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Mortgages for First Time Home Buyers

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First-Time Home Buyers in Canada: Your Essential Guide


Welcome to Key Mortgage Partners, your friendly neighbourhood mortgage brokerage in Elmvale, Ontario. We understand that the journey to homeownership can be both exciting and daunting, especially for first-time buyers. This Q&A page is designed to provide essential information and guidance, addressing common concerns and navigating you through the home-buying process. Our goal is to provide personalized support to help you find your dream home in Canada.


What is a first-time home buyer in Canada?

A first-time home buyer is an individual who has not previously owned a home or held a mortgage. Additionally, under Canadian mortgage rules, someone who has not owned a home in the past four years or has experienced a relationship breakdown may also qualify as a first-time home buyer. This definition is key, as many programs and incentives are tailored to those entering the housing market for the first time. Our team at Key Mortgage Partners is here to help you understand your eligibility and make the most of these opportunities.


What is the minimum down payment requirement for first-time home buyers?

For homes priced up to $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5%. For homes priced between $500,001 and $999,999, the down payment is 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for the remaining amount. Homes priced at $1,000,000 or more generally require a down payment of at least 20%. These amounts can vary based on individual financial situations and lender requirements. Remember that the down payment is just one part of the equation; our team can help you understand the full scope of costs associated with purchasing a home.


What types of homes are available to first-time home buyers?

The Canadian housing market offers a variety of options, including:

  • Single-family homes: These traditional houses offer space and privacy, making them ideal for families. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, from cozy bungalows to spacious two-story homes, providing ample options for first-time buyers.
  • Semi-detached homes: These properties share a wall with another home, providing a more affordable option with less maintenance. They offer a balance between the privacy of a single-family home and the cost savings of a multi-unit dwelling.
  • Townhouses: Multi-level homes that are typically part of a larger complex, offering community amenities and lower costs. These homes often include shared facilities like gyms, pools, or parks, which can provide additional value for first-time buyers.
  • Condominiums: Units within larger buildings, providing shared amenities and maintenance services. Condos are particularly popular in urban areas, offering convenience and proximity to city amenities. They often come with monthly fees, covering maintenance, security, and other services.
  • Manufactured homes: Prefabricated homes that offer affordability and flexibility. These homes can be placed on owned or leased land, providing cost-effective housing options for those looking to enter the market.

At Key Mortgage Partners, we understand that choosing the right type of home is a crucial decision, and we’re here to guide you through the process, considering your lifestyle, budget, and future goals.


Are there other government programs for first-time buyers?

Yes, including:

  • RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan: This program allows first-time buyers to withdraw up to $35,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) without tax penalties to finance their home purchase. This can be a great way to leverage existing savings and reduce financial strain.
  • GST/HST New Housing Rebate: Provides a rebate for some of the GST/HST paid on new or substantially renovated homes, helping to offset costs. This can significantly lower the overall cost of homeownership for first-time buyers.


Homeownership Statistics for Canadians:

Navigating the housing market can be daunting, so it’s essential to understand the current state of homeownership in Canada. Here are some key statistics:

  • Homeownership Rate: Between the 2016 and 2021 Canadian censuses, the portion of Canadians living in owner-occupied homes fell from 69% to 66.5%. This recent figure marks the lowest homeownership rate since 2002.
  • Generational Distribution: Baby Boomers remain the largest homeowner age group, accounting for over 40% of all homeowners in Canada. This reflects the stability and wealth accumulated by this generation over time.
  • New Homes: In 2021, just under 60% of new homes were owner-occupied, showing a gradual decline in homeownership for newly constructed properties.
  • Mortgages: In 2023, approximately 35.5% of Canadian homeowners had a mortgage. This indicates that despite the rise in housing prices, many Canadians still rely on mortgage financing to afford homeownership.
  • Home Value Growth: The value of owner-occupied homes increased by almost 40% between 2016 and 2021, reflecting the strong demand for housing and a competitive real estate market.
  • House Prices: In May 2023, house prices were down by 4% from the previous year. This slight decrease could reflect market corrections or changing economic conditions.
  • Homeownership Demographics: Certain demographics are more likely to own homes in Canada, including couples, high-income earners, established immigrants, and university graduates. These groups often have higher incomes, stronger credit profiles, and greater financial stability, contributing to higher homeownership rates.

To read more about the Homeownership Statistics, click here.


How do I choose the right mortgage for my needs?

