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In April, the real estate industry was abuzz with talk about a new federal incentive for first-time homebuyers (FTHBI) that could potentially revolutionize the way millennials buy homes. Over the past decade, first-time home-buying has dropped as young people have been struggling to pay off student loan debt, living at home longer, and feeling uncertain about their financial futures as real estate prices soar and the barrier for entry rises. Now, the Canadian government is taking steps to show they are committed to housing affordability.

A Series of Incentives
Two issues plague the federal government: housing affordability and excessive debt. In order to combat excessive borrowing from lenders and limit inflation in the housing market, even as the cost of living in most Canadian cities skyrockets, the government has revealed that they will put in place a variety of incentive programs for first-time homebuyers. This is great news for the long-time renter who thought their dreams of ownership were far out of reach.

Limiting Inflation
One of the main factors driving the FTHBI is real estate inflation. Currently, the program will only qualify households with a maximum combined income of $120,000. Borrowing is capped at four times the income. The federal government’s budget over the next three years is $1.25 billion.

The Partner Program
The FTHBI’s partner program will assist certain qualified homebuyers on their search. There will allegedly be no monthly payments, but unlike previous attempts to help first-time buyers in the same way, borrowers will be required to meet a set of mortgage down payment standards. This means that only the most serious buyers will meet the criteria, eliminating the possibility of more extensive borrowing in the future.

Nationwide Reach
The incentive program will go into effect all across Canada. The Canadian government feels confident in their decision to move forward with this program in spite of rising housing costs in the most expensive Canadian cities. They believe that due to the income and borrowing limits, buyers will be able to find their dream home even in the most desirable cities in the country.

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