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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.


Unlocking the Door to Home Ownership: Simple Tips to Boost Your Credit Score
 March 20 2024     Posted by John C Filice

Hello, homebuyers and financial enthusiasts! Today, we're diving into a topic that's as crucial as it is misunderstood: your credit score. Think of your credit score like a key. The higher it is, the more doors it can unlock - especially when it comes to getting a mortgage for your home. But don't worry; improving your credit score doesn't have to be a daunting task. With a few straightforward strategies, you can polish that key, making it shine brighter than ever before!

First things first, let's talk about paying bills on time. It might seem obvious, but even a late payment can damage your credit score. Try setting up automatic payments or using simple calendar reminders can work wonders. It's like setting an alarm for your financial health - ensuring you wake up to a brighter credit future every day.

Now, onto the world of credit cards. It's tempting to think that closing old credit accounts might help your score, but hold that thought! Long-standing accounts with a good history can actually be your allies. It's all about balance - keeping your credit utilization low (ideally under 30% of your limit) shows lenders you're a master of moderation. And if you're juggling balances across multiple cards, consider consolidating. One payment, one interest rate, and a clearer path forward.

Speaking of clarity, have you checked your credit report lately? Errors are more common than you'd think and can be the silent culprits behind a less-than-stellar score. Annual check-ups are not just for your health; they're for your credit's well-being, too. Spot an error? Don't hesitate to dispute it. It's like telling a fib at a dinner party - once it's cleared up, everything's more comfortable.

For those newer to the credit game or looking to rebuild, secured credit cards can be a game-changer. Think of them as training wheels for your credit score. A small deposit acts as your limit, helping you build credit in a controlled environment. It's a safe space for your financial reputation to grow.

Lastly, let's not forget the power of patience and persistence. Improving your credit score is a bit like gardening; it takes time, care, and a bit of daily attention. But the rewards? They're worth every effort. A higher credit score can usually mean better mortgage rates, leading to savings that add up to a significant chunk of change over time - money you could put towards turning your new house into a home.

Remember, every small step you take toward improving your credit score is a leap toward securing the keys to your dream home. So, keep these tips in mind, stay the course, and before you know it, you'll be opening the door to not just a house but a future filled with possibilities.

Happy house hunting, and here's to your financial health!

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