First Time Home Buyers Guide to BC Homeownership

Let’s grab a pair of shoes from the front door. This time let’s grab the pair that belong to the real estate virgin. Take a minute and slide into those shoes and let’s take a walk through the lens of first time home buyers.

You’ve been wading through life up until now jumping from your parents’ house to your very first rental property. Now, it’s been years since you had your very first roommate. You are growing tired of jumping from one rental to the next, with no guarantee of your living situation. You’ve had at least four roommates move out of your current rental, leaving you to find a new roommate before the annual rental increase. As if that wasn’t enough, your landlord told you that his son was going to be moving into the home. It is your cities’ busiest time of the year and a time with the lowest level of vacant homes. Instead of renting a nice home, you settled for an overpriced basement suite with loud upstairs tenants.

A couple of your friends are starting to move up from their first apartment into more sizable family homes. They mentioned that they never could have done it without the help from selling their first property. Your parents are always talking about the financial freedom they are starting to feel thanks to finally having their mortgage paid off after 25 years of living in the same place You are constantly reading the news and feeling defeated over the rising home prices and steadily increasing interest rates. You decide to have a shift in your mindset.

If your friends can do it, so can you. You start researching and stumble across this blog. You are a:

  • First-time home buyer
  • Buyer looking to use the property as a principal residence
  • Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • BC Resident

BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program

Withdrawn Program

BC First-Time Home Buyers’ (FTHB) program

The First-Time Home Buyers’ program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax a first-time home buyer pays. If one or more of the purchasers is not a first-time home buyer; than only that percentage the FTHB has in the property will be eligible for an exemption.

To qualify for a full exemption, at the time the property is registered, you must:

  • Be a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident
  • Have either:
    • Lived in B.C. for at least a year immediately before the date you register the property
    • Filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 taxation years immediately before the registration date
  • Have never owned a registered interest in a property that was your principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
  • Have never received a first-time home buyers’ exemption or refund

and the property must:

  • Only be used as your principal residence
  • Have a fair market value of $500,000 or less
  • Be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller

You may qualify for a partial exemption from the tax if the property:

  • Has a fair market value less than $525,000
  • Is larger than 0.5 hectares
  • Has another building on the property other than the principal residence

Foreign entities and taxable trustees are not eligible for the exemption. Individuals who don’t qualify because they’re not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, may apply for a refund of the property transfer tax. if they become a citizen or resident on or before the first anniversary of registration. 

To find out more information about the program, visit: First time home buyers’ program – Province of British Columbia (

Federal First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada, which offers:

  • 5% or 10% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a newly constructed home
  • 5% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a resale (existing) home
  • 5% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a new or resale mobile/manufactured home

The shared equity means that the government shares in both the positive and negative increases in the property value, with a maximum gain or loss equal to 8% per annum (not compounded) on the Incentive amount from the date of advance to the time of repayment. 

The homebuyer will have to repay the Incentive based on the market value of the home at the time of repayment equal to the percentage (for example, 5% or 10%) of the original home value used to determine the Incentive, up to a maximum repayment amount equal to:

(i) where the home’s value has appreciated, the Incentive plus a maximum gain of 8% per annum (not compounded) on the Incentive amount from the date of advance to the time of repayment; or

(ii) where the home’s value has depreciated, the Incentive minus a maximum loss of 8% per annum (not compounded) on the Incentive amount from the date of advance to the time of repayment.

The homebuyer must repay the Incentive after 25 years, or when the property is sold, whichever comes first. The homebuyer can also repay the Incentive in full any time before without penalty.

For more information about the incentive, visit: First-Time Home Buyer Incentive | CMHC (

First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

First-time home buyers who acquire a qualifying home can claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1500. The HBTC is calculated by multiplying $10,000 by the lowest personal income tax rate (15% in 2022).

For more information about the incentive, visit: First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC) –

Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)

The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or a specified disabled person.

For more information about the incentive, visit: The Home Buyers’ Plan –

Home Buyer Recission Period

The Home Buyer Recission Period will give homebuyers up to three business days to rescind an offer on a home after the offer has been accepted. This notice is to be provided in writing with a 0.25% of the purchase price fee.

For more information about the incentive, visit: Home Buyer Rescission Period | BCFSA

BC Home Owner Grant

The home owner grant reduces the amount of property taxes you pay each year on your principal residence. You must apply for the home owner grant each year. Only one grant can be claimed for a property each year. The regular grant amount is $570 for properties in the Capital Regional District, the Metro Vancouver Regional District and the Fraser Valley Regional District areas. For all other locations of the province the grant amount is $770. You may qualify for a higher amount of grant called the additional grant if you are a:

  • Senior
  • Veteran
  • Person with a Disability
  • Living with a Spouse or relative with a disability
  • Spouse or Relative of a Deceased Owner who would have Qualified for the Grant

For more information about the incentive, visit: Home owner grant – Province of British Columbia (


Speaking to a professional about first-time home buyer programs and incentives is essential. Please always verify the accuracy of this information through your own due diligence. Nicole McWilliams will assume no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information within.

I would love to be your Real Estate Agent of Choice!

EVERYONE needs a home to live in. As a result, I continue to be confident in the Canadian Real Estate Market. I recommend taking a peek at our current listings on the market.

Do not hesitate to contact me directly by email or phone to discuss all your real estate needs!

If you’re looking to purchase a home and are wanting a realtor to represent you, call or text 250.808.3125 or email You can also find out more about your real estate journey on my website