Several factors contribute to choosing the right mortgage, including:

  • Fixed vs. Variable Rates: Fixed rates offer stability, locking in your interest rate for the term, while variable rates can offer potential savings if market conditions are favorable. Our brokers can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option, considering your financial situation and risk tolerance.
  • Amortization Period: Shorter periods save on interest costs overall but require higher monthly payments; longer periods reduce monthly payments but increase the total interest paid over time. We can help you find a balance that works for your budget and long-term financial goals.
  • Additional Costs: Consider insurance, taxes, and fees associated with the mortgage, which can affect your monthly budget. We recommend factoring in these costs when planning your mortgage and overall budget to avoid surprises down the road.

At Key Mortgage Partners, we work with you to understand your unique financial situation and goals, ensuring you find a mortgage that suits your needs.


How do I prepare for the mortgage process?

Proper preparation is key to a smooth mortgage process:

  • Improving Credit: Check and improve your credit score by managing debts, making timely payments, and limiting new credit applications. A higher credit score can lead to more favorable mortgage terms.
  • Saving for a Down Payment: Ensure sufficient funds for the down payment and closing costs, and consider alternative sources such as gifts or grants. Our team can help you explore these options and plan for the full cost of purchasing a home.
  • Getting Pre-Approved: Mortgage pre-approval is a crucial step in the mortgage process. This involves a lender reviewing your financial situation, including income, credit score, and existing debts, to determine how much mortgage you qualify for. Pre-approval provides several benefits:
    • Guiding Your Home Search: Knowing how much mortgage you qualify for helps set a realistic budget, guiding your home search to properties within your price range.
    • Demonstrating Seriousness: Pre-approval shows sellers and real estate agents that you’re a serious buyer, which can be advantageous in competitive markets. This can also lead to more favorable negotiations.
    • Streamlining the Closing Process: Pre-approval speeds up the mortgage process, as much of the financial review work is completed in advance, making it easier to move forward once you’ve found the right home.
  • Consulting with Our Brokers: Our brokers are here to guide you through each step, ensuring you’re fully prepared for the mortgage process and confident in your home search. We’ll help you understand your financial situation, explore all available options, and ensure a smooth and successful home-buying journey.

Our brokers are here to guide you through each step, ensuring you’re fully prepared for the mortgage process and confident in your home search.


Using Mortgage Calculators: A Key Tool for First-Time Homebuyers

Navigating the mortgage process can feel overwhelming for first-time homebuyers, but mortgage calculators offer an invaluable tool to simplify the journey. These calculators help provide clarity on key financial aspects, ensuring that you make informed decisions at every stage of the home-buying process.

A mortgage calculator can assist you in understanding your budget by allowing you to input your income, expenses, and expected down payment to estimate your purchasing power. This provides a clear idea of how much home you can afford, helping to set realistic expectations and guiding your home search. Additionally, these calculators can show you how various mortgage terms and interest rates impact your monthly payments, allowing you to balance affordability with long-term financial goals. By exploring different terms, including fixed versus variable rates, you can choose the option that best suits your situation.

Beyond monthly payments, mortgage calculators give insight into the total cost of your mortgage over its term, including interest payments. This comprehensive view helps you understand the long-term financial commitment of different mortgage options. Moreover, mortgage calculators allow you to explore various scenarios by adjusting variables such as down payments, interest rates, and amortization periods. This flexibility lets you compare options, understand potential changes, and choose the most suitable mortgage for your needs.

Another significant benefit of mortgage calculators is their accessibility online, allowing you to use them whenever and wherever needed. This makes them a convenient and quick way to explore mortgage options, track your progress, and stay on top of financial planning.

For additional support, Key Mortgage Partners offers personalized consultations to help you make sense of the calculator’s results and understand the financial implications of your mortgage. Our goal is to guide you toward a sustainable and secure financial future.

See Key Mortgage Partner’s calculators here.


The mortgage process can be complex, but it’s manageable with proper guidance. Explore your options, consult with mortgage brokers, and take advantage of available programs to make the journey to homeownership smoother. Our team at Key Mortgage Partners is here to help you navigate every step, from understanding your eligibility to finding the right mortgage and preparing for the home-buying process. Work with a mortgage broker today to buy the home of your dreams.

For more information and personalized guidance, contact Key Mortgage Partners in Elmvale, Ontario, at 905-874-1680. We’re here to assist with further questions and guide you through the home-buying process.

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