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The federal government has discontinued the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a much-criticized program aimed at improving housing affordability for new buyers that saw muted uptake in major markets.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the national housing agency, said in a statement on its website that the program was winding up, with no new or updated submissions to be accepted after midnight ET on March 21.

Applications resubmitted after that date will be subject to a manual review, with review requests to be submitted no later than midnight ET on March 25 and no new approvals to be granted after March 31.

Introduced in 2019, the Incentive was aimed at reducing monthly mortgage payments for qualified first-time buyers through a shared-equity scheme. It offered a contribution of 5% or 10% towards the purchase of a newly constructed home, and 5% of the purchase of a resale existing home or new/resale mobile or manufactured home.

Still, that shared-equity component, which meant the government would also benefit from the potential future sale of a home, proved unpopular with buyers, who would have to repay the Incentive either after 25 years or upon sale.

The program faced challenges from the off. In 2020, federal Conservative MPs Tom Kmiec and Stphanie Kusie slammed its cost and low levels of consumer interest, urging CMHC to topdeo the scheme,  after an annual report showed its uptake lagged far below projections.

Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) also criticized the Incentive at its 2022 summit, when vice chair Veronica Love said the scheme was “simply failing” with data showing participation in the program was less than a third of what the government had originally envisaged.

Between its launch in September 2019 and the end of March 2021, the program had seen  LESS THAN 10,000 sucessfull applicants across Canada with Edmonton and Calgary accounting for nearly 2,000 of that total.


Smart move: bridge financing provides a smooth transition between mortgages
 July 11 2023     Posted by John C Filice

Summer is officially in full swing which means vacation time, backyard barbecues, pool parties, etc., but summer is also "moving season". If you're one of the many Canadians who will be moving this summer, I want to talk to you about a topic that could be very useful for you: bridge financing.

As the name implies, bridge financing is a type of short-term loan that can help you cover the gap between buying a new home and selling your current one. It can provide you with the funds you need to make a down payment on your new home, pay for closing costs, or cover any other expenses related to your move.

Bridge financing offers certain advantages that can make your move easier and more affordable. Here are a few:

Flexibility You have more control over the timing of your move. You don't have to worry about selling your home before you can buy a new one or finding a temporary place to stay while you wait for your closing date. You can move into your new home as soon as it's available and pay off your bridge loan when you sell your old one.

Confidence You can avoid some costly mistakes that might arise when buying and selling in a competitive market. For example, you don't have to accept a low offer on your home just because you need the money quickly or settle for a less-than-ideal home just because it's available. You can take some time to find the best deal for both transactions and negotiate with confidence.

Savings You can save money in the long run. Depending on your situation, you might be able to avoid paying for two mortgages at the same time or paying rent while you wait for your new home. You might also be able to avoid paying for mortgage insurance or higher interest rates if you have a larger down payment thanks to your bridge loan.

Of course, bridge financing is not for everyone. It has some drawbacks and challenges that you should be aware of before you apply for it. For example, bridge financing can be more expensive than other types of loans, as it usually comes with higher interest rates and fees. It can also be harder to qualify for, as lenders will look at your income, credit history, and equity in both homes. And it can add more stress and uncertainty to your move, as you will have two loans to repay and two properties to manage.

So, before you decide if bridge financing is or isn't right for you, let's have a conversation. Working with a trusted mortgage professional means you have access to many options. I will assess your financial situation and find the best lender and loan for your needs. If it's determined that bridge financing is a smart move for you, I'll guide you through the process, answer any questions you have, and help you avoid any potential pitfalls along the way.

If you are interested in learning more about bridge financing, or if you have any other questions pertaining to your mortgage, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Whether you're making a move in the near future, renewing your mortgage, if you're feeling stifled by your debt load, or if you have a large expense coming up and want to explore some financing solutions, let's talk about ways to help you achieve your goals.

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