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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.


Home Valuation and Appraisals: Unveiling the Mechanics, Influencing Factors, and Value-Boosting Tips
 August 9 2023     Posted by John C Filice

Home Valuation and Appraisals: Unveiling the Mechanics, Influencing Factors, and Value-Boosting Tips

The process of buying, selling, or refinancing a home involves a critical component that can greatly impact the financial aspects of these transactions: home valuation and appraisals. Understanding how these mechanisms work, the factors that contribute to property value, and strategies for enhancing your home's value can make a substantial difference in your real estate journey. In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of home valuations and appraisals, demystifying the process and providing insights into optimizing property value.

Home Valuation and Appraisals: Unveiling the Mechanics, Influencing Factors, and Value-Boosting Tips

The Basics of Home Valuation and Appraisals:

Home valuation refers to determining the fair market value of a property. It is an essential step in various real estate transactions, such as buying, selling, refinancing, or securing a loan against the property. Appraisals, on the other hand, are the formal assessments conducted by licensed appraisers to determine the property's market value. They are usually required by lenders to ensure that the property's value justifies the loan amount.

Factors Influencing Property Value:

Several factors come into play when assessing a property's value. These factors can vary in significance depending on the local market and individual preferences. Some of the primary influencers include:

  1. Location: The adage "location, location, location" holds true. Proximity to amenities, schools, transportation, and desirable neighborhoods can significantly impact a property's value.
  2. Property Size and Condition: The size of the property, including the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, directly affects its value. Additionally, the property's overall condition and any recent renovations or repairs play a crucial role.
  3. Comparable Sales (Comps): Real estate professionals often use comparable sales (recently sold properties with similar attributes) to gauge a property's value. These comps provide a benchmark for establishing a fair market value.
  4. Market Trends: The current state of the real estate market, whether it's a buyer's market or a seller's market, can sway property values.
  5. Property Age and Design: Newer properties or homes with modern designs and features might command higher prices compared to older structures.
  6. Neighborhood and Community: Factors such as crime rates, school quality, access to parks, and overall community vibe contribute to a property's desirability and value.
  7. Economic Factors: Economic indicators like employment rates, job growth, and interest rates can indirectly influence property values.

Tips for Increasing Home Value:

Enhancing your home's value is possible with strategic improvements and care. Here are some valuable tips:

  • Curb Appeal: First impressions matter. Invest in landscaping, a fresh coat of paint, and a well-maintained exterior to boost curb appeal.
  • Kitchen and Bath Upgrades: Kitchens and bathrooms are focal points for buyers. Consider modernizing fixtures, countertops, and appliances to elevate your home's value.
  • Energy Efficiency: Energy-efficient upgrades, such as installing solar panels, energy-efficient windows, and better insulation, can attract eco-conscious buyers and lower operating costs.
  • Fresh Paint and Flooring: A fresh coat of paint and updated flooring can transform a space, making it look newer and more appealing.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Address any outstanding maintenance issues and repairs. A well-maintained home reflects pride of ownership and appeals to buyers.
  • Open Floor Plans: If feasible, create open, functional living spaces. Open floor plans are popular and can make a home feel more spacious.
  • Smart Home Features: Integrating smart technology like thermostats, security systems, and lighting can add a modern touch and increase perceived value.
  • Storage Solutions: Ample storage is a significant selling point. Consider adding built-in storage solutions to maximize space.

Home valuations and appraisals are integral to the real estate landscape. Understanding the intricacies of these processes and the factors influencing property value empowers homeowners and buyers alike. By implementing strategic improvements and considering the local market trends, you can not only increase your property's value but also create a more appealing and desirable living space. Remember, a well-maintained and thoughtfully upgraded home not only benefits your financial bottom line but also contributes to the overall enjoyment of your living environment.

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