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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.


How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mortgage
 December 24 2018     Posted by John C Filice

For most first time home buyers, obtaining a mortgage is a crucial part of the purchasing process. However, being approved for a mortgage is often easier said than done. It can be disheartening to find that, after spending hours of your life submitting documents and completing paperwork, your bank has denied your mortgage application. For those who want to avoid this scenario, there are some things that you can do to swing the approval odds in your favor, such as: 

Polish your credit history 

Banks, financial institutions, and credit unions all have near-instantaneous access to your credit report, and will use it as a main factor when deciding whether or not to approve your mortgage application. However, many home loan applicants do not bother to check their report before applying. You should use this to your advantage and scout out your credit report before making an application. If you come across anything unusual or inaccurate on your report you should notify the agency and have them remove it. By making sure your credit report looks as good as possible you are giving yourself the best chance of approval.

Save for a down payment 

One of the best ways to boost your chances of mortgage approval is by saving a significant amount of money for a down payment. Lenders love to see applicants with a significant amount of cash on hand as it greatly reduces the risk on their end. You will be able to obtain a mortgage with as little as 3.5 percent down. However, if you want to avoid PMI and really impress your lender, you should try to shoot for a 20 percent down payment.

Job stability helps

Having the ability to hold down a job is a huge positive for your loan application. Sticking with your employer over the long-tern means that your employment status is constant, which assures the bank you have the financial capability and stability to pay back a mortgage over time. Swapping jobs midway through the process is a surefire way to get your application rejected. Put simply, banks want to lend to people who they think can pay them back. Being steadily employed is a great indicator that you will be able to do just that.

The mortgage application process is long and often tedious. However, by utilizing the tips contained in this article you will be able to maximize your chances of success.

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