The 2019 federal budget includes help for first time home buyers, but critics say the measures don’t go far enough.
The 2019 federal budget includes measures designed to help first time home buyers, but critics say the measures don’t go far enough.
The federal government is setting aside $1.25 billion over the next three years for the First Time Home Buyer Incentive, in which the government will contribute up to 10 per cent of a home’s value in exchange for an equal stake in the home, an amount that would not have to be repaid until the home is sold.
“I’d like to see the federal government aim to break even,” said UBC Sauder School of Business associate professor Tom Davidoff. “I don’t think this needs to be a gift, I think people are going to be very happy to take that equity share. And I think you can structure this in a way so that taxpayers break even or better.”
The budget also increases the amount first-time buyers can withdraw from their RRSPs to contribute to a down payment, without penalty, to $35,000, up from the previous $25,000.
But some say the budget does not go far enough.
“Absolutely, we need to help first-time buyers get into the market, but it’s way too restrictive,” said The Condo Group’s Tony Zarsadias. “There’s many people who have got into their first condo and they’re trying to move up in the market, trying to get a home or townhouse, and they’ve been hurt by the stress test and various other policies that the government has implemented. And those people need help as well.”
For first time buyers like Neil Blainey, who also works for The Condo Group, buying in Victoria’s competitive market is still as hard as ever.
“I see lots of product out there, but costs are so high and it’s tough for folks like myself to get approved for a mortgage,” he said.
To qualify for the First Time Home Buyer Incentive, buyers must have a combined household income of less than $120,000 and be able to pay a five per cent down payment.