Skip to main content
Ratehub logo
Ratehub logo

First Time Home Buyer Loans

Jamie David

When buying their first home, most people will need a loan from a bank. A first time home buyer loan, called a mortgage, is gradually paid off over a number of years. Here are some things you need to know about getting a loan to buy your first home:

Types of mortgage: variable or fixed rates

When you apply for a mortgage, you have the choice of getting either a fixed or variable interest rate. The most popular kind of mortgage is a 5-year fixed rate mortgage, which means your rate is set for the first five years of your loan.

As the name implies, fixed-rate mortgages are constant for the duration of the term. There are also variable-rate mortgages, which fluctuate with the bank’s prime rate. The advantage of a fixed-rate mortgage is that your mortgage payments won’t change even if the prime rate increases. Because of this, the interest rate on fixed-rate mortgages tend to be higher than variable-rate mortgages. With a variable-rate mortgage, your interest rate will decline if the bank’s prime rate falls. However, if the prime rate increases, so will the interest rate on your mortgage.

 

Check out your best current mortgage rates

Take 2 minutes to answer a few questions and discover the lowest rates available

 

Down payment rules

A down payment refers to the money a purchaser must pay up front when buying a home. Typically, the down payment is a much smaller amount compared to the size of the mortgage. Together, the down payment plus the mortgage represent the total value of the home being acquired. Down payments are usually expressed as a percentage of the property value. For example, a 15% down payment on a home selling for $500,000 would be $75,000. The mortgage, comprising the balance, would be 85% or $425,000.

In Canada there are minimum down payments for all property purchases. The percentage you must put down depends on the purchase price of the home:

  • For homes less than $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5%
  • For homes selling for between $500,000 and $1 million, the minimum down payment is 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price and then 10% of the purchase price between $500,000 and $1 million
  • For homes with a purchase price of greater than $1 million, the minimum down payment is 20%

The size of your down payment affects the size of your mortgage and whether or not you need mortgage default insurance, sometimes known as CMHC insurance.

Mortgage default insurance (CMHC insurance)

In Canada, any purchaser who has a down payment of less than 20% is required to purchase mortgage default insurance, which is also known as CMHC insurance. This protects your lender in the event that you end up defaulting on your mortgage.

The amount you pay goes down as your down payment increases. For down payments of 5% to 9.99%, homebuyers pay a premium rate of 4.0%. If you have a down payment of 10% to 14.99%, the CMHC insurance is 3.10% of the mortgage amount. And for down payments of 15% to 19.99%, the CMHC insurance is 2.80%.

Mortgage default insurance isn’t needed if your down payment is 20% or greater, and it’s not available on homes that cost more than $1 million.

 

First time home buyer grants and incentives

Buying a home is a big financial commitment and getting a first time home buyer loan can be difficult, especially in expensive cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Fortunately, there are a series of incentives and grants available for first time home buyers available from federal, provincial and municipal governments. The links below have more information on the most important first time home buyer programs in Canada.

 

The knowledge bank

A wealth of knowledge delivered right to your inbox

By submitting your email address, you acknowledge and agree to Ratehub.ca‘s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Contact us for more information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Lender Mortgage Rates