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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.


4 Homebuyer Tips To Make House Hunting More Efficient
 November 23 2016     Posted by John C Filice

Going house hunting can be fun and exciting at first, but the more houses you look at, the more frustrating you might become -- especially if you just can't seem to find the perfect home. No one said that finding a new home was going to be easy, but you can cut down on some of your frustration by preparing yourself better for your quest to find the perfect home. Here are four tips that should help make the house-hunting process more efficient:



1. Do your research online 

Instead of driving around and looking for open house signs in neighborhoods that you like, do some research online. Not only will it be easy to find a schedule of open houses online, but you can learn more about the property by checking out the listing. There also are numerous apps, such as Open Home Pro, that display upcoming open houses. An online search can save you the trouble of going to an open house for a home that is in no way what you're looking for.


2. Create a plan 

Work with your real estate agent to develop a plan of action. This should include a schedule of open houses that you should attend. Your real estate agent can help you narrow down the list to open houses that are worth going to, as well as recommend those they have been alerted of through their vast real estate network.


3. Take plenty of notes 

Once you've gone to more than a couple of open houses, you're going to begin forgetting some of the smaller details you may have noticed while you were on the tour. In fact, you may begin confusing houses and forgetting which property had what feature. Jot down notes during the open house or directly following it. Your notes should include first impressions, likes and dislikes, and questions you may have. These notes will allow you to compare the different homes you've looked at; you will be able to judge a home based on its pros and cons, and help to inform your agent about your findings. The agent can then help you to prioritize new listings and find properties that fit your needs at an even more nuanced level.


4. Use open houses as a way to screen homes 

Instead of arranging private showings for every home you think you might be interested in, go to the open house first to see if a private showing will be worth your time.


House hunting can take up a lot of your time, which is one of the most frustrating things about homebuying. Doing your research beforehand, creating a plan, taking notes, and using open houses as a way to screen homes will make your house-hunting process much more efficient.


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