – applicants are expected to fund their own down payment of at least 5%
    • The maximum price cap – $722,000 – falls short of the benchmark prices of single-family homes in the most expensive markets
    • With home buyers now focused on purchasing bigger properties, in smaller suburban areas, this incentive is unlikely to push demand in the condo market

So the short answer then, is no – the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is unlikely to drive up real estate pricing.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell property in the Greater Ottawa Area, it is critical that you have a real estate agent on your side who understands your needs. Adam Mills and his team have been in business for over ten years and have a proven track record for success. Our team is comprised of knowledgeable and experienced professionals who are happy to help you navigate the ever-changing Ottawa real estate market. Please contact us at 613-825-7653 or email us at for more information or help with your relocation.