New Program Helps Nova Scotians Purchase Their First Home

Nova Scotians working to save for a down payment for their first home could soon get an interest-free loan from Housing Nova Scotia to make their dream come true.

The provincial and federal governments are investing $1.3 million to fund a new one-year Down Payment Assistance Program.

Joanne Bernard, Minister responsible for Housing Nova Scotia, along with MP Andy Fillmore, on behalf of Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, made the announcement today, April 26, in Halifax.

“Saving up for a down payment remains one of the main hurdles for people who want to purchase their first home,” said Ms. Bernard. “While we continue to help our most vulnerable citizens with housing supports, we can’t forget that many modest-income families want to buy homes so they can lay down roots here in Nova Scotia. When we help families, we help strengthen our province.”

“The Government of Canada is pleased to partner with the provincial government to provide a program that will benefit modest-income families and individuals in Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Fillmore. “This will have a positive impact on new home owners, and contribute to building a strong foundation for a sustainable economic future.”

The Down Payment Assistance Program is designed to help modest-income Nova Scotians who are pre-approved for an insured mortgage from an accredited lender, but struggle to save for the required down payment because of their income. First-time homebuyers will be eligible for an interest-free loan of up to five per cent of the purchase price of a new or existing home, to a maximum price of $280,000 in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)and $150,000 in the rest of the province.

To be eligible, applicants must have a total household income of $75,000 or less. The loans will range up to $14,000 in HRM and $7,500 in other parts of the province. The amounts will vary based on the applicants’ income and the house purchase price. Eligible homebuyers will have ten years to repay the loan. Payments can be waived for the first year to allow new homeowners to adjust to any unforeseen costs.

“Continuing to increase first-time homebuyers’ entry into the market is a vital piece of the homebuyer’s market cycle,” said Sherry Donovan, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Nova Scotia. “Without first-time homebuyers, many would-be sellers will remain in their current homes because they are unable to sell. This program will be a benefit to the overall residential construction industry and Nova Scotia’s economy.”

“This is welcome news for first-time homebuyers,” said Anne DaSilva, president of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS. “This program will stimulate real estate activities, which have a positive impact on the Nova Scotia economy.”

The new initiative is cost-shared between the provincial and federal governments through the Social Infrastructure Fund agreement. It’s expected that the pilot program will help between 100 and 125 households.

Applications will be available at Housing Nova Scotia’s regional offices or online at starting May 1.