As a REALTOR® in Canada, it’s important to understand how federal housing programs can help your clients navigate the home buying process.
CREA has been a strong advocate for many programs, lobbying the government to introduce measures that make homeownership more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. One measure we lobbied for was the creation of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). Thanks in part to REALTOR® recommendations, the HBP continues to help Canadians buy their first home.
You can also help your clients make informed decisions on topics such as energy efficiency and guide them towards programs such as the Canada Greener Homes Grant, which provides financial incentives for homeowners undertaking energy efficient renovations. You can also help your clients take advantage of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTBHI), which provides financial assistance to first-time buyers, or other programs, like the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC), which helps seniors and people living with disabilities make modifications to their homes.
Understanding these federal housing programs and being an advocate for your clients helps reinforce REALTORS®’ collective voice and reputation as a knowledgeable and trusted resource, with the goal of helping Canadians get into homes.
Here is a list of federal government programs and initiatives currently available to Canadians.
Programs for first-time home buyers:
- First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI): Provides a shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada to help first-time home buyers lower their monthly mortgage payments without increasing their down payment.
- First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC): Budget 2022 proposed increasing the amount used to calculate the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit to $10,000 (from $5,000), which would provide a tax credit of up to $1,500 to eligible home buyers. This amendment applies to the 2022 and subsequent taxation years.
- Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP): Allows eligible home buyers to withdraw up to $35,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to put towards the down payment of their first home.
- Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA): Designed to give first-time home buyers the ability to save $40,000 on a tax-free basis with an annual contribution limit of $8,000. The government is working with financial institutions to have the infrastructure in place for individuals to be able to open an FHSA and start contributing at some point in 2023.
- Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit: A refundable credit that allows families to claim up to $7,500 to build a secondary unit in their home to accommodate seniors or adults living with disabilities. Any expenditures to be claimed should be incurred after January 1, 2023.
- Home accessibility tax credit (HATC): A non-refundable credit that helps support seniors and individuals living with a disability with a rebate on mobility renovations for their home for up to $10,000 in qualifying expense.
- GST/HST new housing rebate: Offers a rebate on the GST or the HST for new homes. The rebate is available to home buyers who purchase a new-build home, preconstruction, or who make substantial renovations to an existing home.
Energy efficiency programs:
- Canada Greener Homes Grant: Helps homeowners save money and lower their footprint while creating new jobs across Canada for energy advisors.
- Greener Homes Loan: Helps Canadians make their homes more energy-efficient, by offering interest-free financing in addition to the Canada Greener Homes Grant to help you complete major retrofits recommended by your energy advisor.
- Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program: Helps Canadians who heat their home by oil switch to new, energy efficient heat pumps.
- Energy Savings Rebate Program: Energy Savings Rebate program makes energy-efficient products more accessible to people across Ontario.
CREA has been active in advocating for energy-efficiency and sustainable building practices in Canada and is working on developing a green designation for REALTORS® interested in learning about sustainability in the housing space.
- Canada Housing Benefit: Aims to help low-income renters with the cost of renting. A client may be eligible for a tax-free one-time payment of $500 if their income and the amount that they pay on rent qualify.
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Resources for Buyers/Renters: Explore home buying calculators, buying and renting guides, mortgage and maintenance tops, FAQs and more.
- CMHC Resources for Professionals: Explore funding programs, market intelligence, research, data, and more.
Bonus – programs for developers and builders
- Deep Retrofit Accelerator Initiative: This program designed to build capacity and address barriers to deep retrofit project development and implementation, and facilitate the development of deep retrofit projects.
- Green Municipal Fund: Helps local governments switch to sustainable practices through a unique mix of funding and training that leverages a $1.65 billion endowment from the Government of Canada. It aims to give municipalities the tools they need to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.
- Toward Net-Zero Homes and Communities Program: Provides funding for innovative projects to support creative energy efficiency initiatives for the Canadian residential sector. Eligible activities must contribute to the improved energy efficiency of homes and increased understanding of the housing sector or energy-using products that affect energy consumption.
- Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit (PEER): Developing, testing and validating innovative prefabricated building envelope technologies for retrofitting the exteriors of existing Canadian homes.
- Greener Neighbourhoods Pilot Program: Aims to validate the benefits and business cases of aggregated deep energy retrofits approaches in up to six community housing neighbourhoods in Canada.
- Energy Efficient Buildings RD&D: aimed to increase energy efficiency and address climate change by improving how homes and buildings are designed, renovated, and constructed.
- National Housing Co-Investment Funding: Provides capital to partnered organizations for new affordable housing and the renovation/repair of existing affordable and community housing.
- Housing Accelerator Fund: A $4 billion program which will grow the annual housing supply in the country’s largest cities every year, creating a target of 100,000 new middle-class homes by 2024-25. The program is still being finalized by the government.
- Rapid Housing Initiative: A program designed to provide capital contributions for the rapid construction of new housing and/or acquisition of existing buildings for rehabilitation or conversion to permanent affordable housing.
Navigating these rebates, tax-incentives, and savings programs can be overwhelming to some. Ensuring you know and understand the housing programs available, you can further cement your role as trusted advisor to your clients.