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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.


7 Smart Strategies to Help Save Money on Your Mortgage
 June 21 2024     Posted by John C Filice

Hello, and welcome to our blog! If you're reading this, chances are you're looking for ways to make your mortgage more manageable. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, finding ways to save on your mortgage can be a game-changer. As a mortgage professional, I've seen firsthand how minor adjustments can lead to significant savings. Here are seven strategies to help you keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

1. Shop Around for the Best Rates

One of the most effective ways to save extra money on your mortgage is to shop around for the best interest rates. Different lenders offer different rates, and even a slight difference can save you thousands over the life of your loan. Our team can help you compare rates from various lenders to ensure you get the best deal possible.

2. Make Extra Payments

Making extra payments, even small ones, can significantly reduce the principal of your mortgage. This means you'll pay less interest over time. Consider putting any windfalls, like tax refunds or bonuses, towards your mortgage. Our calculators can show you just how much you could save by making extra payments.

3. Refinance Your Mortgage

Refinancing can be a powerful tool to lower your mortgage rate and monthly payments. With interest rates currently favorable, refinancing your mortgage might save you money. We can help you assess if refinancing is right for you and guide you through the process seamlessly.

4. Choose a Shorter Term

While longer terms offer lower monthly payments, shorter terms like a 15 or 20-year mortgage usually come with lower interest rates. This can save you a bundle of cash over the life of the loan. We can help you explore whether a shorter term is feasible for your budget and long-term goals.

5. Take Advantage of Prepayment Privileges

Many Canadian mortgages offer prepayment privileges, allowing you to pay down your mortgage faster without penalty. These privileges can include increasing your regular payment or making lump-sum payments. We'll help you understand your mortgage's prepayment options so you can maximize your savings.

6. Keep an Eye on Renewal Time

Don't just accept the lender's offer when your mortgage term is up for renewal. Use this opportunity to renegotiate your terms. We can assist you in reviewing your renewal offer and negotiating better terms that suit your current financial situation.

7. Consider a Variable Rate Mortgage

While fixed-rate mortgages offer stability, variable-rate mortgages can sometimes offer lower rates and more flexibility. If you're comfortable with the potential for rate fluctuations, this could be a way to save. We can provide a detailed comparison to help you decide if a variable rate is correct.

How We Can Help

We are dedicated to helping you navigate the mortgage landscape and find the best ways to save money. Whether it's finding the right lender, refinancing, or simply making informed decisions, we're here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you achieve your mortgage savings goals.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or to schedule a consultation. Together, we can make your mortgage work harder for you!

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